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Best Advice for Improving Your Online Job Interview Skills

​The job change market remains favorable to job seekers compared to a period of 7 years around the Lehman shock, as shown by the report that the ratio of job offers to job seekers in June was still 1.11. As the pandemic has made online job interviews an essential hiring tool, it takes up 15-minute less time than a typical 45-60 minute in-person one. If it sounds like good news to you, you may be overly optimistic.

​Virtual interviews present new challenges that you should be prepared for. Here's the best advice to get closer to landing your ideal job. 

Establish a connection

You may feel at ease and less stressed interviewing from home, yet find it hard to picture yourself working at the company, and so do those doing the hiring. 

The technological barriers that arise online between applicants and interviewers make it hard for both parties to establish a connection, often because less small talk results in finishing the interview quicker. While you are busy trying to present yourself, the employer faces the challenge of looking for proof that you are well qualified for the role in a short period of time. 

Lag times may also prevent a comfortable chat. In virtual settings, it is hard to see when a talker ends a speech and seeks a response, and so a counterpart may create an awkward pause to start a new conversation. 

A hiring manager who works with us recently said, “More and more applicants give copybook answers to our questions at online interviews like they are reading a script in front of them.” The shortened interview unravels their eagerness to impress the interviewer by telling all of what they think they have to say.  ​

Create the right “vibe”

Virtual interviews require different skills from what you would need in person. Just answering a question in a precise manner will not differentiate you from your competitors. You need to improve the interpersonal aspects of the interview, so the first thing you need to remember to ace your interview is to make your answer conversational like this:

“I am applying to learn XXX from this role. Do you think I would have an opportunity to be involved in XXX?”

“I believe that I’m a goal-oriented person, but was wondering what metrics you use to evaluate performance in this role?” 

You are not just being evaluated on your skills and qualifications, but also by your personality, enthusiasm, or confidence. Asking questions clearly shows your enthusiasm and interest, and provides more chances to create a good connection with your potential employer. 

At the end of the interview, you may be asked “Do you have any questions for us?” by the interviewer, but you don’t have to save them until the very last minute. Asking questions throughout the interview will help to create a strong rapport with the interviewer and leave a lasting impression. ​

Focus on verbal and non-verbal communication

We have to grapple to function within the “new normal” in the age of COVID-19, as remote job interviews become the norm. Modifying the interview tool presents challenges for both applicants and businesses, but classic interviewing techniques still apply. You can brush up on the traditional skills a bit and learn how to adapt them to the new process. If asked “Can you start working here tomorrow?”, what would you like to ask first and foremost? You can simply ask yourself and then convert it to a real conversation with the interviewer. 

Employers regard communication as the most important skill in their hiring criteria. You have to establish a strong connection with your potential employer during the job interview, and show them you are capable of solving issues and operating within a team.

In the absence of in-person interaction, non-verbal communication becomes more important as well. Throughout the interview, keep your mood positive and convey friendliness with your body language. Especially when listening, try to communicate that you are fully engaged with frequent and appropriate nods and smiles. Energy and enthusiasm are the things employers are looking for in any recruit, and that helps you progress to the next step. 

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