With the Coronavirus showing no immediate signs of disappearing, more and more interviews are being conducted virtually rather than using the traditional in-person method around a table.
The virtual handshake is more of a collection of habits than one single gesture.
In a virtual interview, we are forced to rely entirely on what’s on-screen and the body language of both parties. As a result, it’s become important to understand how to make a great impression when interviewing for a position over video.
The virtual handshake is our opportunity to shine – remotely.
The virtual handshake
There are several things to remember when mastering the virtual handshake, and it’s more than just a gesture. While a simple wave, bow, or nod of the head can substitute as a handshake, keep several important tips in mind to put your best foot forward.
Gesture and smile. Use hand gestures as your greeting. A simple wave works, but don’t forget to smile – not just at the beginning of the interview, but periodically throughout.
Dress as you would for an in-person interview. This means wearing professional clothing, top to bottom. Make-up. Doing your hair. Anything that you would do for an in-person interview, do those things for a virtual interview as well. Cologne or perfume, of course, are optional!
Resist the temptation to wear shorts or jeans underneath your suit or dress. You never know when you’ll need to reach for something. Revealing your less-than-professional attire from the waist down can be an awkward moment.
Pay attention to your background. The pictures or posters on your wall, or the activity happening behind you, can be distracting to your interviewers. Don’t hesitate to position yourself and your camera so your background is professional, or at least non-distracting.
Also, a darker background can help to visually separate you from your surroundings. Position yourself in front of a window to help improve the lighting on your face.
Stay focused on the screen. Never look distracted when you’re on a virtual interview. The screen is the only thing that your interviewers will look at to judge you during the interview. Stay focused on the screen, and try to look into the camera rather than the video display of them.
Also, position the camera at eye level whenever possible. Doing this will deliver the best vantage point of you during the interview.
Choose a quiet place. Remember, this is an interview. It’s important. Choose a quiet place without distractions from kids, your spouse, or your roommate. Don’t choose a coffee shop or any other noisy environment for your interview.
Don’t forget the technicals. Use a high-quality microphone whenever you can. I like the Blue Snowball microphone for a high-quality affordable option. Also, if your Internet connection is flakey, ask other people in your home to stop streaming while you’re on your video call. You might be surprised at the difference that can make!
Lastly, don’t forget to close the interview like an expert.