Lights, camera, action!
No, we are not shooting a blockbuster movie, but when you are getting ready to go on camera for a video interview it sure can feel just as nerve-racking.
Video interviews are becoming a regular in today’s job hiring process. It’s easy, convenient, and efficient for both the job seeker and the hiring manager. And with most of us confined to our living rooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the perfect time to get comfortable on camera and hone your video interview skills.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
1. Download the right software
Typically, when you schedule a video interview with a hiring manager, they will tell you which software or app they will be using. Whether it is Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, or FaceTime, it is important to download and test the software before your interview. This way you are familiar with how it works, can test quality, and set yourself up for a successful interview. Most of the apps or software you may interview with are available for free, so you can easily sign up for an account if you do not already have one!
2. Test your computer or phone
If you are using your laptop, desktop, or phone, you will need to test your video and audio quality before your interview day. It is recommended to use a good set of headphones so that your audio sounds crisp and clear (AirPods or wireless earbuds work as well).
When you have your audio tested and perfected, it is time to move over to your video quality. As important as it is to hear you during an interview, it is equally important that your interviewer will be able to see you. After downloading and testing your software, give your device access to your camera and see how it looks. Is your face clear in the picture or is it blurry? Does your video lag? If so, make the proper adjustments and do a few test runs so you can look your best on camera! Also, make sure that your devices are fully charged, or plugged into a charger, before your interview.
3. Choose a good environment
Nothing is worse than being in the middle of the interview and suddenly interrupted by your significant other belting into song, or your child running around like Superman in the background. You want to choose a quiet and well-lit environment for your video interview. Pick a room that is private and limit distractions so you can focus all your attention on the interviewer. If you live in a busy household, make sure to communicate with everyone that you need quiet during specific times. Also, pay attention to what is in your background when you are on camera. You want the background to be clean and tidy and avoid sitting in front of a window or else it will cause a lighting issue with your video. Think from the employers’ perspective!
4. Check your internet connection
One of the most crucial things to do before your video interview is to check your internet connection. Some of the video calling applications can take up a lot of bandwidth, so open your app., practice with a friend, and see how your internet performs. If your video starts to lag, maybe try closing any other open programs on your computer to free up some speed. Still having troubles? Try resetting your router. If you do not have access to internet or do not have a lot of data on your phone, try calling out to a local employment office or career center and ask if they have any interview rooms you could use for your interview.
DURING THE INTERVIEW
1. Make a good first impression
Even though you are not meeting in person, your first impression is just as important virtually. Start your interview dressed professionally, just as you would if you were at the company itself. Yes, you only need to dress nice waist up, but your online presence needs to exude professionalism from the moment your camera light turns on.
2. Keep useful papers nearby
You will want to have a pen, notebook, and a copy of your resume and cover letter on your desk or somewhere nearby during your interview. You wouldn’t go unprepared to an in-office interview, so the same goes for the virtual interview.
3. Be engaged
Eye contact and body language can be just as important as what you say during any interview. When talking via webcam, sometimes we can forget that. Make sure to be actively engaged with your interviewer during the entirety of your time, presenting yourself in a professional and personable manner. Eye contact virtually can be a little tricky, but the best tip is to keep your eyes looking at the camera lens instead of the screen, so your eyes do not dart back and forth. Just remember to actively show your excitement and interest, and most importantly let your personality really shine through the camera.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
As with any job interview, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time. Send a follow-up thank you email later that day (or the next day if your interview was in the evening). This message shows the interviewer that you value their time and may even help build a stronger connection with your potential employer and help you progress to the next step.
Just remember to be cool, calm, and collected. We can all be a little camera shy, especially if video interviews are something you are not used to. But with a little preparation and practice, you will become a seasoned pro in no time and be ready for your next blockbuster!