Step-By-Step Virtual Interview Guide

Although in person and virtual interviews seem worlds apart, they’re not all that different when you get down to the basics. Sure, there isn’t a chance to show off your firm handshake but there are ways to prove you’re a great candidate.

Prior to the interview, research the company, the position and the industry. You’ll want to be able to speak to more than just your resume to show that you have a genuine interest in the job. You should also look up common interview questions and ensure you have a well thought out answer to each of them.

As with any interview, you want to show up early and dress the part. Virtually, this means to ensure that you have properly tested your equipment and that you’re in the virtual waiting room at least five minutes prior to the interview time wearing a polished outfit with a background that isn’t distracting.

During the interview, the most important aspect is to be yourself and be inquisitive. Remember, a job interview is also your interview of the company! You don’t want to accept a job that isn’t a good fit for you as well.

At the end of the interview, it is important to thank your interviewer for their time. About two or three days later you should send a thank you email or virtual thank you card with a short reminder about a great conversation you both had during the interview.

For more tips, check out a previous post on acing your next virtual interview!

Soft Skills For Today’s Job Market

Let’s face it, interviewing is a challenge. Many of us feel that we do not match up to the desired job although we have the skillset for it. One way to boost your confidence in becoming the top pick for a company is to expand on your soft skills in addition to your hard skills.

Hard skills are the requirements on job postings. For example, to become a medical physician, a candidate would most likely need to be skilled in diagnostic testing and understand medical terminology. On the other hand, soft skills are the different skills tied to your personality that define how you navigate the professional world and interact with others and your work. These skills aren’t required or typically listed on job postings but they determine how well you fit in with a company and its culture.

Here are some of the soft skills you could utilize:

  1. Critical Thinking

The ability to analyze a situation or issue and take appropriate action is an undervalued skilled. Companies want an employee who can problem solve on their own before asking for help. This also shows that an employee would not need constant supervision and can be trusted to complete work in a way that makes sense.

  1. Communication

While you do not need to be a professional speaker, most organizations do want an employee that can explain their thoughts and reasoning as well as understand others. Without communication skills, it can be challenging for coworkers and managers to all understand each other and the work they are doing.

  1. Teamwork

Working together well is a necessity. Businesses typically strive for people who can integrate into a team easily and become a valuable and fair member. Without having teamwork capabilities, it can be impossible for everyone to get their work completed.

Although hard skills are necessary, adding in these soft skills may help you get ahead in today’s job market. What are some other soft skills you think are important? Comment below.

Managing Pre-Interview Stress: Grounding Techniques

It is perfectly normal to feel stressed before an interview. You may really want the job or you might just be naturally shy. You know that your interviewer will be in control of the conversation and you don’t know what questions they will ask. This stress can lead to anxiety and may make you feel nervous. Here are some grounding techniques to help you reduce and manage your stress and anxiety:

  1. Senses

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. In through your nose on a three count, out through your mouth on a three count.

Now open your eyes. Take your time and say out loud:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can feel (Examples: the fabric of the chair, the hair on your forearms, the smoothness of your teeth)
  • 3 things you can hear (Examples: the ticking of a clock, the birds outside, the hum of the air conditioning).
  • 2 things you can smell 
  • 1 thing you can taste (It might be a good idea to have a piece of candy or a mint handy before you start this process. Otherwise, can you still taste the peanut butter and jelly sandwich you had for lunch).

Take a deep breath to end.

  1. Visualize

Imagine the interview going well. Imagine, shaking your interviewers hand and saying you’ll see them on Monday. Imagine coming to work, sitting at your desk and enjoying your new start. Take a look at your negative thoughts and see if they are realistic. Being aware of your unrealistic, negative thoughts can often make them disappear.

  1. Release Your Energy

Sometimes if you are stressed, you are not able to concentrate enough to do some of the grounding exercises listed above. Releasing this pent-up stress and energy can help you relax.

  • Go for a run outside or on a treadmill
  • Clean up the kitchen or vacuum
  • Turn up the music and dance, dance, dance

Once you’ve exerted some energy, sit down and try some of the exercises one more time.

  1. Feel

Hold an object (preferably an object with texture) and close your eyes. Focus on its characteristics.

  • Is it rough or smooth?
  • How heavy is it?
  • Can you close your fist around it or is it much larger?
  • What is the shape of the object?

Now open your eyes and examine that same object.

  • How many colors can you see?
  • How long or short?
  • Are there patterns or pictures of any kind?

Congratulations! You’re now mentally and emotionally prepared for your interview. Just remember, you’ve got this!

Interviewing For Your Dream Job

Interviews – the place where your palms are sweaty, your heart races and at some point, you leave with a thought about how you will spend the money you will earn when you get the job.  Being nervous during an interview is common for the interviewee and usually, for the interviewer too.  Smiling, confidence and a good presentation of your competencies are key.

Here are 5 tips to make sure you have a good shot (no promises):

  1. Be on time.  On time = 15 minutes early and not a minute more.  It is polite to be early, but not so early that your interviewer has to adjust their schedule to accommodate your presence.  If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, sit in the foyer or in your car.
  2. Dress appropriately.  Appropriate for a business meeting because that is what an interview is.  Sportswear and attire that you would wear to a party should be left in your closet.
  3. Know your resume.  Good practice – to hand your interviewer a copy of your résumé.  Poor practice – to refer to your résumé when asked questions about your work history because you cannot remember.
  4. Do your research.  Before attending an interview with a company, make sure you have researched them and understand their mission statement, at the very least.  It is very disappointing to an interviewer if they find out you don’t know who they are and a sure way to lose the opportunity.
  5. Thank your interviewer.  Once your interview is complete, be sure to thank the person that interviewed you for considering your application AND send a brief thank you email to this effect.