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Career Focus

Be Seen Not Screened

By LISA TRUDEL - September 22 2020

Do you know the new formula for job interviews? It is: Remote technology plus COVID-19 equals virtual hiring. 

If you are seeking a professional position, your next job interview will probably be via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or WebEx. Instead of resisting this change, learn how Human Resources are using online interviews to reduce hiring time, make consistent decisions and identity potential.

Less than one year ago, interview tips would have included: shake hands politely yet firmly, look the employer straight in the eyes, and wear a smile. Today the only tip that has not changed is to smile! Now that we are in the COVID-19 era, here are 3 pointers to help boost your interviewing skills:

1) Check your technology: become familiar with your mobile device, cellphone or laptop and a webcam that you will be using for your interview. Practice interviewing with 10 friends or connect with a Career Coach to conduct a mock interview. Become confident with technology. It is as important as your smile!

2) Create a Perfect Interview Environment: learn how to be impressive on camera. Borrow advice from professional TV actors and broadcasters by starting with your lighting. Your background lighting should be in front not behind you. If you are sitting in front of a window during the daytime, close the curtains to prevent heavy back lighting. 

Next, ensure that your background is not distracting. Find a quiet area in your home away from noise. If the only room you have is your bedroom or kitchen understand that these are not acceptable backgrounds, so look for another space. For example, if you own a car you might want to set yourself up in the drivers’ seat. Just don’t be driving! You are guaranteed to be remembered by the interviewer! You can also consider creating a digital background if your laptop allows it. 

Think about when you are watching the news and you want to listen to a COVID-19 medical professional but they are sitting in what appears to be a basement and all you are doing is checking out what is in behind them instead of listening to the message. This is the same thing an interviewer will do. Try to create a perfect environment if you want to achieve a perfect interview.

3) Prepare Like Any Other Interview: this is still a job interview so rehearse and practice. Create answers to standard questions, prepare questions to ask the interviewer and dress for success even if it is from the waist up! Have your “after-the-interview” items ready to email: your reference list and a thank you message.

Prepare for a new time length. Online interviews can be as short as 15 minutes since they are platforms that are easier for employers to access you. Second interviews that evaluate your keyboarding speed and communication skills are common now, so a question you can ask is “will there be a second interview and is there anything I can prepare?”

Be sure to smile and say thank you. That part has not changed in our new era of virtual hiring.

To find out more about how you can improve your interview skills, contact your local Employment Ontario Career Centre. There is a new formula for interviews so make sure you are seen and not screened!

This article was written by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist with the Centre for Education and Training. You can contact her at: 

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