Hot tips for video interviews
Updated: May 2
Globally the restrictions we have all faced due to Covid-19 have been immense, and we are seeing a significant change in the way in which we conduct our professional lives.
With social distancing restrictions in place around the world, many recruiters and hiring managers have now switched to online or video interviews. While the vast majority of questions and conversations are likely to be the same, there are some differences (some obvious and others not so obvious) between interviewing in person versus interviewing online.
In actual fact, video interviews are not as scary as you think! Many a candidate has actually commented that they feel far more comfortable in their home environment than meeting with a prospective employer face to face.
Regardless of how you feel about them, there are a number of factors you need to consider:
Test your internet connection and make sure the interviewer has your mobile number, on the off chance that you need to revert to it. On that note – make sure the device you are using and your mobile phone are fully charged.
Determine what device you will use and how you will use it. If you are using your mobile phone, do not hold it throughout the interview – you should find a way to stand it up so that it remains steady throughout. Also think about the angle – you only need to have watched the news recently to see people being interviewed in their homes and the standout feature is that they are almost all looking down. Not only is it not the most flattering angle, but it also looks unprofessional. Raise your device (sit it on books if you have to) up to eye level.
Prepare your interview space. Make sure you have a neutral and plain background, and you are set up in a well lit and quiet space. Remove any clutter, and keep your family and pets out of the room. There is a significant upside to a virtual interview, and that is you can place any documentation on the desk or table beside you, set yourself cue cards covering off things you want to cover, and have examples written down that demonstrate your ability to do the job. Have a pen and paper at the ready to jot down any questions you think of during the interview. Also make sure you have a glass of water to hand in case you need it.
Dress as if you were going to the interview in person. This will serve to not only provide a good impression but also to put you in the right frame of mind. A note – don’t fall into the trap of only dressing your top half professionally – I’ve seen people have to stand up during an interview for a number of reasons (get a glass of water, check the connection etc) and have seen some questionable sights!
Remember a large percentage of communication is non-verbal. Think about your posture, and show you are engaged by smiling, nodding your head, and responding as required.
Do a test run with a friend so you can see how it all works. Get your friend to provide some feedback on the speed of your connection, the lighting, the background, the angle of the camera etc. This is your chance to get feedback that will allow you to then go into your actual online interview with confidence.
Make sure you have logged off before you start talking to your family, or start moving about. You will likely be very keen to finish, and in that moment, may forget to log off properly. You really don’t want the interviewer hearing your personal thoughts about how you thought the interview went!
Follow up with an email and thank the interviewer for their time. If you are keen on the job, let the interviewer know. If it comes down to a decision between two candidates, I can promise you, the one who has expressed their strong interest in the role will get it.
Finally, remember, this new way of conducting interviews is very likely to be new for the interviewer too, so be patient, and most of all, be kind.