Table of Contents
- A. Check your tech
- B. Set the scene
- C. Time to prepare
- D. Nail that interview
“An email notification pops up on your screen and as you click through, you see an invitation for a virtual interview for a position you had applied for in your target company.”
You would have noticed or heard that due to COVID-19 most of the hiring process has moved online and video interviews are a crucial part of it. In fact, according to a survey by Gartner, 86% of the organizations conduct interviews online to hire candidates during the pandemic. Recruitment experts say that video interviews are here to stay and as job seekers, you should make the most of them. In this blog post, we have crafted a checklist to make sure you are well prepared and have a good video interview experience.
A. Check your tech
One of the most important things you should do before your interview is to check and test the equipment you will use. Let’s begin with some basic stuff:
1. Choose your device
Whether it is a computer or a mobile phone, you should ensure that the software required for the interview runs properly on your device. Download the app and play around to get familiar with it. If you are participating in a live interview, you can also make a quick call to a friend to test the app’s interface. In case you have been invited to a pre-recorded interview, visit the software’s page and read the instructions carefully.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to charge your device beforehand and have a spare one to switch to if needed.
2. Find the right equipment
For a virtual interview, we advise you to use an HD camera and a headset or earphones with a mic. An HD camera at eye level will provide a natural and clear image of you without coloring or lighting interruptions. We suggest looking directly at the camera while practicing to ensure eye contact with the interviewer on the actual day of the interview. Additionally, the mic on the headset/earphones will help you sound clearer and will avoid any unwanted sounds, such as an echo. Furthermore, these will help you listen clearly and this will reduce any mishearings.
Pro tip: A headset with a noise-canceling mic is the most recommended option. It is not necessary to buy one though; you can ask your friends or family to borrow one for the interview.
3. Check your internet connection
This is really vital. You know your internet connection better than anyone. If you experience problems, you could ask your friends or family, and find a place that has a stable connection. If possible, you can also go to a public library or to your favorite, quiet café. If you are a pro organizer, you could also call your internet provider and ask if they plan any maintenance works in your area on the day of your interview.
B. Set the scene
Imagine you are the interviewer and you see John in a dark room with a messy background. After that interview, you meet the next candidate, Jane, who is in a well-lit room with a neutral background. Who would you intuitively prefer as your future colleague? The hard truth is that the first impression matters. Although the best practice is to remove this bias but realistically speaking, it can’t be completely eliminated. Here’s what you can do to set the perfect scene for your interview:
1. Choose a neutral background
Choosing the perfect spot for your virtual interview is actually pretty simple. Find a well-lit room and sit in front of a plain wall. If you can’t find that perfect wall, make sure you have a clean and tidy place during the interview. Keep in mind however that the less information your background has, the more the spotlight will be on you. As for your shiny spot, you could always create one by recruiting your floor lamp.
Pro tip: For the best result, use two lamps to outshine any shadows on your face.
2. Place your camera
The best thing to do is to place the camera at your eye level. Avoid holding the device with your hands to prevent quivering or slipping of the device. It is also recommended to look directly at the webcam while you speak. This will create the illusion of looking directly at the eyes of the interviewer and it’s also considered to be more direct and engaging for your audience. It is also a good way to build rapport with your interviewers.
Pro tip: It’s time to use all the books in your library to make your DIY camera stand.
3. Pick the right outfit
The rule here is to create contrast with your background. For example, if the wall behind you is white, you don’t want to blend in by wearing a white shirt. Of course, you should be dressed professionally but you have to find a way to distinguish yourself from your background. This article can be a useful resource to understand colors and discover how to create that contrast between your clothes and background that will make you more memorable.
C. Time to prepare
Your script is the job description, your resume, and everything you have found out about the company and the hiring managers. Everything you need to prepare for the interview is there. Review any information you have acquired and let’s go together through the next steps:
1. Predict the interview questions
Look carefully at the job description and turn it into questions. For example, if the job description requires problem-solving skills, a potential question could be “Think of a time when you had to solve a problem. What was the problem and how did you solve it?”. Do the same for every skill or requirement of the job description. You could also review your resume and prepare answers for career issues, such as an employment gap.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to prepare questions for the interviewers, about their role and how they have evolved within the company.
2. Practice.. practice.. practice.
Practice makes better. Especially if you are participating in a pre-recorded video interview, write down your answers and memorize them. After that record yourself and watch the video take. Notice your body language, your pronunciation, and your tone, as these are easy to notice and improve on the spot. Are you moving your hands nervously or stuttering while you speak? You may want to keep a check on these. You could also ask a friend or reach out to us to conduct a mock interview and help you with your interview preparation.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to smile.
3. Think proactively
What we mean by that is to be proactive to avoid any interruptions. You have probably seen video bloopers on live TV. To avoid any awkward moments, we advise you to notify them both orally and with a note, your friends and family about the time and place of your interview. If necessary, place a white paper on your door with a big sign. Also, make sure you mute any notifications or alarms on any device in the room. Close any unnecessary apps and keep open only your resume and notes.
D. Nail that interview
We have covered the basics of your interview preparation. Now, it is your turn to transform these into action and rock your interview. And remember, if you need any help, we are always at your disposal. We also advise you to read our article about creating a video resume.