Interviews can be daunting, and more so if it is your first one after a career break. Even if you have rehearsed your introductions and researched thoroughly, a stained shirt would be enough to throw things off balance. While external factors are not in your control, preparing in advance is.
So, we have made this handy list that you can check off a day before your virtual interview, to make sure you are as prepared as you can be.
Triple Tech Checks
A virtual interview can be painful for you and the interviewer with a shoddy internet connection, hence it is a good idea to check and double-check your devices and networks, a day before the interview. If your interview is at 10 am, set up a call one day in advance with a friend to check if you are visible and audible. Having your mobile data ready as a backup is a good idea.
In virtual times, it’s ideal to invest in a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) device for interviews and meetings. These small things can also help you to achieve a state of ‘flow’ not just during the interview, but once you get the job as well. If all of these options are exhausted, your phone can be used as a substitute. (Power banks are (battery) lifesavers!) So, keep all your devices charged, and make sure your earphones and speakers are functional as well. Update and restart your computer to avoid any last-minute delays. Also, if you are using someone else’s laptop, make sure that you get acquainted with its functionality ahead of time.
Dress to Impress
Different interviewers notice different things. When you dress appropriately, it shows that you have put the same amount of effort that you would into an offline meeting (Remember, many micro-impressions make for an impactful interview). If the dress code you’d like to follow is formal, it doesn’t have to be boring. You can dress up in interesting new ways if you have a limited number of pieces, by using apps like Pinterest. If you are more Insta-savvy, here are a few accounts that you can explore for refreshing outfit ideas — @chicworkchick or @stylemeupwithsakshi for Indo-western wear.
(P.S — Make sure you have ironed your outfit the night before and keep it in a place that your pet or child can’t reach, to avoid any mishaps. Remember, there are things that are in your control. This is one of them.)
Cut the clutter
That little Fengshui cat on your desk? Time to wave it goodbye (temporarily). The clock that ticks a bit too loudly? Make sure you put it away a day in advance. It is important to make sure nothing in your frame is distracting for your recruiter. So set the scene and make sure that there are no rogue hand towels dancing in the background that could take the attention off of you.
I came across a YouTube channel that I would recommend called Matt D’avella, he focuses on minimalist living and organization. Watching a few of his videos can help you set up your interview background in a neutral manner.
Perfect that posture
A well-ironed shirt or your crystal clear webcam wouldn’t really do you any favours if your shoulders are drooped and your voice, shaky. Given that recruiters are primarily here to judge, you are likely to get extra points for being composed and confident.
A few ways to do this are finding a chair that is comfortable, and marking where you want your laptop or webcam to be placed, so you look your best. You don’t want to be conscious and lose your train of thought because of your appearance. Try practising some basic questions with a friend, that will help you get into interview mode and you’ll look as confident as you are feeling.
(Pro tip — Don’t look at yourself on the screen. Although it is tempting to do so, you might end up distracted. So set up the screen to show your interviewer on the main panel)
Relax, don’t rehearse
Preparing for an interview is a long process, so don’t practice “Top 10 interview questions” on the day before your interview. This can cause panic and overthinking and won’t do you any good. Instead, take this time to reflect on your previous interviews, but don’t dwell on them. Revise some main points based on feedback that you’ve received, or assessed for yourself from your past experiences and find ways to overcome those.
Also, building a genuine connection with the recruiter requires you to pay attention to their questions. This means a one-size-fits-all script won’t work. So, keep your head clear, listen intently, and give it your best shot. Interestingly, some people believe in entirely distracting themselves on the day before their interview, for e.g. A friend’s father asks him to play a football game to refresh himself, instead of preparing at the last minute.
While these are just things you can do as measures to minimise chances of error, they are not a substitute for thorough preparation. The key to a good interview is market research, studying the company in advance and presenting yourself confidently. Alexander Graham Bell has rightfully said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”, and we agree!