The job seeker market is thriving. Many nonprofits and individuals put hiring and job seeking on hold in the height of the pandemic. It’s safe to say that has all changed. If you’ve been wanting to make a move, now is a great time. While some interviews are beginning to take place in person, many are still happening remotely, especially in the early stages of the interview process.
You may be wondering, how do I best sell myself in this new environment? We’ve got you covered! Here are 5 ways to nail your next interview.
1. First impressions are everything. You know this to be true. Your appearance and interview setting are extremely important. Whether you’re interviewing in-person or virtually, make sure that you are dressed for the job that you want, not the job you have. Appear professional, polished and poised even if you are used to working from home in your sweatpants. Make sure that you hold the interview in an area that is well lit, tidy, and as quiet as possible so that your interview is not interrupted. While we know that most people have become accustomed to kids, animals, and other noises in the background in this work-from-home era, trying to find a quiet space will help control distractions and show that you are prioritizing the importance of the interview. The mute button is your friend when you are not speaking! If you do not feel comfortable with a background in your home for the interview, be sure to check out the virtual background options on different interview video platforms – a tasteful backdrop can help ease the pressure of having the perfect home office setup. The new “blur” feature in zoom is also great for this.
2. Look into the camera when you are speaking (not at yourself). Looking at the camera makes the interviewer feel like you are looking them in the eye. This shows you are paying attention and builds trust. If you’re looking at other areas of your screen, it’s hard for the interviewer to know whether you are paying attention or multi-tasking. Turning off the self-view mode is a great way to hide your zoom box so that you won’t be distracted or fidget during the conversation. Be clear, concise, and on topic when you are answering questions from the interviewer.
3. Do your homework. Preparation is key for any interview. Spend time on the organization’s website and make sure you understand what they do. Look up the person you’ll be interviewing with and try to find any commonalities you might be able to bring up in the conversation. This is a great way to build a connection with the interviewer.
4. Prepare your notes and questions in advance. It’s incredibly clear in an interview who has done their homework and who hasn’t. Those who have done their homework weave information about the organization into their answers and ask questions that are tailored both to the organization and the specific role. Whether you’re interviewing virtually or in-person, write down some notes and have them with you. When you’re asked if you have questions, it’s ok to say that you’ve written some down and to reference your notes during the conversation. This shows that you put in the time and that you care.
5. Send a thank-you note. We know that thank you notes are common in some cultures and not in others. Either way, we’re a fan. A thank you note is a great way to show the interviewer you appreciate their time, reiterate your interest and highlight something of interest from the conversation. We recommend sending an email thank you within 24 hours of the interview.
The thought of interviewing is scary to many. It’s also an art that can be practiced. Feeling nervous? Try a mock interview with a friend. It can be a great way to test out your technology, practice your answers and work out those nerves. We believe in you, you’ve got this!
Want us to keep you in mind for current and upcoming searches? Send your resume to Jamie Perry on our Executive Search team by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.