The virtual interview has become more commonplace than ever. Even businesses that weren’t conducting virtual interviews a few months ago have adopted video interviews for almost all of their hiring. Virtual interviewing also isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.
Video interviews pose some unique challenges, so you can’t treat them exactly as an in-person meeting. After all, there won’t be any handshakes or walking into the room confidently. Are you managing your body language the right way?
You can use these seven tips as a starting point.
1. Make Eye Contact and Look at the Camera
Most video platforms show both your interviewer’s feed and your own camera. It’s tempting to check the second feed. Instead of watching yourself, keep your eyes on the camera.
This can be difficult, as you may think you’re making eye contact with your interviewer by looking at them on the screen. You’re more likely to make eye contact by looking directly at your camera.
Remember not to hold eye contact for too long, or you could make your interviewer uncomfortable.
2. Keep Your Feet on the Floor
Your interviewer can’t see your lower half, so you might think that you can do whatever you want. Crossing your ankles or your legs, propping them up, or other positions may seem appealing.
Much like you should still wear pants to your virtual interview, you should mind what you do with your feet. Your best bet is to keep them planted firmly on the floor.
This is grounding, and it will help you maintain good posture and resist the urge to fidget. It can also help you feel more confident and energetic. Being engaged in your interview is important, so plant your feet on the floor.
3. Lean in a Bit
Another great tip for managing your body language during a virtual interview is to lean in toward the camera slightly. This can help with posture, but it also makes you appear more interested and engaged in what the interviewer is saying.
4. Smile Like You Mean It
Smiling is a key social expression. A smile makes you seem friendly and more inviting.
Of course, there’s a difference between smiling genuinely and faking it. If you have a smile plastered on through the entire interview, you could make your interviewer uncomfortable.
Instead, save the smiles for when they’re natural. Smile when you enter the virtual interview room and greet the interviewer, and definitely smile when they make a joke. A smile as you share a favourite memory of your last job or a project you did well on is also natural and normal.
5. Keep Fidgeting to a Minimum
Fidgeting during an in-person interview sends the wrong message. Fidgeting can indicate that you’re impatient or bored. Your interviewer may get the impression you’d rather be elsewhere.
Fidgeting during a video interview can also cause other issues. The excessive use of gestures might cause video feeds to lag. That can make for hilarious screenshots during a friend hangout, but it may not leave a good impression on a potential employer.
Use gestures to emphasize points only when necessary. Otherwise, sit still and lean in.
6. Sit Up Straight
Posture is always important for interviews. Slouching can indicate that you’re not taking the interview seriously or that you’re bored.
Instead, sit up straight, preferably at a desk. One trick is to pretend you’re squeezing an orange lightly between your shoulder blades. Hold that orange in place, and you should have picture-perfect posture for your interview.
7. Mirror Their Body Language
Finally, whenever possible, mirror your interviewer’s body language. If they smile, it’s probably appropriate for you to smile too. This suggests you and the interviewer are on the same page.
Of course, don’t mimic “bad” body language, like crossing arms or fidgeting. Your interviewer shouldn’t be making these gestures, but you don’t want to mirror them if they do.