For job seekers, extensive preparation is spent on their verbal responses. They research the company, its industry and even its hiring managers while also prepping for some of the traditional, trickier interview questions. However, recruiters rely heavily on nonverbal cues as well, which studies have shown make up as much as 93% of our conveyed message. In a virtual interview environment such as iMeet, these cues are even more important for both recruiter and interviewee to identify.
Be on the lookout for these ten nonverbal cues:
1) Dress and Appearance
Dressing professionally is Interviewing 101 and it is every bit as important in a virtual interview as it is in an in-person one. It can be tempting to “fake” it in an online interview by only dressing the parts the interviewer is going to see, such as wearing a suit jacket up top and pajamas on the bottom, a practice we at PGi like to call “the business mullet.” Business on top, party on the bottom.
An additional consideration that remote interviewees must make is the professionalism of the environment they choose as the background for their virtual interview. All of the professional dress and poise in the world loses some credibility if the backdrop is a messy apartment or a wall covered in inappropriate posters.
With the added convenience of the virtual interview, it can be easy for a job candidate to forget the importance of showing up early and being prepared. A candidate should familiarize themselves with your virtual meeting solution prior to the start of the interview and should be waiting for you when you arrive, not the other way around. I like to call this the “virtual firm handshake” — the online equivalent of one of the universally accepted indicators of a strong first impression.
4) Eye Contact and Attentiveness
Attentiveness can be especially tricky to maintain in a virtual interview due to the potentially increased number of distractions present in a remote environment. Maintaining regular eye contact with an interviewer (or in this case, the webcam) is a good way to convey both confidence and engagement. Additionally, a poised interviewee will take care not to interrupt, will smile at appropriate times and will nod as you speak to indicate that they’re engaged and following along.
Slouching or otherwise leaning back in a chair presents an unprofessional and overly lax appearance to a recruiter, especially when a prospective employee is front and center in a video conference. Sitting up straight with a slight forward lean conveys confidence and attentiveness.
6) Facial Expressions
Ultimately, an interviewee has to use all of their communication tools to convey enthusiasm and interest in both the position and the company they’re applying for. Scowling or looking disinterested can immediately sour an interviewer’s impression of a candidate. iMeet’s Spotlight Cube feature, which allows you to enlarge a user’s cube and video feed, makes it easy to read facial expressions virtually over HD-quality video.
A confident, well-prepared interviewee shouldn’t spend a lot of time fidgeting nervously or squirming in their seat. Even a poised prospective employee might fidget if a tough question catches them off guard, but that becomes an opportunity to evaluate how they handle an uncomfortable, high-pressure situation.
8) Tone of Voice
As with most of the items on this list, the key to tone of voice is staying confident and professional. It’s easy to hear cracks and nervousness in someone’s voice in a virtual meeting, especially as the quality of audio conferencing and VoIP audio increases. An interviewer should be attentive to a candidate’s tone, and an interviewee should practice with a friend ahead of time to ensure they stay calm and collected.
“Talking with your hands” isn’t inherently a bad thing and can actually convey a relaxed, natural and confident message to a recruiter. However, all things in moderation — excessive gesticulating can quickly become distracting or annoying.
An important aspect of an interviewee’s skills is being able to read the interviewer as well and match their nonverbal and verbal communications accordingly. While it shouldn’t cross the line into outright mimicry, a poised interviewee will smile and laugh at appropriate times while maintaining quiet, professional confidence and attentiveness in others.
Remember, a virtual interview with the right collaboration tool gives recruiters just as much opportunity to evaluate nonverbal cues as an in-person interview. It’s important for candidates to prepare just as judiciously for their virtual interviews while being mindful of the unique challenges — and opportunities — that virtual interviewing can present.
Interested in giving iMeet a try for your next virtual interview? Try iMeet free today for thirty days!
Originally published on PGi Blog.