You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: these are unprecedented and truly crazy times. Video interviews were previously reserved for long distance interviews, but thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, they’re the new norm.
In years to come, we might reminisce to future generations about the old days when we had to put on a pair of pants, and make the trip to somebody’s office if we wanted a job. For now, here are some tips on how to make your video interview a success.
There are 3 areas you need to streamline if you want to make a good virtual impression.
Some popular video call programs are Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. Download the program well ahead of your interview and get comfortable with it. Remember to test your camera and microphone to ensure they work adequately on the day. Call a friend to catch up, and practice.
Make sure that your laptop/phone is fully charged when the interview starts so there’s no chance of an untimely exit.
Ensure your connection is stable because whether you’re using wifi or mobile data, things can get awkward if someone loses signal.
The Main Event
Prepare for a video interview as much as you would for an in-person interview. Dress appropriately, and professionally. You need to look presentable and neat so that you can make a good impression off the bat. Try to wear neutral colours so that the interviewer isn’t distracted by anything.
The same applies to your surroundings. Make sure the space is quiet, and the background for your interview is boring. Your interviewer doesn’t need to see your pile of laundry or your collection of dog posters – they want to focus on you and your answers.
Since all eyes will be on you, make sure you’ve prepared responses to questions they’re likely to ask. Try to think out of the box – instead of “how do you deal with stress?”, expect “how has the Coronavirus pandemic taught you to deal with stress?”.
Speaking of stress, let’s talk about timing. An upside of video interviews is that you don’t have to worry about traffic or travel time. However, this means you have no excuse to be late. Be fully ready 10 minutes before, but only join the meeting 2 or 3 minutes prior to the agreed time. Be prompt and respect people’s time – too early can be just as bad as late.
Always remember to ask your interviewer questions in return. Another upside to having video interviews is that you can have your cheat sheet of questions next to your device – use it to your advantage! If you need inspiration about the types of questions you should be asking, read this blog post.
Good manners through a screen are as important as they are in person! In lieu of a firm handshake, start off with a friendly wave and a “nice to meet you”.
Eye contact is a tricky one. If you watch the display of the other person, your direct eye contact is diverted. But if you look into the camera, you can’t read their body language or facial expressions. To be safe, when you are talking to your interviewer, direct your gaze to the camera so it looks like you are making eye contact while answering their questions. When they are talking, look only at them, and not at yourself.
When they are speaking, mute yourself. Clearing your throat, or even a door closing in the background could be a disruption. To protect yourself from these disruptions, make use of headphones. You’ll also be able to hear the questions clearly, and won’t have to ask for them to be repeated.
The world as we knew it will never be the same. This global pandemic has caused a shift in just about every aspect of life and business, and while there has been a massive move towards technologic independence and savviness, the fundamentals of job interviews have unsurprisingly remained the same.