here’s no doubt that video interviews are the future of job interviews. Developing technology has altered how we approach many situations in everyday life; we now prefer to send a text message rather than a letter, research online instead of going to the library, and order groceries online rather than going to the store, we even order taxis online now.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing a new normal, even more services have moved online to make it as easy as possible to stay home and save lives.
So it’s no wonder that 60% of hiring managers and recruiters now choose to conduct a video or phone interview rather than meeting a candidate in-person. It has made the hiring process easier for both the company and the job seeker, saving on gas, time, and travel expenses. It has also opened up opportunities for long-distance candidates to meet virtually with an employer and land their dream job.
While an in-person interview may soon be a thing of the past, it doesn’t make video interviews any easier or less nerve-wracking. So we have compiled some tips and tricks to guarantee that you’ll ace your next job interview.
While in the past you wouldn’t be responsible for the environment in which your job interview was conducted, now you have the control and you need to make sure that your interview environment looks as presentable and professional as you.
Position your laptop close to a good light source, preferably near a window where you can allow natural light to illuminate your face and surroundings. If you don’t have much natural light around, consider getting a ring light or set up lamps around your computer to provide the light. Being well-lit during a video interview will allow your potential employer to see your face clearly as you answer their questions. Make sure the lights are out of view of the camera in order to avoid glare and not take the focus away from you.
When participating in any kind of video chat, you want to show your best angles. Position your webcam at around your eye level and have it far enough back that the interviewer can see your head and shoulders clearly. Position yourself in the centre of the shot to make sure that the focus remains on you and not your background. Which leads us to the next point...
Go to an area of your home that doesn’t have clutter or distracting wall decor. Try to find a wall that doesn’t feature loud wallpaper patterns or obscene posters. If you choose to sit in front of a bookcase to appear more well-read, just be careful of what books are behind you. While having some artwork in frame can bring a pop of colour and make the shot more pleasant, having political or offensive statements, or a photo of your favourite celebrity could come across as unprofessional. A well-lit, neutral background in a subtle, solid colour will give you the impression you want.
This is another factor that we didn’t have to worry about when attending in-person job interviews. The quality of a video interview is really dependent on the equipment you use and how well you use it. Make sure you have a laptop, rather than a phone, ready.
Make sure that your internet connection is strong enough that it can handle a video call that lasts up to an hour. Some wifi connections deteriorate depending on the time of day or number of people using it at the same time. Tell your household members to disconnect for the duration of the video interview, and test out your connection at least a few days before the interview, so that you can call for repairs or find a different location if need be.
External webcams are a good fit for video interviews compared to inbuilt webcams in a laptop. They are easier to maneuver and adjust to find the right angle and position. Just be sure to connect your external webcam before the interview and test that it’s going to stay connected throughout.
While wearing a headset with a microphone may make you feel like you’re piloting an aircraft or appearing in a 1990s music video, it helps to improve the sound quality of your interview. Use a headset that has over-ear headphones and options to adjust the volume, so that you can hear the employer clearly. The microphone in the headset will eliminate background noise from your surroundings and make your voice clearer and easier to hear.
Think of a video interview in the same way you would think of an in-person interview. You need to dress appropriately for the job you are interviewing for, and impress the interviewer with your professional appearance. Whether it’s for a sales position at a used car dealership, or an intern at a tech company, appearance matters when it comes to job interviews.
We can’t stress this enough. Wear pants. Even though it’s tempting to stay comfortable and relaxed on your bottom half during a video chat, you never know what will happen during the interview and you don’t want your potential employer to get an eyeful of your Days of the Week underwear - especially if it’s the wrong day.
Wear the clothes that you deem to be appropriate for the job you are going for. Try to avoid loud prints or overly-bright colours, and take a little time to research which colour and style suits you based on your skin tone and hair colour. It’s all about making the right first impression.
Although it may sound superficial, people look better when they have clear skin. So if you’re having a breakout or you stayed out in the sun too long and now your nose and forehead are burned, dab on a little concealer or foundation to mask the blemishes for the interview. A benefit of a video interview is that the interviewer won’t notice if you have random patches of cover-up on your face - just check on camera before you go live.
Just as you would practice and prepare yourself for an interview in person, you need to do the same for a video interview. Every company has an online presence these days, and so preparing yourself for the interview shouldn’t be a problem.
Look online for information about not only the company with which you are interviewing, but the job description, and comparisons to other companies, too. If this company appears to be offering less money than others for you to perform the same job, you need to find out why and what other things you need to know before you begin working there.
Brainstorm a list of common interview questions that you expect to be asked in your interview, based on previous experience or online research. Think about what questions could be asked that are unique to your potential role, and what the job description said when you applied. It’s handy to have your resume and portfolio printed out and available during your interview to use as a reference as you answer questions. You should also have a few questions prepared to ask your interviewer regarding the company and your role.
Ask a friend or family member to run through a full mock interview with you. Download the app or software that your interview will be conducted with, most video interviews take place over Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. Set up your laptops in different rooms and take some time to smooth out any issues that arise during the mock interview.
Distractions during an interview can be detrimental to the way the interviewer sees you, and to your focus when answering questions. Try to do everything you can to concentrate on the interview and what you’re going to say and do to give the best impression possible.
Turn off your phone or put it on silent so that it doesn’t go off during your interview. If you happen to see a silent notification pop up, try not to look at it or think about what it could be, as this will show on your face and be distracting. You should also close all irrelevant windows or tabs on your laptop before the interview begins, this will not only help your internet connection but will rule out the possibility of you clicking on the wrong tab and throwing the interview off course.
Although being inside with your family and friends is difficult to avoid right now, try to make sure that there are no children screaming or pets howling during the interview. It creates background noise that can be hard to filter out even with the help of a headset. Make sure kids and pets are in another room and occupied. It’s also a good idea to put a note on your front door if you are expecting a delivery or visitor, so they know not to knock or ring the doorbell during the video interview.
If you’ve paid attention to our previous tips, you’ll be positioned near a window for natural light, make sure this window is closed. Closing the window should eliminate outside noises like cars, animals, wind, and people chatting on the street.
While how you dress can be instrumental in giving a good first impression, the way you present yourself during the interview will be the biggest factor that the employer takes into account. It could be the deciding factor between you and another equally qualified and experienced candidate.
Make sure your face appears relaxed, warm, and friendly throughout the interview. Keep a natural smile on your face, without beaming like a child who’s eaten too much sugar. Smiling too much can be off putting to the interviewer.
Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying and make sure your responses match up to what they want to hear. Actively maintain eye contact with the interviewer by looking into the webcam rather than at the screen of your laptop, and show that you are listening by nodding your head.
Try to have good posture and positive body language throughout the video interview. Have a glass of water nearby to sip if you feel nervous or uncomfortable, and try not to tap on your desk, play with your hair, or bite your nails. Although it can be tempting to slouch and fidget because you’re in your own home, remember that this is the first time that your potential employer is meeting you and you want to give the best impression.
Having these tips and tricks in place before and during your video interview should allow you to concentrate on your answers and give the best first impression that you can during this important video call. For more employment tips during a pandemic, check out our How To Get A Job That Will Lead To Success Despite The Coronavirus blog.