Job interviews have always been nerve-racking. And just when you thought it wouldn’t get any more difficult, the 2020 global pandemic happened.
Given the impact of COVID-19 plus the current calls for social distancing, chances are that your next interview could be a video interview. Aside from the pressure of landing a job amid an economic crisis, you’re also likely to worry about potential technological pitfalls of a video call.
It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed during a job interview over video chat, especially if it’s your first time. However, don’t allow your nerves to take over your chances of getting hired.
We hope the following video interview tips can help.
1. Test your tech beforehand
Do a technical run a few days before your actual interview to see how your equipment and your internet connection work. Ask the HR solutions personnel or your interview ahead of time about the platform you’ll be using for the interview. Install any apps you’ll need, like Zoom or Skype. Make sure you have a professional username too.
Do a trial run with a friend or distant family member, so you’ll have more time to adjust if any of your devices or software is not functioning well. Check your equipment’s camera, test the microphone, check the volume controls, and make sure the internet connection is stable. You should ensure good lighting, angle, and background.
If you’re using a computer or laptop, make sure your charger can be plugged in and used from where you plan to sit.
2. Set the stage for a quiet and distraction-free interview
Where do you plan to sit? Does the background look cluttered or distracting? Does the area tend to be busy?
Make sure your interview spot is quiet and the background is free from clutter. A blank wall is ideal if you don’t have an office-like setting. Set up lighting that’s bright, but not glaring, like natural light.
You should also alert your household about your interview so they won’t be noisy or mindlessly walking around behind you. Also, turn off email and social media alerts and other notifications that may show up on the screen in the middle of the interview.
3. Prepare for potential technical issues
It’s a must to have a plan B just in case your initial plan did not work. For example, if your Wi-Fi doesn’t work on the day itself, be prepared to use mobile data or hotspot in case of an outage.
4. Dress well from head to toe
Dress as you would for an in-person interview. It’s not just for the eyes of your interviewer – doing so will make you feel more confident and professional.
It’s also important NOT to overdress. Unless you’re applying for a corporate job (which requires a formal suit), you can ditch the formality and go for a modest, smart-casual look. Think of a button-down shirt and a nice blazer. And yes, wear a decent pair of pants or a skirt. You don’t know when you’ll unexpectedly have to stand up.
Avoid wearing bright, flashy colors and stick to classics and neutrals, like navy, black, white, gray, and beige. You should opt for solid colors and avoid stripes or prints, which can create a distractIng moiré pattern over video.
5. Be early and well-prepared
Log in 5-10 minutes early so you can be calm when the video interview begins. It’s also nice to have your printed resume nearby along with the job description.
To alleviate stress, you may prepare any notes or cue cards with any speaking points you want to hit or notes you’ve taken about the company or position. Just make sure to avoid reading from the pages and make everything look as spontaneous as possible.
Expect to encounter these common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Why did you leave your previous job/ why are you leaving your current job?
- What are your strengths? How about your weaknesses?
- What’s your expected salary?
6. Sell yourself
We’re not only talking about grooming. You should also practice how you deliver your responses so you can have the best representation of yourself as possible.
- Make “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera, and not the screen.
- Your face must be centered.
- Use a good posture you’d use during an in-person interview. Practice “active listening”. Sit with your back straight, feet on the ground, and arms resting on your lap or desk.
- Avoid moving around and making a lot of distracting hand gestures.
- Project your voice. Speak clearly so the microphone can pick up your voice.
- You need to be 30% more energetic than your normal persona on video. Be ready to nod, smile, and act as if this is the most enthralling conversation you’ve ever had.
- Remember that digital connections might be delayed. To avoid talking over the interviewer or missing a few first words, let the interviewer finish the question then pause for a few seconds before answering.
7. Know what the employers are looking for
Okay, so let’s say things are running smoothly concerning technical aspects. The question is, will you be able to provide what the employers are looking for? Do you know what employers want to see when they review videos from their candidates?
The key is to answer the questions asked – not the questions you initially thought they’d ask. Yes, you may have prepared an interesting pitch about yourself beforehand but you should first make sure you’re able to provide the answers they’re looking for. Longer answers don’t necessarily mean better if you weren’t able to hit the nail. Make sure your answers are spot on and projected effectively.
They’re also looking for a bit of creativity, like relating an experience that demonstrates how you can perform the job at hand.
Good luck! You’ve got this!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a creative writer for HR Dept Australia, a provider of affordable and pragmatic HR services and employment law advice in Australia. Writing about helpful career management solutions for both employees and employers is her cup of tea.