Do you have a video job interview? Practicing, preparing and keeping calm will help, writes Travis O’Rourke of Hays.
Video interviews require just as much preparation as face-to-face or over the phone interviews, if not more. Due to the added technological element, the risk of something going wrong is increased, so it’s important to do everything you can ahead of time to make sure your interview runs smoothly.
These 12 tips will help you ensure that you aren’t caught off guard by technical issues and that your ability as a candidate shines through.
1. Prepare correctly for your video interview
First of all, think about where you are going to have your video interview. Will this be your home office? Your room? Your kitchen? Once you’ve decided on the most appropriate room, think about what the interviewer will see in the frame when they look behind you.
Keep your background scene as bright as possible, as pictures on the wall or other objects may distract the interviewer and their attention should be firmly on you. Also make sure your surroundings are tidy and the lighting is good.
Once you’ve set up your “ interview room, ” make sure you don’t risk family, friends, or even pets who come in during the interview. Let them know ahead of time that you have an interview, then close the door to avoid the noise.
2. Test the technology in advance
The day before your video interview, it’s always a good idea to take a test. Arrange a test call with a family member or friend. This will ensure that you feel confident using the technology and that the camera and microphone are both working. Go through a few interview questions and answers, and ask the family member or friend for specific comments.
3. Practice aloud and record yourself
Video recording of yourself speaking out loud about your interview answers is a great way to check for any points you might need to correct before the interview itself, such as looking down too much. , poor body language, speaking too softly, or speaking too quickly.
It also gives you one last chance to test your call settings, room lighting, and body language. You don’t want to suddenly become aware of these issues during the interview itself and risk appearing unprepared and unprofessional as a result.
4. Make sure your account is professional
The first thing your interviewer will see is your profile picture and your account username, so make sure both present you in a professional light. If you already have a personal account on the platform, consider creating a separate account that you can use specifically for interviews. You can even create a username associated with your profession, for example, “JohnSmithFinance”.
5. Have notes handy
Before the interview, print your CV and prepare questions to ask at the end. Prepare individual points to set aside to use as springboards for conversation or prompts. This will help limit the risk of being tempted to look down and just read your CV, thus avoiding making eye contact with the interviewer.
6. Arrive early
You wouldn’t show up for a face-to-face interview seconds before it starts, and the same goes for Skype or other types of video calls. Make sure you start the program and have everything in place at least 10 minutes before the interview start time.
This will ensure that you are ready and waiting when the interviewer logs in. The last thing you want to do is make the interviewer wait and risk being seen as unorganized and unable to manage your time.
7. Dress appropriately
Even if you take the video interview from the comfort of your own home, you should still dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to dress as professionally as possible.
Also know what clothes will be in the frame. For example, if you decide to wear sweatpants and a shirt, you may regret it if you have to get up!
8. Keep an eye on your body language
During your video interview, make sure you are looking directly into the webcam when speaking and not at the screen; this will help maintain eye contact as if you were in the room. Maintaining eye contact will show the interviewer that you care and help you build rapport, making the conversation more natural.
Also, remember to sit up straight and smile to show the interviewer that you are a confident communicator and that you are engaged in the interview process.
9. Listen actively
Remember you are in a conversation, so you need to show commitment when the interviewer speaks by nodding and agreeing. If you’re not used to video interviews, having to look through a webcam and a small Skype window may seem awkward at first.
So you have to be careful not to come across as too static and contrived in turn. Use hand gestures and animate your face and body the same way you would in a face-to-face conversation.
10. Prepare for possible time lags
During the video interview, you may experience a delay or lag between the interviewer and you hear their words. If this happens, make sure you don’t speak over your interviewer and avoid speaking in long blocks. It will help the conversation feel more natural.
11. Stay calm if things go wrong
Despite all the preparation, practice, and precautions you might take for your next video interview, technology can still find a way to throw a wrench in the works. For example, you may have problems with your internet connection, or your microphone may start to work.
It is important in these situations to remain calm. The way you react when things don’t go as planned here can reveal to your employer your ability to calmly and proactively approach difficult situations.
12. Follow-up after
This last step is no less important than after an in-person interview. After the interview, send a quick email through your recruiter to let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and learning more about the role and the company. Conclude the email by saying that you can’t wait to hear them and build your interest in the job.
Through Travis O’Rourke
Travis O’Rourke is President of Hays Canada. A version of this article has already been published on the Hays Viewpoint Blog.