Help Wanted: Tips to getting comfortable in a virtual job interview

Fox 4 wants to help you rebound from this pandemic
Posted at 7:56 AM, Mar 18, 2021

As part of our commitment to helping you rebound from this pandemic, each week, Fox 4 is bringing you tips from experts, on how to land a new job. Before this pandemic, you would meet with employers face-to-face for an interview. But now, virtual interviews are the norm. If you're having trouble getting comfortable in an online setting, Dr. Andrea Fortin, the Director of Professional Education and Training at Hodges University has some advice to help you out.

Lisa Greenberg, Fox 4 Morning News Anchor: "One of the first questions I wanted to ask is, with everything happening over Zoom, or virtually, we wanted to give some people the tips to feel more comfortable in virtual interview. Do you have any tips to kind of make that a little bit of a smoother process?"

Dr. Fortin: "You want to make sure that you feel confident personally, and so one thing that you can really do is dress the part -- one, because you should because it's an interview, right? So the classic interview attire. But it also is this nonverbal signal to you that you're doing something outside of the norm, especially if it's taking place in your house. And you also want to make sure that you're making eye contact. So that's kind of the hardest thing, because let's say I'm looking down, or i'm looking over here, because that's where I put your video, right? So I can look like I'm looking all over the place. So you want to make sure you pull that video as close to your webcam as possible, so you know that whenever they're looking at you, it's almost simulating that face-to-face."

Lisa Greenberg: "I think a big thing that a lot of people need to be doing that maybe they don't realize is testing out their equipment, their Zoom, their video cameras, ahead of time as well?"

Dr. Fortin: "Oh yeah, that's a huge, huge thing. So technology is great, but technology will fail us inevitably, right? So we have to be very careful. So if you know it's not Zoom, and maybe it's a Webex and you have to download something, maybe ask for that information ahead of time from the HR person, and maybe download it, test it out, make sure that your audio is working. And you also want to test out your audio with a friend to make sure there's no weird sounds in the room that are overpowering your microphone, right? Because if they can't hear your answers, you might as well not have spoken. And now let's say your webcam takes a dive, you still can't miss the interview. You don't want to say I have to reschedule because technology. Instead, say I called in because I still want to talk with you. And you could just go to that classic phone interview style if you had to."

Lisa Greenberg: "When you meet an employer in person, you're able to shake their hand. You're able to get a gauge of their body language, their enthusiasm, their personality, and that's kind of harder to convey over a webcam. Do you have any tips or recommendations when it comes to kind of showing who you are in a virtual interview?"

Dr. Fortin "Absolutely. You still have so many tools at your disposal, right? You have to think about what nonverbal is, and a lot of it's with our face, right? Yes, of course, how we're sitting or posture, hand gestures. In an actual interview for a job, maybe I wouldn't have the virtual background. So if you talk with your hands, these are all things to think about just logistically. But really to feel confident, and make that personality come across, make sure that you're prepared mentally. Take that moment to have a little zen right before the interview, because you'll have already practiced and you've research the place, you've done all the great things. And then when you're actually in the interview, it is what it is. And if there's a mistake, roll with it. That shows off more than anything. So if your dog barks, if the post comes, if whatever, if something falls, if you're freaked out about it, and you're sitting there nervous and apologizing, and just making it a whole thing, that's going to be your personality at work, according to the interview, right? That's all they know of you, is how you react. So you can roll with it, laugh it off, and move on. And really showcase your personality as you can handle stress. That's going to really help you shine as well."

Dr. Fortin also suggests putting up a sticky note in front of where you're doing the interview, to remind you of key words or ideas you know you want to mention during the interview.