Networking and building relationships is deep rooted in our genetics. We are predisposed to crave social interaction with others and create meaningful bonds. Fast forward, and these bonds are as important as ever from a social perspective but also in business. The question is, how do we adjust our behaviours and social skillset to follow the monumental jump into digital. As reported by the BBC, a survey of just under 1,000 firms by the Institute of Directors (IoD) shows that a huge 74% plan on maintaining the increase in home working.
Unequivocally, we are all moving online. This shift has bought with it a range of positives – the ability to cast your net globally therefore reducing the cultural gap, the ability to speak to people from the comfort of your own home - an environment you may well feel more comfortable in and an increase in business opportunities due to information being shared quicker than ever before just to name a few. On the flipside, many people may feel left behind, our privacy is of higher importance then ever before, but most importantly, it is harder to interact on a ‘human’ level through a screen.
To overcome this challenge, we need to make sure when we do communicate online it is meaningful, useful and that we are presenting a credible and trustworthy version of ourselves.
Here are 4 key areas to help you present the best version of yourself during your next zoom interview:
1. Be Prepared
Preparation is key. In terms of technical equipment make sure you have tested everything well in advance. Waiting until the last minute to log on can mean you encounter unforeseen delays and being late can result in a negative first impression. Simple things such as lighting, internet connection, your outfit and sound quality should also be considered. If you think any of these will cause issue, seek help, or potentially change location to somewhere more suitable ahead of time.
2. Do Your Research
Not strictly online only but of utmost importance: make sure you have researched the company thoroughly. Here at BarrettClark & Duncannon we are uniquely positioned to understand what makes an interview outstanding and something that very quickly becomes apparent is who has done their research and who has not. Commenting on interactions you may have with the company, previous employees or general points of note including looking for online reviews or news articles etc not only demonstrates your commitment to the process but also your initiative. As a bonus, it also works as a great conversation starter which will inevitably help engage you with the interviewer.
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Authenticity and coming across as genuine is key. Research has proved that participants in videoconferences tend to be more influenced by heuristic cues – such as how likeable they perceive the speaker to be – than they are by the quality of the arguments presented by the speaker.
Show the interviewer how interested and keen you are on their company, how much you see the yourself being beneficial to them and equally how you will add value to them as a person. Keenness goes a long way, even over Zoom or Teams.
Online, we cannot pick up on many of the smaller nuances of an individual’s behaviour and body language but none the less, we still do give off subconscious signals. Social scientists have spent a lot of time looking at the effects of our body language, or other people's body language, on judgments. It has been proven that we make sweeping judgments and inferences from body language and those judgments can impact meaningful life outcomes. If body language is a form of communication, what can your body language be communicating that you are unaware of? Cut the bravado and focus on relaxing which will help you naturally give off likeable nonverbal signals such as smiling, avoiding crossing your arms and maintaining as much ‘eye’ contact as possible. Don’t forget to sit up straight.
4. Overhaul your Online Persona
Lastly, interview aside, there are now a multitude of social platforms to sell yourself on. Employees will use these as tools to gather information, so it is important to optimise these to their maximum potential. According to research, 92% of interviewers use social media platforms to learn more about you. The key things to focus on are straightforward but so often missed. Accuracy – a spelling mistake or outdated information makes you question someone’s attention to detail and credibility online. The LinkedIn profiles which really stand out have a personalised bio which has an injection of humanity whilst also touching on an individual’s accomplishments and strengths. Make sure to spend a bit of extra time writing and keeping your profiles updated to give yourself the best possible chance.