COVID19 is shifting how companies work, hire, and serve their customers. As working from home becomes the new norm, so do virtual interviews. Video platforms introduce another layer of difficulty to interviewing, as things like technology, lighting, and distractions become potential issues. Perhaps due to these additional challenges, 60% of Americans polled prefer traditional interviews to virtual ones.
However, there are also some perks to video interviews. They offer you the ability to interview from the comfort of your own home, avoid commuting and not worry about finding the right office. They also allow you to control aspects of your interview that used to be out of your control (like scenery or lighting).
Here are some tips to set yourself up for success during your next virtual interview:
1. Check Your Tech
It is essential that you make sure you’ve downloaded the software you’ll be using prior to the day of your interview (here are some common platforms you might be asked to use). It is also imperative that you test out this software ahead of time. Technical difficulties can be an embarrassing interruption and can cut valuable time out of your interview. 80% of employers agree that they need more tech skills in their workforce, and your video interview running smoothly indicates that you are technologically competent.
2. Arrive Early
Simply showing up a few minutes early is the best way to seem prepared for your video interview. It allows you the opportunity to catch any last-minute issues with your tech and time to calm yourself, review your notes or repeat encouraging affirmations. Moreover, a survey by Jobvite found that 6 in 10 recruiters immediately disqualify late candidates, and arriving early provides you with a much-needed safety net.
Practicing before your video interview is key. Speaking at an image of yourself can be unnerving, but practicing can help you get accustomed to seeing yourself speak. Practicing also gives you the opportunity to perfect your eye contact with your interviewer. To do so, position the camera so that it is at the top of your head and look directly into it. Eye contact conveys trustworthiness and sincerity, so take the time to ensure you’re making eye contact during video interviews.
4. Dress for Success
Just because your interview is at home does not mean you can dress casually. When dressing for a video interview, choose an outfit similar to one you’d wear to a regular interview. Also ensure that you’re displaying good hygiene. 8 in 10 employers surveyed said they would disqualify a candidate with visibly bad hygiene and another 71% attested that they would cut anyone who did not dress to code.
In addition to your physical appearance, make sure that your body language conveys confidence and friendliness. Sit up straight, avoid fidgeting, smile often, and try not to cross your arms or legs. Finally, listen to yourself speak during your practice sessions to ensure that your voice is strong, level, and you’re not stuttering.
5. Set the Scene
Video interviews give you the opportunity to literally present yourself in the best light possible. Try out different rooms, angles, and light fixtures to see which is most flattering and portrays your face clearly. Make sure to check that there is no glare, as this can be distracting during your interview.
6. Minimize Distractions
Being interrupted during your interview can be embarrassing and distracting. Give your cohabitants prior notice of your interview so that they are quiet and know not to interrupt you. Also, plan ahead for what quiet, calm space you’d like to use for your interview so you aren’t scrambling to find one at the last minute
7. Have Notes Ready
One perk to interviewing remotely is that it allows you to keep notes in front of you. Consider printing out a copy of your cover letter or CV and/or writing a list of skills, competencies, and experience that align with the company’s preferences. Printing a list of job requirements or company FAQs is also a good idea. However, keep these lists brief, because looking like you’re reading a script during your interview will ultimately do more harm than good.
Like most things, video interviews don’t have to be daunting if you do your homework. Double-checking your technology, showing up early, dressing presentably, preparing notes, and preventing interruptions conveys to employers that you’re competent, organized, and tech-savvy. Planning ahead and showing composure is critical to acing your video interview. With the correct preparation, your concerns about this new form of interviewing can become a thing of the past.