This isn’t new information to anyone, but over the last couple of years, we have relied on new kinds of communication. Whether it be to keep in touch with loved ones, your colleagues at work or when job seeking. As we start to see a small light at the end of the tunnel, you may feel like it’s your time to kick start your job search this year. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to get a feel for what interviews are going to be like for a little while longer. It’s one thing to talk to your teammates and family over zoom but can be a completely different feeling to meeting someone new online, especially a potential employer. The key to having a successful job search at this point in time, is communication. Understanding why it’s important and what you can be doing to ensure success.
Why is it important?
Good communication is essential in any business, work relationship and personal relationships. It’s all about understanding where you are in your work and how you can help others as well. Without this crucial communication, things could start to crumble.
The workplace is unrecognisable compared to the beginning of 2020. We are used to online meetings, appointments and so much more. So, it’s obvious as to why the art of communication is now, more important that it ever has been. We need to stay connected and there are certain things that aren’t possible in this current climate, so upskilling and learning has become a very important part of our working day. This is no different to job seeking. We are going to have to learn, develop and train ourselves all over again. (If this is your first job search since the pandemic began)
It’s all about motivation. Things are going to be different to what you remember, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Embrace the technology
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was very common to have a Zoom or Skype call. It was what we knew, and it was easy to use, at work and at home. As time has passed, new technologies and platforms have become available to us like Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts to name a few.
Whether you use these at work or not, it’s a good idea to research them all and give them some attention. Different organisations will use different platforms and you don’t want your interview to be the first time you’ve used it. This can get complicated and will be very clear to the interviewer.
Technical issues can happen and it’s important to communicate this with the employer beforehand. Set up your devices 15-20 minutes before the interview is meant to happen and if any problems arise, you have time to call them and straighten it out. It’s not like a face-to-face interview where if you’re late, you’re late. Understanding that technology can go wrong is the first step to success. Always prepare for the worst and they can either help you along, wait or reschedule. A prime example of why good communication is going to help you.
Upskilling your knowledge
We all know how to talk to one another, and the likelihood is, you’ve been through a typical face-to-face interview before. You know to shake hands, stand straight etc. But times are changing and may continue to change as we embrace hybrid working and other practices. When we think of good communication, you may not think it’s a skill you need to work on, it’s just something that happens right?
The importance of upskilling in communication is very high right now and should not be ignored. It’s important in every walk of life and knowing how to connect and communicate effectively online, is a skill that you may need to improve for your job search.
Good communicators are valuable assets to any organisation and it’s a skill that can easily set you apart from competition when applying for jobs. Employers may look specifically for candidates who possess strong written and verbal communication skills. It’s always a good skill to talk about in an interview, but you need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
What you should do during an interview
The way you communicate during a video call, should be the same as you would in person. The only difference is, you can’t shake their hand, you’re in your own home and sometimes it can be harder to gauge how they’re feeling and reacting from their body language. (Because you can only see their face)
Be clear, concise and focus on the facts – As you always would, focus on answering the questions to the best of your ability. Be as clear as possible and if needed, have your notes with you. It’s all about getting your point across.
Eye contact – Just as you would in a normal interview, keeping eye contact is important. It shows that you are listening to them and actually taking in the information. It’s normal to look away but try to not look around and be unfocused.
Understanding – It can be harder for some people to talk through a computer. If you’re like me, you prefer to see people in person, react to their body language and physically speak to a person. However, they may be in the same position, so show them you are listening, and you are engaged.
Use your resources – During a face-to-face interview, you may not have liked to have your notes with you. But there are advantages to interviewing from home. They can’t see what’s around you. You can use notes but ensure you aren’t reading them straight from the paper. Even online, it’s obvious when you’re reading a script. Especially if you’re constantly looking down.
Things like eye contact and facial expressions are all non-verbal signals. These things can tell the interviewer so much information. This is what you’re going to have to work on.
As much as it is important to work on your online skills, don’t let your people skills dwindle. It can be easy to get caught up in a virtual reality, that we forget about our in-person communication skills. We are currently so orientated to our devices, working on our online skills that some may find it harder to get back to reality. It’s important that we practice good communication in its different forms. You need to be able to take a step back when necessary and engage in person, when the time comes. Now might be the time to learn new communication skills, but it’s no good reason to let go of what we already know. It’s all about balance.