It’s a new year – is it time for a new job? If the answer is yes, here are 4 tips for branding yourself in an online interview.
Millions of people across the world have interviewed and started new jobs during the pandemic. Those interviews have most likely taken place virtually. Organizations now realize they can hire great people remotely, so even though organizations may not scrap in-person interviews altogether, it’s likely remote interviews are here to stay. So how do you brand yourself through a computer screen during your interviews?
Here are four tips to help you shine through the Zoom box during a virtual interview and ensure your personal brand is clear and strong.
- Start strongly by reinforcing your brand
A common mistake interviewers make is not prepping to ensure their introductory remarks align with the brand established through their resume. If you can nail questions like, “Tell me about yourself and why you’re interested in this role,” while also staying true to your brand, you’ll be off to a strong start and feeling confident.
Remember, introductory questions are meant to be a warm up prior to more-detailed, behavioral questions. Your introduction should provide a high-level overview of your experience, what makes you unique to this job, and the value they create for the prospective employer. This statement gets your audience interested in you while showing them you can be succinct (3-5 minutes), interesting, and relevant.
Follow the three-part outline below to build a crisp summary of your professional experience:
Part 1: Beginning. Start with your personal brand statement. A personal brand statement is a short, 1-3 sentence pitch (1‐3 sentences that communicates your value (what you are the best at), your audience (who you serve), and your promise (what makes you a unique performer).
Part 2: Middle. Expand on your introductory statement by adding three specific examples of how your experience is related to this job. These examples should map to the top three job responsibilities outlined in the position description.
Part 3: The End. Wrap up your intro by including something personal about your interest in the job. Your audience wants insight into who you are as a person, your values, passion(s), and life experiences. Whatever you share needs to be relevant to the job and organization. Think about the following questions:
- How is this role meaningful to you as a person?
- How do you express your values through this job?
- How do the role or the organization’s mission align with your personal interests and passions?
Practice your introductory statement aloud 10 times. At that point, the words should come to you naturally, and you’ll start to notice and focus on the feelings behind the words. This will allow you to speak naturally, with energy, and authentically.
How can you visually represent your personal brand through a computer screen? One way is to pick a background that aligns with your brand while also providing additional information about yourself that may not come up in the interview. Whether it’s a picture of your family or your favorite travel destination, giving interviewers additional insights into who you are provides them with an easy icebreaker and may even identify a common connection with the interviewer that may not have surfaced otherwise.
Another way to present your brand visually is your personal appearance. Clothes, hair, make-up, and accessories ideally should reinforce your personal brand or at least not conflict with it.
To shine through that box, you need to be your confident, authentic self. Pre-interview, take time for stillness by blocking off however much time you need to organize your thoughts and get energized.
During the interview, anxiety and adrenaline often sabotage even the best of preparation. Slow down. Breath. Smile. Confident people tend to take their time when answering questions. If you need a moment to compose your thoughts, say, “That’s a good question. Let me think about that for a second.” Also, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer for clarification.
Interviewers will remember your energy as much as, if not more, than what you said. Even if attributes like confidence, enthusiasm, and authenticity aren’t listed as part of your personal brand, exhibiting those will augment your brand while scoring you major bonus points with your audience.
At the end of the interview, you’ll often be asked if there’s anything else you’d like to add. Take advantage of this opportunity to reinforce your brand by closing with an abbreviated version of your introduction. Repeat your personal brand statement, restate your personal connection to the job, remind them why you are the best candidate for the job, and thank your audience for the opportunity to interview.
Like your introductory statement, practice it as many times as necessary to where it flows easily, naturally, and confidently.
Think of your interview as your time to talk about yourself. When do we truly have a chance to do that, for at least one hour, without guilt? If you see the interview as an opportunity to learn and share while being true to you and your brand, the easier it will be to nail that Zoom interview.