Whether you’re looking for your first job or want to move up to a higher position, the interview is the point where you really have a chance to make an impression. There’s a good chance that at least one of your interviews will be done virtually to save time and effort for both you and your potential employer.
Professionalism is paramount to any interview, especially the virtual one where you only get a very specific set time to make that impression. In addition to a competent professional, the company wants to hire someone who would be a good fit for the organizational culture. For that reason, you don’t want to act like a do-it-all robot who simply acts the way they’re programmed to. Show some personality in your interview with these tips for keeping it professional while being your genuine self.
Highlight Your Passions
Come well prepared to the interview with information about both your professional experiences and personal passions. It’s not unusual for an interviewer to ask about your hobbies and interests. It’s just personal enough – without violating any laws – to give insight into who you are as a person. The answers to these questions will help shape their opinion of how you would get along and fit in with the team, so plan a few responses that make you look good.
Identify Shared Interests
Most people are able to find at least one or two things they have in common. To make a good connection with your interviewer, spend some time searching them on the web, especially social media, to pinpoint any commonalities you might share. It’s likely that your interviewer is doing some research on you before you meet, so there’s no reason to be shy about looking them up on social media – it’s pretty much the norm nowadays. If you find our you volunteer with the same organization, belong to the same sorority/fraternity or studied at the same college, find a way to casually bring it up in conversation. Whatever it is, it should be relevant to the questions they ask you so it seems natural.
Use Personal Stories
Your interviewers will throw you some curveballs. Questions like “What is your biggest strength?” or “Talk about a difficult situation and how you handled it” are a challenge you may be expected to rise up and meet. Using concrete examples will strengthen your answer, and these can come from either your professional experiences or other situations that prove your value. Telling a relevant story about something outside of work – such as volunteer activities or leadership roles held in organizations – can demonstrate that your skills transfer over to many situations, and give a more comprehensive picture of who you are and what you’re capable of.
Relax Before Your Interview
When you’re nervous and stressed, it can be difficult to act like yourself. Taking some time for a pre-interview de-stress session can drastically change the outcome of your interview for the better. Take a walk, do some quiet meditation, listen to peaceful music, or doodle in your notepad – whatever it takes to calm your nerves. Your mindset going into the interview will have a big impact on how you perform. While it may sound silly and trivial, getting yourself in a positive mood and putting your mind at ease beforehand can make a big difference. You’ll be cooler, calmer, and more collected, and better able to show your best self.