Over the past couple of weeks’, I have been having some very interesting conversations with my clients and candidates around the impact that COVID-19 is having on their business and hiring process.
All of my clients were fortunately on the same page. They can’t allow this to effect their hiring and so they are all looking to move forward with conducting video interviews.
This is great on one hand but on the other hand video interviewing can be a very daunting process for many candidates. It’s slightly un-known. It is ok for some who have been brought up on Instagram and other social platforms but for others it is completely alien.
I wanted to write this to offer some tips and guidance to make sure you are fully prepared and confident when it comes to a video interview. Some of them may seem very obvious but I’ll say them anyway.
1- Get the right equipment
It is very important that you are now making sure you have everything you need in place to be able to receive a Video interview request. Again some of these are so obvious and some, maybe not so much.
2- What to wear during a video interview?
This is an aspect a lot of people make mistakes. Whilst you’re at home it is so easy to become more relaxed and casual. You need to be the opposite and actually its more crucial to get it right on a video interview than it is a face to face. Your agency or the client should always make you aware of the office dress code. During a video interview I always suggest to match that dress code but, be careful of any bright / Distracting colours or patters.
If you’re wearing a suit and tie make it a plain suit and tie, If you wearing smart casual try and keep it to a white shirt and jeans, if you’re wearing casual clothing keep it to a t-shit and jeans. Things to avoid are clear – Hoodies, Tracksuits, Scruffy clothing is a MUST NOT.
I have had occasions in the past where a candidate. Has only dressed his top half to the right standard. Whilst at home and if there is ever a distraction that requires you to stand up and deal with it … Just don’t fall into that trap.
3- Consider your environment
With being at home and with a possibility soon of a school shut down I appreciate it will be very difficult for people with children to make sure they have the best possible environment with no distraction, but you really need to make this a core focus. Look at what the webcam you have is picking up in the background and try and find the best angle with as little as possible behind you. If you are taking the interview at a desk, Dining table or any where in the house make sure you have a clear space with your CV, prepared questions and a pen and paper in front of you only. Turn off all notification settings to prevent any further distractions and make sure everyone in the house knows where you are and what you are doing so that they know not to disturb you.
4- How to be in front of the camera
Firstly it’s really important to make sure you have your camera set up correctly. If the camera is to low it looks like you are looking up yet if to high it looks like you looking down. Keep the camera center and when you are on the interview look at the clients eyes and not the camera! If you stare at the camera it looks like you are staring at them and it’s just a bit creepy! Despite not being there in person body language and posture is vital. Keep open body language, be yourself so if you talk with your hands do that. Be mindful around being fidget, try and keep it as calm as you can. Also, if you plan on taking notes and I hope you would during an interview, right at the start of the process, make the interviewer aware of this by saying; “just so you are aware if you do see me looking down during this call it will only be due to taking notes from what you are saying.” It’s important to do this as it can seems like you are being distracted or showing limited interest as they can’t see what you are doing. By letting them know it gets rid of any doubt.
5- Be the first person on the interview
On a video interview make sure you are the first person on the interview. Consider a Face to face, it’s not a good first impression to be late but, at least in a face to face interview the client can still do something in the office to be productive whilst they are waiting. On a video interview they will be sitting at a screen waiting and so its leaves a worse first impression if you are late. Equally you do not have the excuse of travel issues or other potential reasons for being late on the interview, so this is very important. Don’t keep them waiting.
6- Ask more questions that you usually would
One of the downsides to a video interview is that as a candidate you don’t get to see the environment you would be working within. Due to this you need to make sure you are asking more questions to know if it is right for you. Ask about the office, Culture, company Values, Team size, Opportunity over the long term, What equipment do they give you and so on. You need to get more out of this through questioning as you don’t get the full visual you would if it was in person.
7- How to end a video interview
You would end a video interview as you would a face to face. After all your questions have been answered it is as simple as saying. Thanks very much for your consideration and I look forward to hearing your feedback” Make sure though that you know how to end the interview through the platform its is hosted on. Most clients will always wait for the candidate to end the interview. This may be for impressions; it may be to discuss feedback straight after if there are multiple interviewers. You don’t want that awkward end where you don’t know how to exit. So this is my guide to preparing for a video interview. To summarise