Camera, lights, action! Prepare for the ultimate video interview.
This is the sixth and final article in a series for young people aged 18-24 starting their careers after leaving full time education. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
Video conferencing became one of the most stand-out life changes during the Coronavirus pandemic. Dogs, cats, babies, demanding toddlers all got in on the act. It was our only way to communicate with our loved ones and the wider outside world.
In business, a hybrid approach to in-person and video meetings is now inevitable. Companies have come to understand the cost and practical benefits of using video in many areas of their business, with job interviews near the top of the list. As a screening tool ahead of the recruitment stages that follow, video offers a time-saving practical solution to employers. It also saves candidates travel time and the knee-wobbling wait outside an office.
An easy mistake for a candidate to make, is to assume that they should prepare for a video interview in much the same way as for an in-person interview. By the end of this article you will realise that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s look at the things you need to consider…
You’re on mute!
How many times have we heard that one over the last year or so? Technology can cause all manner of problems, so prior to any video interview you must make sure that all your technology is working.
- Log in to your PC or laptop well in advance of your interview time to be sure the gods haven’t conspired against you and started an ‘essential’ update.
- Make sure you have downloaded the video conferencing software and you know how to use it.
- Position your camera so that it is easy for you to look directly into it when speaking. You can usually view what the interviewer can see using the software settings.
- Test your microphone and that the software uses it successfully.
Check your environment
A professional environment is essential for the success of a video interview.
- A tidy room represents a tidy mind. Make sure that anything that can be seen around you is tidy and doesn’t say anything about you that might concern an employer (‘thought provoking’ literature, posters, dodgy ornaments etc).
- Make sure that the light is behind your camera and not behind your head. The halo look fools no-one. It can be very distracting and present you as a silhouette which isn’t great when you’re trying to impress and engage with a recruiter.
- You should be in a quiet environment with no interruptions. If you are concerned that something may happen during the interview, declare it at the beginning so that the interviewer is forewarned.
- If something does happen, don’t get flustered. Apologise calmly, deal with the issue and return to the interview in one piece.
Present yourself professionally
This may be your only chance to make a good impression, so don’t assume you don’t need to make as much effort with your appearance just because you’re not in the same room.
- Dress as though you are attending a face-to-face interview. That includes the bottom half! If you have jogging bottoms on it will make you feel less professional, which will affect your body language.
- Look at the camera rather than the interviewer’s image on the screen when answering questions. The opportunity to engage with them is more limited on video so looking straight at them will help build rapport.
- Treat the discussion as a formal meeting, regardless of whether you’re told it’s just ‘a chat’.
- Sit up straight, don’t slouch! A casual approach will not go down well. How you present yourself reflects your approach to work.
- Smile and be friendly. You need to show that you are approachable and easy to work with.
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