As the world has been hit by the Pandemic, everything has become unforeseeable and the face of the world is changing and one thing that has changed is the medium of conducting job interviews.

A lot of firms are still hiring during this Coronavirus crisis- and they need to fill the essential roles more than ever. From Account Manager at Unilever to Content Strategist at Clearlink, there are variety of roles and opportunities available in different industries where the work is being handled digitally. But now the things aren’t the way they used to be. Suppose your application has been accepted and your hiring manager has reached out to you asked to schedule an interview, there’s a catch “its virtual”. The virtual interview scenario has become more needed than ever and nearly 75 % of the executives, as surveyed by the organizational consulting firm Kon Ferry, are using real time video to interview leading candidates and 50 % are leveraging it to narrow down the applications.

For prospective employees, trying to showcase their skills via skype, zoom or google hangouts can feel a bit dispiriting unless planned well. Here are some tips to help you plan your virtual interview and reduce your stress levels.

1. Test your technology

Before agreeing to a virtual interview, you need to make sure you have good internet connectivity and the camera and microphone are working. If the picture is grainy or you’re experiencing echoes, try another platform or get hold of a web camera with built-in microphone. Technical savvy is one of the top 10 traits that employers are looking for. Fumbling around with your audio, image or lighting would give the hiring manager good reason to question if you’re fit for the job.

2. Set the scene and minimize distractions

Whether you sit on your couch or facing a blank wall or preferably near a window with natural lighting, you must tidy up your surroundings and make sure your laundry pile is not visible to the interviewer. Once settled, switch off your TV, silent your cellphone and close the windows to eliminate the rattle and hoot of the nearby traffic.

3. Sit down prepared

Research enough about the firm and jot down answers to the common questions. Try to predict the potential questions and create key pointers to those. You want to appear focused and ready to answer any question, without clicking around and searching the web for answers. Mid interview distractions can lead the employer to believe you are looking for answers around. Trust plays an important role here. Make sure you appear focused and directed to the questions being asked. Print a copy of your resume and highlight the key points which may help you if forget anything important to be mentioned. You may stick some notes on your computer to remind you of key points you want to talk about.

4. Monitor your body language

You don’t have an option of a handshake to exude enthusiasm and show your firmness but a right body language can do that. Sit up straight, smile and keep the camera at the eyelevel. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera and not looking at the image of the employer on the screen.

5. Make a connection

You never know how many candidates have been interviewed for the same role so it’s important to make a mark. Don’t be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest, with the recruiter. Do ask one or two divergent questions to break from the routine. Its not easy to connect to everyone, but it’s the most crucial part of a virtual interview. If you are able to maintain the conversation and add some difference to it, it would keep you away from blending with rest of the applicants.

6. Be yourself

A key task for the recruiter is to determine whether you would be a good fit for the company’s culture. This can be very challenging in a virtual interview. Being expressive and appearing enthusiastic will help to create a long-lasting image in the mind of the hiring manager. Also, throw light on how can you help the organization to grow and appreciate their company culture indirectly.

7. Immediately follow up

Within 24 hours of the interview send an individual gratitude email to everyone you met. It will show you value their time and express your uniqueness. Keep your email concise and do mention anything that you missed out in the interview. Mentioning some specifics that you bonded over will keep you on the top of the hiring managers mind.

Preparation is the key

Ultimately, the key to acing a virtual interview is proper preparation. From ensuring your technology is working to conducting research before you meet, sitting down at your system, poised, and ready to answer any question with enthusiasm and maintaining the eye contact will set you apart from other applicants.