IN THE MIDDLE | career advancement

Online to Offline Interviews

By Patt Soyao
Published August 13, 2021

Will online interviews be the norm after the pandemic? They say it takes 30 days to build a habit. It’s been a year and 6 months now since the pandemic started, a year and 6 months of Virtual Interviews. It’s not just a habit anymore, it’s already deeply ingrained in the job search process.

Virtual interviews let both interviewers and interviewees take an instant deep dive into facts about each other with the added convenience of doing it immediately. If they like what they saw and heard, then most likely, they would like to see you in real life, probably for your final interview. So, whether the job interview is online or offline, via Zoom or in a room, here are three tips to help you effectively navigate the job interview process.

1. Listen with your eyes

The convenience of doing a video call usually has a trade-off. One of which is the loss of access to non-verbal cues. We innately feel or relate more to the person we’re talking to when we are with them in person. However, as we talk with talking heads via Zoom, a lot of information can still be processed via their facial expressions. A squint, a slight tilt of their heads, a smirk, eye-rolling, nodding, pondering, and a lot more from combinations between the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and even the neck movements. When listening with your eyes, you can get instant feedback on whether or not the one interviewing you is interested or if it’s not going well and you need to steer the interview in a better direction. The problem usually lies in our heads because once we have been asked a question, most of the focus goes to the answering part. While there is nothing wrong with that, it's crucial to be in the moment as well to see real-time reactions from your interviewer.

2. What, When, and Whom

People like it when you speak their language, and each company has a specific tone and, most likely, a specific choice of words. How will you know? Easy: basic research. Check their socials, website, and whatever content you can consume. Find windows of opportunities to strategically drop a statement or an experience when it actually matters. We tend to start strong, but the problem with starting strong is when you say it all together. When you give facts and experiences in one go, thinking that those statements are necessary and strong, then nothing is. It might sound normal, or maybe only one will be highlighted and the rest will be downplayed. To avoid this, itemize your experiences and withhold them strategically so you know when to drop them when it actually matters.

Researching the company is a basic job search practice. On the other hand, researching on the one interviewing is not so basic, yet doing so might end up being your edge over other applicants. Will they think you’re a stalker? There might be a small chance but most of the time, they will think you did your homework and went above and beyond, and even feel flattered. So why research on the one interviewing you? To adjust your answers accordingly. How you answer towards your future boss, your future colleague, or HR officer should differ as each one has a specific perspective. The boss would probably want to know more about how you are as a subordinate, your colleague might want to know how you are as a teammate, and the HR would like to know more about your personality to weigh if you fit in their culture. So adjust accordingly.

Now that you know what to say, when to say it, and whom to say it to, my last advice is the make or break part. You might know the what, the when, and the whom, but if you don’t know HOW to say it, then we have a bigger problem.

3. How

The delivery of a statement or a message can sometimes turn into an issue.

The most common thing that I’ve observed in job interviews is when an applicant really knows the answer but HOW it was delivered was the problem. Have you ever experienced getting nervous during a job application? Don’t we all? So even if you’re so sure of your answer, if you have delivered it with a nervous tone, you might sound unsure of yourself. I do a lot of public speaking and having a lot of confidence really impacts my message. Yes, I still get nervous, but I always tell myself that instead of getting nervous, just be excited.

Results are inevitable, you either get the job or not, so might as well be optimistic about it. One of my favorite authors, Adam Grant, presented research from his book, The Originals, that it does make sense to be excited instead of calming yourself down. 90% of those who calmed down before a public speaking engagement didn't do so well compared to the ones who got excited. The excited ones got better reviews and were more accurate. So next time you're going on a job interview, don't be nervous, be excited.

Closing the Interview

In the absence of a firm handshake to end a virtual job interview, you can always close with a firm tone of assurance. Without saying it aloud, think of the statement “I am the one you are looking for" and attribute the confidence and assurance of those words when you close with the words “thank you."