No matter your thoughts on the long-term sustainability of the ‘Work from Home’ movement, the fact remains that there has never been a time where remote employment was as widely accepted and implemented than today. This shift in workplace mentality has seen its share of pros and cons and it’s safe to say that many of them were not immediately foreseeable. One of the negative consequences of widespread remote work has been the difficulty that some experience when interviewing for a job over video conferencing software. Here are some tips for succeeding in video interviews.
Become a Muse for the Camera
Many people find video interviews to be an additional stressor during an already stressful event, because they don’t know how to present themselves. Video interviews remove the human, in-person element from this interaction and it makes conveying your natural charisma to your interviewer more difficult. How can you make the Real You shine through when you are dozens, even hundreds, of miles away from the person you need to wow?
One thing to keep in mind is that, while you may not be physically near your interviewer, there are many ways that you can give a positive (or negative) impression, simply by how you present yourself during the video conference. There are many things a good hiring manager or recruiter will look for when conducting a virtual interview:
This is a job interview and the fact that you aren’t there to shake the interviewer’s hand doesn’t mean it’s Pajama Day. Wear business casual wear at the very least and dress completely. Wearing a button-down shirt with sweatpants won’t put you in the right frame of mind to ace an interview. You wouldn’t wear that to work, so don’t wear it to your interview.
Make yourself the star of the show.
You may not be Steven Spielberg but making a good first impression is a powerful method to take charge of the conversation and project confidence. And that means to look the part. Make sure that you are positioned in the center of your frame and that you are looking straight at the camera. The hiring manager or recruiter probably doesn’t want to be looking straight up your nose during your conversation. Use good posture, smile, and exude poise. Slouching off to the side, looking off to the side, or sitting 1000 miles away from the screen are all instant turn-offs for an interviewer.
Lighting is key.
The hiring manager or recruiter needs to see you when interviewing you, so make sure the room is lit appropriately. A good interviewer expects the same level of professionalism while speaking to you on Zoom that your manager would expect if you get the job. And appearing on video as a back-lit silhouette is not very professional.
Lose the flashy background.
Video interviews should be conducted in a setting that mimics an in-person interview as closely as possible. That means removing any virtual backgrounds that you typically utilize. You may be the world’s biggest Spider-Man fan, but that doesn’t mean your interviewer wants to see him swinging around in your background while the two of you are trying to have a serious discussion.
It isn’t lunch time.
You’d never dream of bringing your cheeseburger combo to an in-person interview, so why would you loudly slurp on your water bottle while the interviewer is asking you to go over your job experience? Anyone would agree that interviewing can be a stressful experience and there’s a good chance you might experience a little dry-mouth here and there. But if you must take a drink, make it quick, quiet, and don’t turn the need for a sip of water into a distraction that disrupts the interview process.
Make Sure Your Tech is Ready
Even if you’re the pinnacle of professionalism and are confident you have all the answers to turn your interview into a slam-dunk of success, you might be betrayed by a technological snafu that you didn’t anticipate. Before joining your video interview, make sure that everything is working properly.
Jump on a video call with a friend or coworker and make sure your camera and your microphone are in working order. Nothing can derail your sense of confidence faster than frantically combing through settings menus – while the interviewer is patiently staring at you on the video call – because they can’t hear you. They may not hold technical difficulties against you when deciding whether to move you to the next level in the applicant process. Then again, they may.
Create a Space and Time for the Interview
You wouldn’t normally expect a business to hold your interview in a crowded and noisy coffee shop, so extend that same courtesy to the person interviewing you. Whether you like it or not, your interviewer will be taking everything they hear and see into account when deciding whether you make the cut. That includes what may or may not be going on around you.
Be sure to communicate with your family when your interview will be taking place so that they can give you a space and period of time free from distractions. Whether or not it seems fair, watching people repeatedly pass behind you or (the horror) making noise or interrupting your interview to ask you a question, will leave your interviewer with a bad taste in their mouth, i.e. “If this applicant can’t even handle a proper interview, how are they going to handle their job?”
Everything spoken, unspoken, seen, and heard will all be taken into account while the recruiter or hiring manager attempts to paint a complete picture of you as a candidate. Video interviews are by definition a less-than-complete version of the real thing, so every second of the call is part of their information gathering process. You may have a confident, poised answer for every question thrown your way, but if your toddler is marching back and forth behind you while banging a toy drum, it will inevitably speak to a failure of planning on your part and will count against you.
Be the Impossible to Ignore Candidate
Work life has been forced to make enormous pivots during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Thankfully, technology has largely bridged the gap and allowed many job-related aspects to keep up with the times. But that doesn’t mean that hiring managers or recruiters have changed their expectations when it comes to finding the right person for an open position. Virtual job seekers must not only bring their knowledge to bear and convince their interviewer that they know their stuff, they also must prove they have the forethought and maturity to handle a video interview process in a professional manner.
One of GRN Mid-Cities’ bedrock principles is to improve the recruiting experience for both the client and the candidate. Building trust with candidates through world-class experience and knowledge is the key to bringing successful and happily-employed applicants to the table. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!