In the current environment, the majority of interviews are now still via video. Previously you had to do the normal interview preparation and work out what to wear. Now a layer of complexity in terms of technology. Here are some of our best tips to put your best foot (or should we say head and shoulders) forward:
1. Get familiar with the platform
Each platform has its own nuances. Spend some time understanding what setting are available that you can use to enhance how you come across visually. For example, Zoom offers the ability to ‘touch up your appearance’ in the settings (an instant facelift without the pain or cost). Most platforms allow you to blur your background, removing potential distractions for your interviewer (like a funky piece of wall art or a basket of laundry).
2. Find the best location at home to conduct the interview
Ideally a backdrop of plain space is the best. The location should be quiet and free from potential disruptions with a door you can close to keep children, pets and spouses at bay. Get rid of any clutter or potentially polarising items (e.g. a distracting ornament or display).
3. Set-up of your camera
Test your set-up before the interview (ideally with someone on the other end). You need to be able to look straight into the camera (to make eye contact) and show a classic head and shoulders shot. Lighting above is best and where possible a warm globe. Don’t sit in front or behind a window (the glare can make you look like a silhouette). If you wear glasses, check there is no reflection.
4. Test your technology
How is your internet speed? Should be at least 1 megabit per second. There are loads of sites you can use to test it this like this one https://fast.com. Disconnecting other devices from Wi-Fi can help the speed.
5. Turn off any notifications on your devices
Of course, we know to shut our mobiles off in a face to face interview. In a video interview you are probably surrounded by other devices that can beep, call and remind……you need to shut them off too.
6. The greeting
When we meet face to face we are told to give a firm handshake. In a video interview, that’s not possible. A simple lifting of your hand as a greeting is acceptable (Some candidates even lead with “Normally I would firmly shake your hand, but today a wave will have to do”).
7. Building rapport
A video interview can feel less warm than face to face. Body language is hard to read when you see so little of the interviewers’ body and you are looking at a camera, not a face. Practice smiling at yourself. Place arms on desk, leaning slightly forward so show engagement and interest. Minimise waving your hands about.
8. Taking notes
If you do want to take notes during the interview (particularly to get ready for questions at the end), ask permission up front so the audience is not left wondering why you are looking down.
9. Dress from the waist down
If for whatever reason you need to get up during the interview, you don’t want the interviewer to catch you in your PJ bottoms and Uggies. Dressing fully also puts you in a professional frame of mind.=
10. Panel interviews are even harder than they were
Working out where to look when you have images of 3 other people scattered on your screen can be a challenge. Remember to keep looking straight at the camera (each panel member sees you looking directly at them).
Hopefully these tips help a little, but at the end of the day resort to the good old saying “Failure to prepare = prepare to fail” Practice, practice, practice.