Everyone wants to predict the post-pandemic future, trying desperately to figure out when things will go back to normal. Though none of us have a crystal ball, it seems inevitable that the new normal would reflect a recalibration of standards on how we view and value working remotely, our concept of space whether it’s at home or in the workplace, and how we interact with one another socially and professionally.

What would the workplace look like? Will there be new restrictions limiting the number of people in any given area. Will employees work in staggered shifts, while others work remotely. Will virtual Zoom meetings make in-person staff meetings obsolete. How will we hold ourselves and each other accountable at work in this new normal.  How will job seekers need to modify their job search process in this new and changed world. We may not have all of the answers right now, however virtual interviews which were utilized during pre-pandemic times are key today, and here to stay.

Get IT fluent.

Confirm your internet connection, know the employer’s choice of virtual meeting software e.g. Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype, and become familiar with how to navigate them.

Clean up your desktop. When you share, what you have is what they see. Make sure the desktop image is appropriate, and hide any files/folders you don’t want anyone else to see.

Some experts advise to keep the background bare or neutral. I’m of the opinion that it’s ok to stylize your background, to show your personality, just make sure it’s neat and organized, appropriate, apolitical, and non-controversial.

Get dressed, but don’t overdo it; ensure the focus is on you and your face.

Keep a notepad and pen next to you to jot things down.  Avoid typing and keyboarding during the interview.  The sound is distracting.

Body Language. Get an understanding, appreciation for what you look like, how you come across and sound like. Many are often surprised at what they actually sound like, or what they look like when they’re speaking.  Practice by using the software, record yourself, then observe and listen to your recording.  Are you making eye contact, blinking too much, saying “um” or “you know” excessively.

Save the water break for later. Avoid taking a drink of water during the interview.  Watch the news on TV. Do you see Anderson Cooper chugging his water when he’s delivering the news and the camera is fixed on him? I don’t think so. Remember when Marco Rubio took a sip of water during his post- State of the Union speech? He got a lot of heat for it and became the butt of SNL’s jokes.

Turn your cellphone off!  Even if you know the interviewer can’t see your hands, leave the cellphone alone. You wouldn’t check your cellphone during an in-person interview, right?

Take notes. If you have to look down to do so, explain to the interviewer quickly and briefly that you’re jotting down a few words.

Practice makes perfect. Imagine yourself as an actor preparing for your show. You need to rehearse and know your lines, read your audience, and envision how you’re coming across to your audience. Your virtual interview is your time to shine.  The interviewer is your audience. The spotlight is on you, you’re the star of the show, make the most of it. Lights, Camera, Action!

Best,   Mariko