The prospect of landing a job can seem dire now, however this is an excellent opportunity for many unemployed or displaced people to upskill and adapt. Because if you do, you can come out of COVID19 isolation in front of the pack.
With handshakes non-existent and face-to-face job interviews limited, now is the time to strengthen your “virtual presence”, which could serve you well beyond the current pandemic. Jobseekers who adapt to the virtual world of recruitment have an advantage. It gives you a unique set of skills, possibly for what the world of work is going to look like in the future and where more people will work remotely. With many of us not doing much during social isolation, it may be the perfect time to upskill yourself. And with many people looking for a job, you can bet other candidates will be doing the same.
A virtual interview is important
If you get to the interview stage of the job application, it will most likely be through a video call like Zoom or Skype. My tip is to take this as seriously as a face-to-face interview. Ensure you look professional and presentable, consider the lighting, what is in the background, and reduce any distracting background noise.
It is important to do a practice run with a friend or family member to ensure your microphone is working and you can clearly hear the other person. Prior to your Zoom meeting, research the company you are interviewing for and write down some questions to ask the panel. Another tip is to practise the types of questions you might get asked – these will be like any normal job interview:
- “Why did you apply for the job?”
- “What are your top strengths?”
- “How will you contribute to a positive team environment?”
- “When have you solved a complex customer problem that required your negotiation skills?”
- “Tell us what customer service means to you?”
Pay attention to your virtual handshake
When sitting for the interview, you obviously will not be able to impress the interviewer with your firm handshake, so you will have to stand out in other ways. Given so much of how we communicate is non-verbal, pay attention to how engaged you come across. This includes eye contact on your web Camera (again practicing beforehand is a perfect way to test this!), smile, listen and sit upright in your chair. Remember to have the web camera positioned perfectly so that you see the tops of your shoulders and face clearly. Nothing too close so people can see up your nostrils!
The resumé becomes super important
Do not underestimate the importance of your resumé either, because it will be the first impression the recruiter will have of you and remember that they often spend less than two minutes reading it. Think about how you will stand out from the crowd — this might be through your key achievements, such as special projects or collaborations you have worked on. Make sure your resumé has a strong professional profile summary. During this unusual crisis, the job market is competitive, and you have so many people applying for the same position. Therefore, you need to give people that point of difference.
Contacts are everything, so connect online
Industry meetups are a great way to make contacts in your chosen field however given current social distancing restrictions these events are not possible. Instead, use online professional networks like LinkedIn to connect and reach out to people in your field of experience. Your LinkedIn profile is an electronic business card and these networks become even more important while in isolation. Do not be shy in requesting LinkedIn connections because now more than ever, it is important for job seekers to build a professional online presence and contact relevant people. LinkedIn is also a great way to show potential employers your breadth of skills and experience. A key tip to remember – keep the most important information at the top of your profile.
Finally, if you need coaching assistance, interview coaching is available online. All the best with your next virtual interview!