Your Next Job Interview Might be in the Metaverse

Your Next Job Interview Might be in the Metaverse

The Metaverse is like a new generation of Second Life. It aims to be an entirely virtual world where people can customize their digital avatar, work virtual jobs, and pay in virtual currencies such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. At some point, we may find ourselves working in the Metaverse, too. Should this be the case, it's not unlikely to assume that we will even be interviewed for the jobs within the Metaverse itself. However, an interview in the Metaverse will look and feel far different from traditional job interviews as we know them.

In a traditional job interview, we can meet and interact with others in a physical, tangible space in the real world. We can look at the others in the room — making eye contact, for the most part — and talk to those individuals. Typically, we go to shake their hand upon entering the interview, and we can read the body language of others around us throughout the interview. For example, if the interviewer(s) like what they hear, they will lean closer toward you. If they don't or become frustrated, they will cross their arms or point their feet towards the door, signaling that they want to end the interview and leave the room. Although, in an interview conducted within the digital confines of the Metaverse, we won't be able to read that body language as we're going to be looking at the virtual avatar of a person rather than the actual physical person themselves.

The Role of Body Language Communication in a Virtual World

Body language is so hard to control because we can't do too many things at one time. Our feet are far away from our brains, so when an interviewer's feet point towards the door, we know the person is trying to leave. When their feet point towards the candidate — the interviewee — it signals that the interviewer likes the candidate and what they're saying. In the Metaverse, we're not going to be able to have those key signals of body language.

When we look at the data on how body language comes into play with interpersonal communication, we find what's referred to as the "7-38-55%" rule coined by Dr. Albert Mehrabian in the late 1960s. According to Dr. Mehrabian's research, 55% of communication is what we look like when we say something. The next 38% is what we sound like when we say something, and the final 7% is the actual content of our words. In job interviews conducted inside the Metaverse, we're going to lose that 55% visual communication factor because we won't be able to see what happens naturally. Rather, we're only going to be able to see how somebody's virtual avatar acts, but that avatar will only tell us the person wants us to see—not what they truly look like when communicating with them.

In addition to the factor of body language, candidates also won't be able to gain the same visual cues from objects in an interviewer's physical office, as they are likely going to be interviewed in a space resembling a virtual office. For example, suppose we're in a hiring manager's physical office and see things like stuffed animals or lots of soft blankets. In that case, candidates can assume that the interviewer is a kinesthetic learner who thrives off communication using kinesthetic terms. On the other hand, suppose a candidate looks around that person's office and sees lots of photos. In that case, they can assume that the interviewer or hiring manager is a visually-inclined person who leans on visual terms or cues in their communication with others. If a candidate sees speakers everywhere in a physical office, they might assume the person is more auditory-inclined, signaling that they should say things like, "I hear you," or, "I hear what you're saying."

Interested in learning more about the Metaverse? MP covers many areas of the Metaverse, including business, ethics, legal, and more.

In the Metaverse, we won't be able to capture these aspects of the person we're meeting and speaking with because we're not going to be able to see their physical office, their real environment. As a result, we will be less able to showcase the intricacies of our communication skills and less likely to read off of the interviewer and change the interview that we're in based on the interviewer's body language. Regardless, we'll still know that there is a real person on the other end of their virtual avatar and interviewing space. Suppose we can establish rapport and create a connection between them and us. In that case, we can have a stronger kickstart to that interview and begin building a better relationship with the interviewer. In this case, most things we say to that hiring manager will sound sweeter, and we'll be more likely to eventually be hired.

Now, unless they offer those cues to you by saying things like, "I hear what you're saying (auditory communication), or, "I feel you" (kinesthetic), or, "I see what you mean" (visual), you won't be able to tell how a hiring manager prefers to communicate. If they are less descriptive in their communication, or if you don't feel those cues early on in your conversation, you're simply not going to know. When in doubt while the interviewer is talking, let them talk.

Key Qualities Hiring Managers Need To See

To better understand how job interviews in the Metaverse might work and how to tip the scales in our favor, we also have to talk about what hiring managers want. Overwhelmingly, when you talk to hiring managers, they will tell you they're looking for specific traits.

First and foremost, hiring managers are looking for a candidate that can do the job they're being interviewed for. That means candidates still need to be able to exemplify their technical competencies. For a doctor, that means practicing medicine. For a cloud architect, that means being competent in cloud system design. Whatever the role you're being interviewed for, the hiring manager will need to know that you possess the ability to do the job.

The second thing that hiring managers look for in candidates is someone they can trust. No hiring manager wants to interview candidates who bluffs through their questions or outright lies. I've personally interviewed over 5,000 candidates. Of those, less than 1% did not lie or bluff at some point in the interview. When you bluff or lie during an interview, that interview is effectively over. The third thing hiring managers want is someone who knows what they know and what they don't know. They want candidates who are open-minded to change and growth, which means having the ability to listen, digest information, and produce results from it. No hiring manager wants to onboard a candidate who might make dangerous mistakes for the company.

Lastly, but certainly not least, hiring managers are looking for energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate candidates about the role, the company, and its people. They want to hire people who are excited to do the job, not people who look like they need a nap or who don't want to be there. Hiring managers typically look for energizers, emotionally intelligent people who can enter a room, raise the energy of others in it, and make those others feel positive. They're looking for team players, someone who's willing to go above and beyond when it truly matters.

These are the same qualities that hiring managers will look for in candidates interviewed in the Metaverse. Even though it may be a virtual world, the human on the other end will hire candidates for jobs based upon the qualities they're looking for, so candidates will still need to be able to communicate those qualities. If you can't read the hiring manager or interviewer's body language or other communication cues in the interview, keep your answers concise because you never know when to say too much.

In these environments, but especially in a completely virtual one, you'll need to listen attentively. Listen for keywords the hiring manager drops in conversation because there will be no signals or cues from their body language. Candidates will need to look for any hints that will guide them throughout the interview. Any hint, the manager likes what you're saying, if he can continue talking about it, for instance, shutting it down and going to something else. But even in having to work around the lack of body language, interviewing in the Metaverse will be phenomenal in practice. Candidates will get to talk to people on a deeper, more meaningful level, which will impact hiring managers.

Candidates Will Still Need To Be Prepared for Interviews

To make sure candidates approach job interviews in the Metaverse with as much expertise as possible, they will still have to be well-prepared ahead of time. Like any other job interview, the best way to prepare for one is by conducting a tremendous amount of research on the role, the company it is with, who our managers or supervisors will be, and what they — along with the hiring manager — are looking for in candidates. Perhaps in doing this research, we find out that the hiring manager likes something. We can then interject that into the conversation early on to generate rapport with them. Maybe we learn about the business and their challenges, or the managers' challenges and what initiatives they're looking to implement to solve those challenges and/or what they're trying to achieve. In doing this, we can use our answers to show how we can help that company or help that hiring manager, the company, or its leadership achieve their goals.

To be as best prepared as possible, we need to read any available information about the company we're interviewing with and looking to get hired by. If you're able to find them while researching the company and its people, read their business's financial statements. Read the company's newsletters or other messages. Read their LinkedIn profile and mission statement and create questions around what you find to ask during the interview. Ask what their competitors are doing in the industry and how the company is reacting to that. See what their employees are saying about the company and others in it, and be prepared as to how you will address or answer follow-up questions.

Concluding Remarks

For job interviews conducted within the Metaverse, prepare yourself to establish a connection with the hiring manager and other attendees as early in the interview as possible. Establishing that key connection will be much more difficult without researching the role you've applied for, who will be interviewing you, the company, and who you'll directly be working with (and for). In your responses to questions during the interview, try to use answers that work for multiple personality types because you won't be able to see the person or read their physical body language. Once you know how to navigate communication with hiring managers in the Metaverse (or how to keep your answers short and concise without it) and conduct enough research on the company, go out there and get yourself hired on your first official interview in the Metaverse.

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