Prepare for a Video Call Interview
With COVID restrictions affecting our ability to travel for work, many of you will be facing a scenario in which you're asked to conduct interviews via video call instead of face to face.
But for many of us, the thought of interviewing via Skype or Zoom remains just as daunting prospect as being physically in the room. To help calm your nerves and enhance your video interview toolkit, we'll walk you through the types of video interviews, offer advice on what to wear, and provide tips on important aspects such as body language and eye contact.
First up, it's worth running through a checklist of things you'll need to ensure things run smoothly.
What you'll need for the video interview
- An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second.
- A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option.
- Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.
- A quiet, private, and well-lit place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets, or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions. Avoid communal spaces.
Live vs. pre-recorded video interviews
Some interviews will be live. Once connected, you’ll be able to see and speak with an interviewer on the other end.
Make sure your user name is professional if you’re using a personal Skype, Zoom, or Google account.
Some clients use dedicated interview platform software. In this format, the employer will give you instructions on how to join the interview. You will be prompted to answer questions and the recording will then be sent to the employer at the end of the question series.
Make sure that you’ve closed other apps or windows on your computer that could interrupt the conversation or slow the internet connection. Set your phone to silent before you begin the conference.
What to wear for the video interview
You should dress as professionally as you would for a face-to-face interview.
Bright colours, especially reds, yellow, orange, and pink don't look good on video. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from your lenses.
Positioning your camera and adjusting your body language
Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and central on the screen. Eye contact is very important during an in-person interview, so you want to convey that same level of connection during a video interview. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen.
Throughout the interview, keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism with your body language.
In many ways, your body language should mimic a face-to-face interview: When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you’re giving them your full attention.
Practice makes perfect, so run through a rehearsal of the process to help you get used to the technology and the body language of a video interview.
- Ensure that you won’t be interrupted
- Clear the desk space, except for a notepad and pen/pencil for you to take notes
- Have a copy of your CV/resume and any other notes ready for you to reference
- Set out a glass or bottle of water for yourself
- Check that your webcam is working
- Check that your computer audio is working
- Close any windows, tabs, or applications on your computer that you’re not using
- Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background
- Set your phone to silent
- Check that the background behind you is neutral and free from clutter
- Adjust the lighting in the room to maximise visibility
What to do if things go wrong
Despite our best intentions, life doesn't always go to plan. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case things go awry during the interview.
Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. This will give you a trusty plan B if your video or audio stops working.
If noises interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided.
If someone enters the room unexpectedly, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone, and turn off your camera. Then step away to swiftly deal with the interruption.
Finally, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time.
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