Even before the onset of COVID-19, the use of video interviews was on the rise. Some will see this as a benefit because it allows more flexibility to conduct an interview, saving them from having to leave work early for that “emergency dentist appointment”. Others might be a little more cautious having never done this before. Some may also feel that they are able to present themselves better in person.
With the world currently in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of video interviews has soared due to companies adopting strict social distancing practices.
In this article, I want to try and help make the whole experience a little less daunting by providing you with some tips.
1. Create an Interview Room
It is very important to ensure you are in a quiet, well-lit space where there isn’t too much background clutter. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your Tiger King mural in the background.
I would highly suggest doing a sweep of the area for any embarrassing or offensive belongings. I was always told never to air my dirty laundry and this saying could not be truer here.
Another thing I would recommend is ensuring that you don’t blend into the background. I have done video calls for work before where I was wearing a white shirt with a white background. This made me look washed out. Try to stand out without going over the top.
2. Set-up for Success
Once you have picked the location, ensure that you are able to plug in the computer’s charger so that you don’t run out of battery halfway through the interview. Also, make sure you have access to wi-fi to ensure stability in your connection throughout the interview. Most phones and tablets allow you to host video calls too. If you are using one of these, make sure it is well-positioned and stable.
3. Research the Format
There are many different platforms being used these days to conduct video interviews such as Zoom, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, to name a few. My big tip would be to ensure you know which format you are using and test it with either a family member or friend prior to your interview. This way, you can make sure your camera and microphone work. Also, by doing this, you will become more familiar with the layout and the features of the platform limiting the risk of you spending the first 5 minutes of the interview with a silly filter on.
4. Dress Appropriately
This is still an interview where first impressions count! Dress for success and put on the same outfit you would if you were interviewing in person. I am sure we have all been on work Zoom calls where we look professional on top but are wearing our sweats and slippers. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap; it is a mindset. Go into the interview looking your best and giving your best!
5. Take Notes
One of the big benefits of doing a video interview is that you can have your notes on the company and the role next to you. This will help when discussing topics such as the company’s Q3 financial reports with the interviewer.
My suggestion would be to have the job description in front of you so that you can refer back to the responsibilities and highlight your experience that relates to these points. It may also be a good idea to have their website in front of you, just in case you need some information to hand.
Remember, if you are on your cell phone, visiting websites may cause the video to pause so be careful.
6. Build Rapport
Remember, they can still see you so, body language is very important. Make sure you aren’t slouching on your sofa, instead; you are sitting up straight and being attentive. Just like if you were in a normal interview, smile when you meet them and smile and nod in agreement with the interviewer’s points as well. Also, make sure you are talking slowly and clearly as the video can sometimes disrupt the audio.
To avoid looking like you are half asleep, I would highly suggest you try to look at the camera rather than the screen. This will ensure you are giving solid eye contact and appear as engaged as possible.
To summarize, try not to overthink it and make the experience as natural as it would be in a physical face-to-face interview. We don’t know when we will facilitate those again so, sharpening up on these skills will help increase your success rate. In the meantime, be prepared, be professional and of course, be yourself.