The increased use of virtual recruiting means a major shift away from the face-to-face interactions that students are accustomed to having. In place of face-to-face communications, students may find themselves interacting with employers primarily through “computer-mediated communication.”
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is an umbrella term that encompasses various forms of communication through networked computers (i.e., videoconferencing, phone calls, email messages, etc).
While most students are familiar with the various forms of CMC, this may be the first time that most students have had to rely on it as the primary vehicle for relationship-building. With that in mind, here are some tips to make the most of your recruiting experience using CMC:
- Body language is just as important in CMC as it is in face-to-face interactions. Eye contact is one of the most effective ways to make a good impression another person when speaking to them. However, you may be wondering where to look when on a videoconferencing call since there is no true way to make eye contact. The best place to look is at the video feed of the person on the other end of the conversation. Additionally, try to keep your gaze from wandering elsewhere while you are on a video call. Sit in a quiet area with little distractions around you so you can keep your focus on your CMC interaction.
- Maintaining good posture during a videoconferencing call is as important as ever (possibly even more important). This is because your upper body is usually the only part of you visible when on a video call. When preparing for a video call, test your video feed beforehand and position your camera to familiarize yourself with how you will appear to the other person. When on the call, sit up tall to help demonstrate your confidence and interest in what the other person is saying. Additionally, sitting up straight will naturally project your voice which will make for a better CMC experience.
- You should not be afraid of using your hands while on a video call. Talking with your hands can help you convey your emotions and might help you focus your thoughts better than if you keep your hands still. When you are not using your hands, simply rest them in your lap or on the desk/table in front of you. Most importantly, use care to avoid hand/body motions that could convey that you are closed off, tired, or bored. Avoid crossing your arms, blocking your face, or moving items around off-screen.
- Facial expressions go a long way in videoconferencing calls. You want to appear positive, friendly, and engaged. To achieve this, try to maintain a small smile with gently raised eyebrows. There is no need to force a permanent smile but do smile showing teeth and laugh at genuine moments of humor or pleasure to show the other person that you are enjoying the conversation. To avoid appearing bored, tired, or disinterested, try to suppress a frown, blank stare, or yawn.
- Intentionally practice active listening when videoconferencing. Our brains have the power to process up to 400 words per minute whereas the average person can only speak 125-250 words per minute. This gap between what can be processed and what is being said tends to make it very easy for our minds to wander during videoconference meetings with professionals. If you tend to get distracted during online lectures, videoconferences, or even when watching TV, be mindful of this processing gap in order to keep yourself focused and build the best relationships possible.
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