At the best of times, 27% of workers find it difficult to act naturally during an interview, according to a study of 1,000 workers by RADA Business. For some, virtual interviews are even less appealing. Here, RADA graduate Kate Walker Miles, tutor and Client Manager at RADA Business, explains what candidates should do to prepare for a video interview
“Interviews can be an extremely stressful experience for all of us, especially if we struggle to manage our nerves. We need to impress the interviewer and show the best version of ourselves. However, we can become overwhelmed and struggle to communicate well under pressure.
“Many interviews and meetings now need to take place remotely to conform with self-isolation and social distancing guidelines. The pressure is on for business professionals to make the best impression on potential employers over video conferencing platforms. For some of us, this is a new experience. We actors know that everything reads on a screen, meaning your interviewer will be able to pick up on any nerves. To really connect with someone remotely, it’s important to do whatever you can to settle yourself and release tension. If you can think and speak clearly, you will appear more at ease and confident about what you are saying.
“It’s vital to familiarise yourself with the tech before the meeting to avoid last-minute panics. But it is also important to prepare your physical state for a digital interview. Simple techniques can help you to manage your nerves and feel more grounded and confident. Take time to centre yourself before the interview begins. Sit up straight in your chair with your legs uncrossed and feet planted firmly on the floor. Move your head from left to right and then up and down to release your neck. Next, concentrate on your breathing. Breathe out, completely. Take a slow deep breath in, keeping your shoulders down, and imagine sending the breath deep into your belly. Repeat this a few times, making sure that you breathe out for longer than you breathe in.
“It is extremely effective to get into the habit of giving yourself time to breathe and think before asking a question. If you can, practise answering questions in this way with someone before your interview, then ask for their feedback about the length of time you took to give a measured response. The time it takes to breathe and think might feel too long to you, but it almost certainly won’t to the interviewer. Pausing will give you time to find a clear thought and will show that you’re confident enough to consider your answer.” RADA Business, the commercial arm of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, helps business people become better communicators through tailored training programmes and coaching.
Signs of stress
How interview stress affects professionals
*33% find it hard to think clearly
*26% find it hard to speak slowly
*25% struggle to maintain eye contact
*23% find it hard not to panic when they feel tense
*19% find it difficult to pause for breath to enable a message to land
*17% say they struggle not to shake
(source: Thinking On Your Feet, RADA Business)