3 Ways to Stand Out During Your First Online Job Interview

For most job seekers, the interview is the most stressful part of the process. Plus, living in a post-pandemic world, virtual interviews have become more common. If you don’t have experience with online interviews, this can add to the anxiety and impact the impression you make. How can you get a hold of your nerves and ace the process? Here are three tips to help.

#1: Prepare ahead of time.

Just like an in-person interview, preparation is key. However, in addition to researching the company and preparing responses to common questions, you’ll also need to check your Internet connection to ensure it’s strong.

If it’s not, and your face keeps freezing on the screen, for instance, then it’s going to impact your ability to focus and the impression you’re making. You can use sites like Speedtest to check your bandwidth and ensure it’s strong and clear for the interview.

Besides your connection, make sure you have the software the hiring manager will be using and download it ahead of time if you don’t. If you’re not familiar with it, then practice – such as learning to mute and unmute yourself – so you get comfortable. Also, check your speakers and webcam to make sure they are working properly.

Finally, on the big day, log in a few minutes ahead of time in case there are any technical glitches. This will give you some time to troubleshoot if there’s a problem. If there isn’t one, the hiring manager will still appreciate your promptness.

#2: Look professional.

Looking the part is another key consideration for standing out in a virtual interview. This goes beyond simply dressing professional – which you still should, top to bottom – but also ensuring you have a quiet space in which to conduct the interview. If you don’t, and there are distractions and loud noises, the hiring manager will have a hard time focusing on what you’re saying.

In addition, if your background is messy and cluttered this too will impact the impression you’re making. Instead, avoid all this by choosing a private space, locking the door, and using a virtual background to ensure your chaotic bedroom or kitchen doesn’t show up in the background.

#3: Make eye contact with the webcam.

You’re used to looking people in the eye. However, with a virtual interview, doing this actually means looking into the webcam. Unfortunately, many candidates make the mistake of staring at the screen, which makes them appear distracted. So, you’ll stand out and make a better impression by looking into the webcam – even if it feels unnatural.

If you think this will be hard for you, put a smiley-face sticker or googly eyes near your camera to remind you to look into it. When you do, you’ll come across as more confident and at ease with the hiring manager, which can make all the difference in whether you get the offer.

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