It is likely that your next interview could be via skype, zoom or another online tool given the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing need for social distancing. This is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future so how should you prepare for the interview and be ready to face the camera?
Adding to our existing list of face to face interview tips we would also highly recommend these seven video preparation interview pointers that will help you in advance of that important meeting.
1.Test your tools
Do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working a few days before the meeting. Download any apps or plugins you’ll need. Whether you are using Skype, Zoom or any other application requested by the Interviewer, make sure you have a professional username just as you would with your email address or anything that is visible online.
Specifically check the computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Ensure it is fully charged and pick a spot that has strong WIFI, if using a tablet find a way to have it stationary or propped up. Avoid using your phone.
2.Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice a trial run with a friend or family member, if possible, so you have ample time to adjust your equipment or software. Check for eye level, sound- are you loud enough and not too close to the microphone etc
Switch off unnecessary tabs, applications, the TV, all notifications and your mobile phone. They may slow down your connection – and become a distraction – so it is best to keep open only what you absolutely need, e.g. the video interview platform and your CV with notes accessible.
3.Dress to Impress
Dress as you would for an in-person interview from head to toe. Doing so will make you feel more confident. It is not advisable to be smart at the top and scruffy waist down, it is just another distraction and worry that you might show your PJ’s on the call.
Wear something neat that still sits well and pressed when you sit down, avoid very flashy colours and patterns as they can be a distraction and do not always come across on a video as clearly. Wear your video interview outfit during your trial run so you can get feedback from your friend or family member about how it looks on screen.
4.Prepare your location.
Find a quiet place ideally at a dining room table or home desk for the interview. This will ensure that your laptop is sturdy, at the right eye level and will give an air of professionalism and seriousness to the interview.
You are going to look a little too chilled out sat in a low sofa or on the bed! Coffee shops, walking down the street or in the car are not professional places that can give you the focus you and your interviewer will need on the call.
Lock out pets and equally children, have a sitter or friend watching young children or curiosity will get the better of them and your concentration. Put a sign on your doorbell for deliveries not to ring.
Check your background is free from laundry or anything you would rather the interviewer did not see and natural daylight from the front is best.
5. Be a well-prepared early bird
Be prepared and seated 10 minutes early so you are calm and ready to start at the right time. Have your CV, the job description, your notes and your prepared questions printed out. Not so you can read from them but it will take away any stress if you need a prompt.
Maintain eye contact by looking at the camera not at the screen or yourself. Watch your body language, position yourself in the middle of the screen with good posture, feet on the ground and arms on your lap or on the desk.
Keep the interviewers’ contact details handy. You might want to quickly let them know that you face some temporary technical difficulties or that you’d rather reschedule. Don’t leave them waiting, though – drop them a quick email or call them to coordinate.
6. 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.
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.
Ask interviewers to repeat something if you are not sure. You do not want to risk giving a poor answer because you did not hear the question properly.
7. Close the video interview by sharing your appreciation
Thank the interviewer for the opportunity and follow up with a post-interview thank-you note within 24 hours. In your note, briefly reinforce why you’re interested in the job and why you’d 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 thank-you message more personal.
Don’t be harsh on yourself, it can be strange and daunting seeing yourself on the screen and stumbling over words. Focus on presenting your skills and if the role is a good fit for you.