For recruiters, video interviews that occur via Skype or FaceTime are helpful because they are…
Even as companies begin to open their doors once again, employers are continuing to conduct online interviews. In this post-covid landscape, the applicant pool is flooded with unprecedented numbers of highly qualified candidates. With obstacles on all sides, how can you make sure you continue to rise above the competition and land your next job? It starts with nailing your online interview. Here are Surf Search’s top video interview tips:
1. PrepareResearch as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with. Who is the hiring manager? What is the company culture like? Who is the CEO? What is their mission statement? Find out as much as you can and prepare well thought out questions to ask during your interview to signal that you’ve done your research. The beauty of interviewing from your computer is that you have access to more resources during your call. Keep a note or a document open on your desktop with a few helpful hints to refer to during your interview. Research behavioral interview questions that may be asked of you and list bullet point or one word answers that can help trigger your memory of important examples which highlight your skills. List facts about the company or talking points you want to hit in order to sell yourself. Of course this document should not be in lieu of preparation, and you definitely do not want to read from it directly, but having a cheat sheet can help calm your nerves and ensure you market yourself in the best light.
2. LightingSpeaking of light, looking your best is imperative. While the grainy quality of Zoom may be kind to your under eye bags from your all-night-preparation, the wrong type of lighting can accentuate all the wrong angles. Refrain from backlighting, lighting only one side of your face, or unstable lighting. Facing a window with natural light is optimal, but not always feasible. It’s a great idea to invest in a lighting kit, especially as the market is moving to more at-home work. For people in sales or marketing who’s salaries depend on appearances, a lighting kit can pay for itself indefinitely. It’s best to have one stable light right behind your webcam illuminating you head on.
3. Set UpTake the time to carefully consider your set up. Do a test run and check how you will look from your potential employer’s perspective, preferably around the same time of day that you would be conducting your call. Make sure the camera is at eye level and that you are positioned so that you are framed from the center of the chest up. Do not get too close to the camera. Choose a clean background with minimal distractions, you want your skills to be the focus, not the trinkets behind you. When choosing your set up, another crucial point to consider is your environment. Are you in a room close to a busy street or noisy neighbor? Does this room house your dog’s favorite chew toy? Do your kids have easy access? Arm yourself against unforeseen distractions by pets, children or roommates by thinking ahead. Don’t be this man! Losing your train of thought to a barking dog could cost you the job.
4. Body LanguageMany candidates we prep for video interviews ask us “what do I do with my arms?!” The answer to the body language question is simple, just act as you would if you were in the room with your interviewers. If you naturally gesticulate with your hands, you may continue to do so, but don’t minimize your actions to make sure they’re in frame. Your focus should be on your words, not your mannerisms. If you are hyper focused on your body language, you won’t be able to be fully present. When listening, maintain eye contact and signal that you’re paying attention. Interviewers will take note if you act disinterested or distracted, just because you’re not in the same room does not give you permission to tune out! If you are someone who fidgets when nervous or stressed, leave a small toy by your computer to play with out of frame to help you concentrate. Think about what you could need in advance and provide yourself with the tools for success.
5. Dress for SuccessThe impulse to wear sweatpants to your interview may be strong but should be curbed. Dressing professionally as you would to an in-person interview can help you feel more professional, alert and confident during your online interview. And if you accidentally forget to close the door and your dog comes running in, it would be awfully embarrassing to walk out of frame in your pajama bottoms. Avoid wearing bright colors or busy patterns that could be distorted on camera and distracting for the interviewer. While the quality of the video may be grainy, don’t skimp on the primping. Do whatever you need to do to feel and look your best.
6. TroubleshootPrior to your call, do a test run on the same app that your interview will be held on. Schedule a Zoom or Skype call with a friend to test your audio and internet connection. Close down all unnecessary tabs and apps on your computer to optimize your bandwidth. Have headphones with a built-in microphone nearby just in case. If your computer doesn’t have a webcam or microphone, check out your local library for equipment rentals.
7. Send a Thank YouWhether you’re interviewing in person or online, it is always a great idea to thank the hiring manager after. Send an email directly or ask the recruiter you’re working with for their contact information.
The working landscape is changing right beneath our feet, and it can be hard to stay upright. When interviewing online or in person, the best advice we can give is to prepare, know your worth, and be yourself. If you have any questions or need advice prior to your next video interview, please reach out to us at [email protected].