“Most companies already today have a digital process for searching and applying for a job, so that aspect of the job hunt hasn’t changed much in COVID times. What has changed is the interview process. The interaction that previously was a mix of digital and physical is now exclusively digital.”
Even though the interview process is different from before, Anna believes applicants will do well to prepare as thoroughly as they would do for interviews in physical settings.
“Video interviews offer some challenges – for example, it may not be that easy to make small talk and it can be harder to read body language. All the nonverbal communication that’s important to catch will be more difficult digitally. But many other aspects of the interview will be similar. Prepare to speak clearly as you answer questions about yourself as well as pose some questions of your own. The goal of the interview is to establish if the applicant is the right person for the role, and that hasn’t changed!”
As a matter of course, Anna says that both the interviewer and the applicant should have their cameras turned on.
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“If the interviewer does not turn on their camera, I think you have the right to politely ask if he or she can turn it on so you can see who they are. It’s also easier to present yourself when you can see who you are talking to.”
Be on time
When you have a physical interview you probably know that you should meet up well in advance. Maybe you also know that you should do that with a digital interview as well. But one thing that is easy to forget is that a “lot more” than traffic can go wrong.
“Remember to be ready for the interview well in advance, but you should also remember to check if everything works as it should on your computer as well as try to log in to the meeting at least a couple of minutes before the meeting starts, so you have time to examine if something is wrong.”
Anna says it’s important to know when to stop - and not overload the interviewer. You need to give enough information about who you are and what you can contribute to the company. But not too much information. If you talk hours about yourself and your skills, the information will drown, and it is hard to remember anything.
“A good interviewer will usually help you to stop if you talk too much, but it is always good to think about what you actually want the company to know about you that will differentiate you from the other applicants.”
It’s all about using your experience and wrap it in a work context.
Be at ease, but be yourself
When you participate in a physical interview, it’s much easier for the interviewer to determine if you are really nervous. When you walk in, they can spot the nervousness in the walk and when you shake hands a lot of applicants can have sweaty palms. That can be harder to spot over a digital camera. If it is an experienced interviewer, they may make some small talk to put people at ease and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
“As a digital applicant, I think it’s important, to be honest and clear if you are nervous. The interviewer only wants you to feel good and that the interview is a positive experience. But it could be hard for us to read body language over a camera. It’s no shame in stating that you are nervous. On the contrary, it just shows us that this interview is important to you.”
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There are so many different tips that Anna could offer applicants and she’s quick to note that it’s also important to do what you feel works best for you and enables you to be your authentic self.
At the same time, Anna believes everyone would do well to follow these tips in COVID times:
- Find a quiet and natural environment where you will not be disturbed and be able to show yourself in the best way.
- Find out how you want to present yourself for the company, so you can be attractive for the position
- Give only information about work related situations. If you have not worked before, you can of course describe yourself through for example studies or sport.
- Don’t be late, and remember to check in advance if everything digitally is working from your side.