DALLAS, Texas (NEXSTAR) — In the virtual world that 2020 and a worldwide pandemic brought us, the employment interview process is unlike anything job seekers have experienced before. Paper resumes and in-person meetings have been replaced by email attachments and virtual conversations. Those major changes can be stressful for a job candidate used to the more traditional process.
So what do you do if you’re asked to interview virtually? Executive media coach Patranya Bhoolsuwan says you treat it just like the in-person experience.
“Always think of an interview as a real interview. Even though you’re at home, you have to prepare your mind as if you’re going to someone’s office,” Bhoolsuwan said.
Bhoolsuwan is an Emmy-award winning journalist who now works with business leaders, journalists and other public speakers on their presentation skills. She says it’s critical to approach a virtual interview like any other day: take a shower, eat breakfast and go through the process you need to feel like you’re on your way to an office for an in-person interview.
“When you feel professional, you speak with confidence,” Bhoolsuwan added.
And, yes, that means you shouldn’t wear shorts underneath that suit, guys. Bhoolsuwan urges job seekers to dress professionally from head-to-toe to get in the right state of mind.
Connecting with the interviewer may be a little more difficult in a virtual environment, so Bhoolsuwan encourages job seekers to “turn up” their internal energy.
“Really go in very energetic,” she said. “Give yourself that extra boost to get yourself excited. When you’re not there in person, you have the potential to lose that energy.”
Along with dressing your best, you want to ensure you look your best from a technology standpoint as well. That means testing all your equipment in advance and ensuring there aren’t any problems with your picture. Bhoolsuwan says to be sure you have an appropriate background and there’s nothing behind you that could cause a distraction.
Along the same lines, she encourages you to do the interview from a desktop computer or laptop to make sure you have a steady picture.
“You want to look straight at the interviewer and be at eye level — just like you’re in an office in that real interview,” she added.
Bhoolsuwan says lighting is also important. During the setup process, be sure your shot is clear and that you have more than enough light on your face.
And if all that doesn’t sound like enough prep work, she encourages you to do a technical and interview rehearsal to ensure you’re comfortable with all steps of the process. That may mean grabbing a family member or friend to play interviewer during a mock experience. This ensures you can hear the interviewer and the hiring manager can clearly hear and see you.
While the process may feel a little daunting, Bhoolsuwan encourages you to do everything you can to enter the interview with a positive attitude.
And her final piece of advice? Don’t forget to smile.