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Tips to Prepare for Your Next Video Interview

As Covid-19 continues to prevent many of us from having in person meetings, we thought we would share some tips about how you can prepare for video interviews!

April 2020

Tips to Prepare for Your Next Video Interview

As Covid-19 continues to prevent many of us from having in person meetings, we thought we would share some tips about how you can prepare for video interviews! Video interviews have always been an incredibly efficient way for businesses to assess working with candidates and visa-versa. They are great for first-stage interviews before inviting the shortlisted individuals to travel for a face-to-face meeting.

Video interviews can be live or prerecorded, depending on the convenience of the client or candidate’s schedules and time zones. Just like any interview that you would have, applicants should prepare for video interview much the same way. This includes doing mock interviews, checking your technical equipment and managing any nonverbal cues that will be at the forefront of interviews of this nature.

We have created a fail safe checklist, to cover everything you ought to prepare before undertaking (and hopefully smashing) your virtual interview.

 

1. Check Your Internet Connection

A bad internet connection can really hurt the success of your interview. Both you and the interviewer will become annoyed with lagging dialogue, blurry video quality, broken camera frames or constant call dropping. We advise all of our applicants to have your computer physically connected to their internet router. If you are using WiFi then you need to be prepared for the unexpected! Be prepared to switch on your phone’s cellular data and ensure you are on at least a 4G signal – the ideal connection speed for a video interview is 10Mbps or higher. Test your computer’s internet connection speed by using Ookla

 

2. Privacy is Paramount

If you are sharing your house or apartment with others, make sure you inform them of your interview so that you stay undisturbed. If you have younger children or pets in your home, ask a friend, partner or family member to supervise them during the call if he or she can. As much as your friends love to see your pet or child jump on your lap during video call, your interviewer might not feel the same!

Some interviewers could consider interruptions or background commotion as unprofessional. Not to mention, these occurrences can also throw you off your game and leave you flustered and unable to think clearly about your responses to interview questions. These repercussions could negatively impact your performance and chances of getting the job – it’s definitely not worth the cute photo bomb moment that you think you’re having! Maybe a joke about the event occurring instead of allowing the real thing to happen!

 

3. Use a Headset or Headphones

We cannot stress enough how important it is to use headphones or a headset during a video interview! Whilst your computer or laptop might have a built-in microphone, it is likely that this microphone will pick up and emit ambient or background sound as you listen to or answer interview questions. With your headset or headphones, you can rest assured that no annoying sounds will be picked up! You want to make sure that your answers are clear to understand – both literally and metaphorically! Headphones or headsets ensure that your voice is clearly picked up as well dull ambient noise.

 

4. Curate Your Surroundings

Video interviews often have an informal or casual connotation, but they are anything but. The backdrop of your camera shot is an important factor to consider before your call. We recommend a plain background without any eye-catching objects to keep the interviewer’s attention on you. Avoid having items such as posters, photos, mirrors, books or laundry visible in your camera-shot. Be sure to check the lighting in your shot to ensure it doesn’t distract from your interview – close your shutters to avoid sun glare and turn the lights on in your room. 

 

5. Look and Dress the Part

It should go without saying, but you should present yourself in the same manner you would if you’re interview was in person. Avoid wearing bright colours or busy patterns as they might be distracting on camera. Make sure your hair is brushed, avoid flashy jewellery and heavy applications of makeup - keep your look simple and professional. 

 

6. Get the Perfect Camera Angle

Laptops will have its webcam above the screen, but if you place it on a desk or table, often the camera shot can be too low. Place your laptop on a box or some books so the camera is positioned slightly about your eye-line. Using a free-standing webcam? No problem! Make sure to place it on top of something behind your screen to that the camera is similarly aligned. Make sure you are close enough to your camera as well – you want to be close up and personal.

 

7. Remember Eye Contact

Eye contact during an interview is paramount when making a connection with your interviewer(s). When we talk on video calls, we have a natural tendency to look at ourselves instead of concentrating on the faces of those we video call. The position of your webcam is important to help with matching your eyeline to the interviewer’s eyeline. If the interviewer’s face is located too away from your webcam on screen, it will appear as though you’re looking up, down, right, or left instead of directly at that person. Try to look directly into the camera on your laptop or free-standing webcam. We know it’s difficult, so try a call with friends or family to see what works for you.

 

8. Posture and Body Positioning

Having good posture should apply to all interviews across the board, not just video calls. You want to make sure that you’re sitting up straight with both feet planted on the floor. Try to avoid side angles and make sure that your chair is properly adjusted so that you don’t look as if you’re slouching. Posture not only reinforces the professional aura you’re creating of yourself, but it also imbues you with confidence when you interview. 

 

9. Body Language Check

You want to make sure that you come across as amicable and approachable. A warm, confident smile goes a lot further than you think it does. Keep in mind that you don’t want to come across as TOO enthusiastic or keen by smiling and laughing at everything said. Each movement you make in this interview is definitely magnified on-camera. If you’re prone to using a lot of hand gestures, fidgeting, covering your mouth or biting your nails when you get uncomfortable, make a concerted effort to avoid these tendencies during your interview. 

 

10. Punctuality is Crucial

With everyone in quarantine and staying home to keep our families, healthcare workers and essential workers on the front lines, our schedules are in flux and time can seem like a contruct. For your video interview, punctuality is crucial in the success of your performance. Make sure you give yourself 30 minutes to ensure all of the above steps are checked off so that you don’t have any last-minute issues that catch you off-guard before you interview starts. 

 

11. Practice Makes Perfect

A great way to identify your nervous ticks is to record yourself having a mock interview with a friend or family member. Watch videos of yourself and see if you notice anything that you do subconsciously. For example, you might use the word “um” or “like” more than you think you do. The more time that you spend practicing your interview either on camera, in the mirror or with a friend or family member, the more comfortable you will begin to get. Be sure that you know your CV from top to bottom and practice your answers to ensure fluid responses. 

 

Are you looking for more help with your video interviews or are you currently looking for a job? Get in touch with one of our consultants today enquiries@parallelconsulting.com.