Given the impact of COVID-19 and the current need for social distancing, it’s likely your next interview will be a video interview. Make sure you are ready to get in front of the camera by following these video interview tips.
Whether you are an old hand with years of traditional interviewing experience, or this is your first time on the job market, video interviews don't have to be stressful. Yes, there are distinct nuances to understand. However, with some practice and the right mindset, you can put yourself in a position to shine as you would in a face-to-face interview.
To help, Butler Ross have put together some video interviewing tips that will help you advance to the next round.
You will be responsible for finding a quiet location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Specifically, you will need:
- A good and consistent internet connection
- A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and microphone (Desk Top computers don’t typically come with this as standard, but Laptops do). Try to avoid using a tablet or smartphone unless they are the only option.
- Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone (Again most laptops will have the microphone built in)
- A quiet, private and well-lit place where you will not be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that is free from distractions.
- Software – The company interviewing you will advise which software they are using, and most are quick and easy to download, set up and free to use.
Test your equipment
A few days before the interview, do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working correctly and download any software you will need. Check that your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Do a trial run with a friend or family member, if possible, so you have ample time to adjust if any of your equipment or software is malfunctioning. Also make sure you have a username that is professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle.
Charge it up
If you are using a laptop or tablet, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the interview. Pick a spot that has strong Wi-Fi. If you are using a tablet, find a way to keep it stationary. Otherwise, the screen may appear shaky if you are holding the device.
Dress for success
Dress as you would for an in-person interview from head to toe. Doing so will make you feel more confident. Do not try the old trick of wearing a shirt & tie with jogging bottoms assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up. Also, avoid wearing bright, flashy or multi colours and choose something that looks neatly pressed while you are sitting down. Wear your video interview outfit during your trial run so you can get feedback from your friends or family member about how it looks on screen.
Set the stage for a distraction-free video interview
Choose a location that is free from the distractions of children, partners, house mates or pets. Even hang a sign on the door asking package deliverers not to ring the doorbell. Make sure the background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles. Set up lighting that is bright but not glaring, illuminating your face from the front. Natural light is best. Turn off email, text and social media alerts, software updates and other notifications that may show up on the screen during the interview. Turn off programs that might interfere with the webcam, and close all browser tabs.
Be an early bird
Log in five minutes early so you can be calm and ready when the video interview begins. Print out your CV and have it nearby, along with the job description and any speaking points you want to hit or notes you have taken about the company or position. You won’t want to read from the pages but having them handy can take away some stress.
Maintain good eye contact and body language
Over 50% of communication is nonverbal, and another 40% is conveyed through tone of voice; your words amount to less than 10%. It’s easier for your eyes to wander when the person you’re talking to isn’t in the room. Maintain “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen or at your own photo. Make sure your face is centred and try not to move around. Keep good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.
Project and pause
Project your voice. Check your volume controls and speak clearly so the microphone picks up your voice and the interviewer doesn’t have to strain to hear you and remember that digital connections can sometimes be delayed. To avoid talking over the interviewer or having your first few words cut out, let the interviewer finish the question and then pause for a few seconds before delivering your answer.
Close the video interview by sharing your appreciation
Just as you would with any interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and follow up with a post-interview thank-you email within 24 hours. In your email, briefly reinforce why you are interested in the job and why you would be a great match for the role and company. Think about adding something that you and the employer discussed while getting to know each other that will make the email more personal.
If things go wrong
With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case:
Your video or audio stops working
Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.
Noise interrupts the conversation
If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
Someone enters the room unexpectedly
If family members, or pets enter the room while you are interviewing, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.
Video Interviewing like anything takes practice. But used well will be an incredibly effective tool in the future. I hope this helps you along the journey as we all adapt.