by Julia Purcell, Senior Marketing Executive, Sigmar Recruitment
With the number of companies around the globe asking their employees to stay safe and work from home increasingly every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person interviews are being replaced with video interviews via platforms such as Hinterview, Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. For some this is a new experience so here are our top 5 tips to help you get prepared.
1. Check Your Tech
As mentioned, there are a variety of video interview platforms, many of which you may be familiar with such as Google Hangouts or Skype. While you might think you are adept at using such platforms, don’t rest on your laurels. When you receive the link for the platform from your potential employer – test it out! Familiarise yourself with the platform and do a test call with a family member or friend in advance. Make sure you have a strong internet connection so there are no delays and that your camera and microphone are working perfectly. Finally make sure you are plugged into a power source; interviews can overrun so don’t be relying on the battery to see you through.
2. Set the Scene
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again but finding a suitable environment is so important in preparing for your video interview. Find a quiet, private space to do the interview, somewhere you can control the noise pollution and keep it to a minimum.
After that choose, your backdrop wisely. You don’t want potential employers to see your cluttered bedroom and dirty washing in the background, especially after listing ‘organisational skills’ as one of your top skills on your CV.
Lighting is key and is often forgotten about until the time of the interview. For the best lighting, sit facing an open window, similar to how you would face the light source or sun for photographs. If there is no natural light available to you at the time, use floor and desk lamps to brighten up your environment and ensure your interviewer can see you clearly.
3. Dress to Impress
Although your employer won’t see you face to face, it is still important to dress appropriately. It is always a good idea to investigate the company’s dress code and go from there. You should wear professional, interview-appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will help you stay relaxed and at ease during your interview. Avoid plaids and stripes as these can cause distractions on the camera and make sure you avoid wearing the same colour as your chosen background.
4. Body Language Speaks A Thousand Words
It’s important to have good eye-contact in any interview you attend, this is no different for a video interview. To maintain good eye contact during your interview, place your laptop, webcam or device at eye level. If your camera is too low or too high, it can appear to your employer that you are looking down or away.
It is also important to look into the camera when speaking. Putting a coloured sticker or something noticeable beside the camera might help remind you to speak into the camera instead of the screen. Some gestures that often go unnoticed in face to face interviews, can be more eye-catching through video, for example twirling hair, touching your face or fidgeting with your fingers.
Practicing interviews and video calls with friends or family will help you identify any nervous habits you may have. During the interview, it is important to sit upright with your back straight. Although the interviewer cannot see your lower body, it’s important to have two feet flat on the floor in order to maintain an upright position. Crossing your legs can lead to slouching and can mess with your on-camera framing.
5. Prepare to Win
You want to make a great first impression, leaving the interviewer with the desire to move you to the next round or hire you and the key to achieving this is to be prepared. From software to attire, eye contact to setting, it’s essential to prepare in every aspect for your interview. Have a copy of your CV nearby, but do not get caught reading off it during your interview, keep it nearby as a reference for yourself. Have a pen and paper at your desk should you need it to avoid any disruptions during the interview. And don’t forget to nod, smile and engage with your interviewer – you might not be sitting across from each other, but they can still see you!
Finally, be patient with the recruitment process. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, recruitment processes may take longer than normal. You may find there will be more rounds in a process and/or it may take longer to receive feedback.
About the author
Julia plays a key role in the marketing and branding of Sigmar Recruitment and is responsible for Sigmar’s communications activities. She has successfully project managed the following events; Talent Summit 2017 and National Employment Week 2016 – Ireland’s largest HR conference. Julia is also a regular media contributor, writing regular blogs and features.