“I still remember my first video interview, back in the day. It took me a good 15 minutes to feel comfortable with the screen and the camera. And I was the HR Manager! I perfectly understand candidates being uneasy or conscious. But preparation is half the work. Don’t show up for a video interview and dive in. Prepare and get ready.”
Accelerator or not – Video Interviews are here to stay
As with many things, COVID-19 acts as an accelerator. One of the things it accelerates, is the adoption of video as a normal step in companies’ recruitment processes. More and more, companies use this handy, effective and efficient tool to conduct face-to-face interviews. As they should! Why waste time and money, when technology can get the job done, and in some cases, even better?
But even though it is getting more and more normal, that doesn’t mean that it is normal for everybody. You still need to prepare for it, as with any job interview. Because it is technology, you also need to prepare for things you normally don’t have to think about. Doing this ahead of time will ensure you can focus on your interview, and nail the answers. Join us as we dive into the top 5 tips for successful video interviews.
1. Location, location, location
- If you are invited to conduct a video interview at the prospected employer, it is a little bit easier. As a rule, technology will be in place, and you will have support from IT, office management or HR, helping you navigate this. Prepare for the interview as if it were a normal interview. Follow the advice in 3, 4 and 5 for success.
- When you dial in remotely, you will have to find a good location to dial in from. Look for a good spot at home, or when you don’t have this, with friends of family.
- Some of the well-known working spaces and libraries allow for renting offices or rooms.
- Try and avoid coffee shops and communal co-working spaces: you can’t control who comes in, the music and other background noises. If you can hear background noise, trust me, your meeting partner will, too.
- Make sure the room is well-lit, and the light comes from the front. If you point the camera to a light source, be it a light or a window, you will appear in the shade.
- Area 2 of our top 5 tips for successfully conducting video interviews: Take time well in advance to make sure you are ready for the interview. These are the things you should prepare, clear and address well ahead of time, because, typically, you can’t solve them minutes before, or even in the interview.
- Make sure your computer or phone is charged.
- Check your computer or phone have a webcam, and the sound and mic work.
- Have your headphones ready and close by. If you use wireless headphones, charge the battery. Also: AirPods may not carry you through the entire phone call. Have an alternative standing by.
- Upload, upgrade necessary software of your computer. Test the web version of tools, and ensure you have what it needs, updated and all, for your interview. Avoid “downloading update 2 from 10” situations just before you call.
- Print your resume.
- Make sure you have a phone number in case the video cuts out permanently.
3. Counting Down
- Ok, you are getting ready for the interview itself. You have to do a few last things to make sure you are ready.
- Sort out nature’s calls. Make sure you won’t have, let’s say, a need during the interview. Grab a water in case your mouth goes dry. No food.
- Dress appropriately. It is an interview, and showing you care about your appearance is appreciated in nearly all cases. Light or bright colors are key.
- Let others in your house or location know you need quiet time. Place a sign on your door, if needed.
- Be ready at least 15 minutes before the interview, fire up your laptop or phone and log or dial in. Make sure all is ready and humming.
- Have your resume, a pen (and a back-up) and a notepad ready. Clean up your desk. Check the background: what can the interview see? Get rid of posters, banners and other things that distract.
- Close browser windows in your computer. Silence bings and pings, bells and notifications. They distract, and you run the risk of looking at them instead of focusing on the interviewer.
- Put your phone on silent, and move it away from you, face-down. If you really need it there, keep it out of the interviewer’s sight. If you have a smartwatch, silence that, too.
- The interview is an interview like others. Have your story ready, have questions prepared and listen well. Be concise and to-the-point.
- Look at the webcam and not the screen. Looking at the webcam means that the interview will see you looking directly in their eyes.
- Use hand gestures where it makes sense, but don’t overdo it. Nod and smile to show engagement.
- Keep making notes short and sweet, avoid the interviewer looking at the top of your head for lengths of time.
- Don’t Look At Your Phone.
5. Contingency Planning
- No matter how good the technology, you run the risk for things going wrong. Our final area in our tips for successful video interviews, here’s what to think about if things go south:
- Don’t panic. If things go wrong, it is equally annoying for the interviewer as it is for you. Remain calm, explain what you’re going to do, and diligently try and fix from your end. Show your resilience and ability to work through difficult situations. Don’t get upset, and don’t yell or cuss.
- In case your video cuts out and you can’t reconnect, call the interviewer and conduct by phone, if that’s something they prefer.
- If there is sudden noise, explain, apologize and mute the microphone for as long as the noise lasts.
- Someone enters the room: again, apologize and cut the sound, and video if needed, and deal with the interruption. Make sure you’re good to go before you continue, and proceed.
- At no point, lose it: keep your calm and show you can deal with unexpected situations. Everybody understands is tough when things like this happen, but you can actually turn it into a positive if you keep your cool.