Plymouth career coach Allison O’Beirne gives us her advice on nailing your next Zoom interview (pajamas optional).
PLYMOUTH—Most virtual calls these days can take place anywhere—and in these times, that often means from home.
Whether you’ve just lost your job or are looking for a new career opportunity, prepare yourself for how to conduct virtual interviews is a great start. Plymouth-based Allison O’Beirne, owner of First Chair Life Coaching, is a professional virtual guide.
She helps Michiganders establish themselves professionally with tips and tricks on how to conquer job interview anxieties, prepare for the next career phase, and make big moves—even during the pandemic.
Showing Up to Shine Online
“As far as me and helping out my clients in the Michigan area, many of my clients felt that jolt from loss of jobs, furlough, paid leave [and more],” O’Beirne said. “And it pushed them into this panic fear zone.”
O’Beirne works with her clients to get to the bottom of understanding their professional motivations, and helps them when it comes to preparing for a virtual job interview. She shows her clients how to show up and be their best selves. And during COVID-19, she said it is a particular challenge to show up sometimes.
But showing up and putting your best foot forward includes preparing for a virtual job interview and considering all the elements that could make it run smoothly, she said.
“Prepare but not too much as far as how to answer questions or what information to give off,” O’Beirne saide. “The more you prepare for that the scarier you get yourself worried about the interviews and the what ifs.”
How should interviewees be dressed is a question that O’Beirne gets a lot. She encourages people to wear solid colors.
“Wearing a simple black, monochromatic shirt is best,” O’Beirn said. “Avoid patterns, bright colors—neons. Any sort of logos. [Because the] lighting kind of changes based off of what the camera catches. It can get really districating.”
Breaking the Ice
When making a great virtual impression, make a “humanistic connection” at the beginning with the interviewer to start the interview off on a good note.
“It breaks the ice and breaks down that sort of hierarchy; it reminds the person that we’re human and that we are both [in this together],” O’Beirne said.
Be Aware of Your Background
Before the interview, look at your background that the computer picks up and ensure that it is clean and shows what you want them to see.
“Backgrounds need to be reflective of who you are,” O’Beirne said, adding that a lack of cleanliness might be picked up as potential disorganization in the workplace. “Avoid having any sort of dirty clothes in the background or messed up bed or signs or posters. Find a neutral wall, a neutral color, that won’t be too distracting.”
Navigating Family Dynamics
O’Beirne said that when interviewing at home, distractions are inevitable. But how one navigates those distractions could set them apart.
With people raising families, helping their elderly parents [and everything in between], she said that the interviewer more than likely understands during the interview if a child or someone else interrupts. Handling those interruptions and distractions gracefully could earn you bonus points, too.
“What I’ve seen specifically Michiganders [especially in the southeast Detroit area] we have a lot of families who are educators and teachers and…a lot of my clients are trying to prioritize their time at home,” she said. “This pandemic has opened our eyes to be understanding of each individual’s circumstances and definitely try to be our best.”
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