Making an impression ... virtually

Anita Jaensch 03 July 2020

It’s still not business as usual for many companies, so virtual interviews are increasingly common. But how do you make a good impression when you’re separated by a screen?

Cracking the civilian recruitment code is one thing when you can front up to an interview in person, ready to be the best version of yourself. But presenting to a two-dimensional face on a screen can be nervewracking, particularly in the context of a job interview.

Our RSL Queensland Employment Team has prepared seven simple tips to ensure you put your best virtual foot forward.

  1. Never work with children or animals.

    While it makes for great viral content, having your kids or dog photobomb your interview doesn’t make the best first impression. Find a quiet room in your house, close the door and make sure everyone knows you shouldn’t be disturbed until your interview is over.
  2. Be ready for your close-up.

    You don’t need a professional cameraman, but taking a few extra minutes to optimise your set-up can make all the difference. Check your lighting – soft, indirect light is best. Don’t sit in front of a window or a cluttered bookshelf. And make sure your laptop is slightly above your eyeline so you avoid that dreaded double chin.
  3. Test your equipment.

    Make sure your camera and microphone are working correctly – many virtual meeting platforms enable you to test your equipment from within the application.
  4. Get rid of distractions.

    Turn off any other apps on your device, mute your phone and disable vibration alerts. You should be fully focussed on the interview.
  5. Be prepared.

    Make sure you have everything you need within easy reach – a copy of your resume, pen and paper, a glass of water, and the interviewer’s phone number (even with the best preparations, the internet connection may be lost).
  6. Don’t forget to smile.

    Even in a virtual workplace, employers want team members who they can connect with. A warm genuine smile immediately makes you seem more personable.
  7. Practise patience.

    In this new post-COVID environment, the recruitment process is taking a little longer than usual. So if the recruiter has said they’ll get back to you Monday, maybe give them until Wednesday before you chase them up.

Of course, the usual rules of preparing for an interview apply. Research the organisation, be prepared for anticipated questions, have a few questions of your own to ask the interviewer, dress professionally and relax. You have the skills and experience, you’ve done the prep – now it’s your time to shine.

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