Making a great first impression (time and again) when you’re on the search for a new job isn’t rocket science. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare for your success. Like anything you want to win at, there is a strategy and process that you should follow with every point of contact to ensure that you walk away from an interaction leaving the other person glad they had the chance to meet you in some form or fashion.
Welcome to Part II of our blog on how to make a good first impression (and every impression thereafter). If you haven’t read Part I, you can check it out here.
So without further adieu, let’s dive right in.
Make a good impression during your Video interview
Video interviews have become popular over the last few years for the opportunity they offer to quickly connect with people in a face-to-face kind of way. Like a phone interview, video interviews are often used as an introductory call to learn more about a job seekers experience and goals, and determine if a longer, more in-depth interview would be beneficial. But 2020 has made them more than a convenient way of connecting with others. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, more companies than ever are turning to the technology of video systems to connect with prospective employees in a safer way. But before you log into that next video interview, follow these tips for success.
Make sure your technology is working properly
For a video call to be successful, the technology has to work properly. You could be your most stellar self, but if the video connection is shoddy, or if you’re unable to get your device to connect to your interviewer at all, being awesome and ready for your interview doesn’t matter. Since the entire interview is dependent on technology, checking that your devices and video links work in advance of the call is vital, and gives you time to troubleshoot or contact your interviewer if something is not working properly.
Typically, many video interviews just require clicking a link provided by the interviewer; but some video systems may require you to download a desktop app, which can slow you down when you’re trying to sign into your interview. The best practice for being as prepared as possible is to click the interview link when you receive it and start a download process if prompted to do so. As your interview time slot approaches, click to join the meeting a few minutes early to be sure you are able to connect (and if you’re not, you’ll have some time to get it working before your interviewer joins the meeting). By joining early, you’ll also have time to make sure your speakers and audio is working, and if needed, to dial into the meeting using your cell phone.
Dress the part
Don’t underestimate the importance clothing plays in not only painting a picture that you’re the right person for a job, but also imparting confidence in yourself as you sign into an interview. A good rule of thumb, even for a video interview, is to understand what the typical dress code is at the company, then dress up a notch or two more for the interview.
Be smart about the location and angle
Just because you’re doing a video call from home doesn’t mean that you should feel too at home--and by that we mean, don’t join the video call with a home in disarray in the video view. Even when doing an interview from home, you want to put your best foot, face (and home) forward and present yourself in a professional light.
Always make sure you have an orderly background for your video call. For the most distraction-free background, position yourself with a wall behind you as long as you have some good lighting so that you’re not sitting in darkness and shadows (which isn’t a great professional look, especially when they want to see you and try to get a sense of who you are and how you handle yourself). Make sure your webcam is at a height that allows you to look straight into it, instead of looking upward or downward into the video. Awkward angles are just that, and you want to let your interviewer know you are capable--and that begins with your presentation in the video interview.
Stay focused during your video interview. Turn off any notifications that might come across your screen and distract your attention from what your interviewer is saying, or what you’re wanting to convey. Your incoming emails and social media alerts can wait a few minutes for you to have a great interview. Turn your phone’s ringer down or off, and if you’re doing the video interview from a desktop or laptop, you can just go ahead and turn your phone over so you don’t see notifications come through. An interesting or funny text message can easily derail you and make it difficult to regain the footing you may have had at the start of the interview.
Practice to make perfect
Talking to a camera could feel a little odd--especially if you feel uncomfortable seeing a mirror image of yourself in the corner of the video screen. Recording some practice runs can give you the chance to evaluate your body language, posture, eye contact, voice and more so you can modify as needed to put yourself forth as the confident, self-assured person you are. You can also hold an actual mock interview by having a friend or family member field common interview questions your way so you can develop your responses.
Make a good impression during your in-person interview
Connect with your connections
While you may not know anyone personally at the company, you may be surprised to find that you may already have some connections, or connections of potential connections, at the company. Check your LinkedIn page or your phone book. If you find connections who work at or have worked at the company in the past, consider reaching out to them to learn more about the company and acquire more insights into the company and culture, and what success looks like at the company. They may be able to give you some good tips for how to approach the company’s interview process so you can prepare like a pro.
Do your homework on the company
Once your interview is scheduled, one of the first things you should do is learn all you can about the company. This will help you be able to better connect your skills and attributes to company needs. Check CareerBliss’s massive database of companies to see what employees are saying about the company you’re interviewing with. You’ll be able to see average salaries, happiness ratings and more.
Take a self-guided tour of the company website to familiarize yourself with what they do, their history, media mentions, awards received, or anything that sets them apart from their competitors. If available on the website, check out what companies and people they’ve worked with. Read their blogs. Watch their videos. Get a good sense of who they are and start to think through why you want to work with them specifically, because more than likely your interviewer will ask. But aside from that, it will give you content that you can work into your discussion with your interviewer for some extra interview kudos for doing your due diligence and caring about the company you’re applying at.
Bring these to your interview
Don’t just assume your interviewer will have your resume, references, or anything in front of them during your meeting. In fact, they might not have even looked over your experience or know a single thing about you before the interview. Be prepared to talk about yourself and your past experience. But also be prepared to show up with multiple copies of your resume in hand to provide to your interviewer so they can have a visual as you go over your history, and provide them a starting point for asking questions.
You should also plan to bring your list of your references, along with the questions you’ve prepared to gain greater insight into the company. Depending one what job you’re applying for, and whether or not the field is a creative type, you’ll want to bring your portfolio of your work samples. The more you can provide on the spot, the greater and better impression you’ll make, highlighting not only your preparedness, but making sure that you take every moment to present the best of you before they move on to interview the next candidate.
Practice for the interview
You’ve probably said it a hundred times or more during your life: “practice makes perfect”. And when it comes to great interviews and great impressions, practice is vital. Interviews can be understandably stressful, but we aim to make them less so. And practicing your eye contact, answering hard questions, tone of voice, etc can help things feel smoother on the day of the interview. Practicing in front of a mirror is a helpful tactic, as is visualization and running through the interview in your mind. By the time you get to the interview, it will feel like you’ve done it before and aced it before, which can considerably cut the nerves and help you feel more in control. Recording yourself as you practice can shed light on problem areas that might need some additional work, such as saying “um” too frequently, or shifting your gaze to avoid eye contact. Sure, recording your practice sessions and watching them back might make you uncomfortable, but it will help in the long run as you approach your interview prepared to wow.
Remember to give thanks
Just because your interview is over doesn’t mean your job is done. The end of an interview is an open invitation (that you should accept) to show some gratitude to your interviewer for their time and consideration. It’s also an opportunity to once again reiterate what excites you about the job and why you’re the perfect candidate to fill it.
The CareerBliss Team
CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!