Video interviews are fast becoming more common; even as the pandemic begins to decline, many changes, including remote communication, are likely to remain for many companies. Easy access to video technology platforms, as well as time and cost savings, mean that they are an effective way of managing the interview process, at least at the early stages.
Having the interview online also allows for the hiring manager to watch back the recording and can be something that is used to filter down volumes of applications at the beginning stages. With that in mind, it’s important to get the format and content of your video interview right to stand out from the crowd in the right way.
But virtual meetings and interviews pose their own problems and many people are not as comfortable with this form of communication. So, here are a few things to bear in mind when setting up and going through to help you make the all important good remote first impression.
If you haven’t already conducted a video interview, then you should prepare yourself, as you usually would, for an in-person interview.
1) Test your technology
Before your interview, make sure that you do a test run. Check the format of the interview with your contact (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts etc), download any new applications that are needed and set them up on your computer. You’ll also need to make sure that you have a professional picture and your full name as the contact details for your video profile.
You then have time to test run them with a friend or family member to make sure you know how to use them and have time to adjust if required. Be sure to check that your microphone, camera, speakers and internet connection are all working correctly so there are no communication issues during the interview.
On the day, be in a space where you have a reliable internet connection and that your laptop is fully charged and on a stable flat surface – nothing ruins a first-round interview more than your call crashing halfway through or the camera shaking throughout. Turn everything on half an hour before the meeting and plug in your device so it definitely won’t to run out.
Sometimes though, things just don’t work, so for a back-up ensure that your contact has your phone number so they can reach you if you have tech difficulties. Ultimately, if you find that you are having problems such as the connection then make sure that you tell your interviewer rather than struggling through which will likely cause unexplained distractions your side and could be easily fixed if it’s something their end causing the problems.
2) Set the stage
Choose a location for your interview in a space with good natural lighting and a plain background. Make sure that your environment is free from clutter, allowing your interviewer to focus purely on you during the call.
Your space should also be free from distractions and inform family members or housemates on when your interview is taking place so you won’t be interrupted. Also try to avoid interviewing in a public space as you could encounter more technical problems and disruptions.
3) Dress to impress
Even though you are not going into their office, dress as you would for an in-person interview. Read up on the prospective employer’s typical professional attire as some will be more formal than others and dress to reflect that; a good rule of thumb is one up from what’s expected. Even tough not all of you will be on camera, it can also help to wear the full attire down to some smart shoes as it can make you feel more confident.
Avoid heavily patterned outfits or stripes though as these can distort on the camera; solid colours work best for the video setting. Also try and wear something that doesn’t crease when you are sitting down which will all help reflect well, showing that you’ve made a professional effort for the interview.
4) Do your research
As you would for a normal interview, make sure to do your research before the interview. Even though you’re not going into their office, the company you are applying for still will expect you to know about their company and the role that you are applying for. Therefore, understand their business, who they are, what they do, and what their company values are. This will give you an excellent base to work with. Clearly read the brief from your recruiter and ask any questions before the interview that may help give you a better understanding of the job specification.
Also, have a good understanding of your CV before the interview, ensuring that you can answer standard job interview questions and give practical examples from your CV. Notes will help and you can have them off-screen, but the temptation will be to keep looking down, so make sure that you are well practised and only look at the notebook when you need to.
5) Maintain good body language
Maintain a good posture and body language throughout the video interview. Sit up straight, don’t slouch and hold yourself as you would as if you were sitting in front of them. It is also essential to keep your interviewer engaged; it’s harder to build rapport from across a video so continue to maintain eye contact and answer the question while looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen. This will help you built a stronger connection with your interviewer. You should also focus on your projection, try and project your voice clear and conscience without screaming or whispering into the computer. By holding a steady tone, you’ll come across as confident and professional.
Finally, when you are finishing the video-interview, thank your interviewer for their time, ask them any questions that you may have and show interest that you are looking forward to hearing back from them. When you close, make sure that the video-interview is finished before you end the call and that connection has stopped before your sigh of relief!
Freshminds, use video interview software on a day-to-day basis and, in the current climate, you’ll often find that many of our initial calls our conducted this way. We are happy to provide advice and feedback before sending you off to video-calls with our clients so please feel free to ask your Freshminds contact.