There is no doubt that the Covid pandemic has changed the way we live and work, and whether or not you’re a fan of working from home, virtual communication and collaboration are here to stay. As a job seeker, this means that there is a good chance your next interview will be virtual. If this worries you, you are not alone. Although digital platforms have come a long way, nothing beats face-to-face communication when it comes to establishing genuine connections, and sometimes that can be what gives you the edge over other applicants. Much like an in-person interview, however, it’s all about being mentally prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind for your next video interview.
It’s all About Preparation
Remember, at the core, it is just your regular, run-of-the-mill interview. Preparation is key, so do your research. What does the company do? What position are you applying for, and what are the typical roles and responsibilities associated with it? If you have the name of the interviewer, see if you can pull up their profile on Google or LinkedIn so that you have an idea and a picture of who you’ll be talking to beforehand. This will help you to keep the conversation flowing, and a familiar face can take the edge off the not-quite-familiar mode of communication.
Always, Always do your Research
We can’t stress this point enough! Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into, and if the job is a good fit for you. A common mistake job seekers make is to take whatever they can find, without knowing what it entails. Knowing as much as possible about the company and the position beforehand will enable you to ask insightful questions at the end of your interview, thereby showing the interviewer that you are a serious candidate and allowing you to clarify any doubts you may have about working there.
Set the Stage
Keep in mind that you are the star of the show, so frame yourself accordingly. Some simple guidelines to follow:
Your camera should be placed 4–6 feet away.
Your head and shoulders should be in the shot.
Choose a background that doesn’t distract. Plain and neutral-coloured walls work best.
To minimize echoes, avoid rooms with a lot of glass and do not sit facing a window.
Choose a room — or even a closet if that’s what it takes! — where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Nothing can be more detrimental to an interview than a noisy environment and multiple distractions.
For the best angle on you, try to have your camera lens at eye level. Prop your laptop up with books if necessary
Make Sure your Technology Works
Give yourself ample time before an interview to make sure that your equipment is working properly. Nothing ruins a first impression like being late to an interview, and the same applies to a virtual one. Make sure you’re familiar with the video platform your interviewer is using, and have it downloaded and running in advance. Set up your microphone and camera, and if possible, have a friend run a test session with you to see if you are coming through clearly. Video conferences take up a lot of bandwidth, so if you have the option, use an ethernet cable for a wired connection, particularly if your Wi-fi has a history of being spotty.
Pay Attention to your Speech
Video technology has come a long way, especially so in the last few years. However, lag times and delayed audio are still very common, and not every location has the best connectivity. Take your time when answering your interviewer and enunciate your words. The interviewer will appreciate the effort you’re making to be as clear and as understandable as possible.
It’s All in your mind
If you are still feeling daunted by the idea of a video interview and worried that you’ll come across as awkward and flat (pun intended), try a different mental approach. Instead of approaching the interview as an infomercial to broadcast your capabilities, think of it as an honest conversation about your skills and what you can offer the company. Instead of feeling scrutinized through the unforgiving lens, remember that there is a person on the other side of the camera who is also looking for a genuine connection, and you could be the answer.
Above all, try to be yourself. Video interviews are likely here to stay, especially so if the work you are applying for can be done remotely. So get comfortable with your webcam and remember that it is simply a means to an end. The rules are no different from that of a physical interview. You have something to offer, so smile, be confident and don’t overthink it. Take the failures as learning experiences and opportunities for practice, and move on to the next one. You’ll soon get the hang of it! Good Luck!