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Video Interviews:

A Very Insightful Guide

Video interviews were already common practice for remote job applicants, but now that the world is practicing keeping their distance, video interviews have become a predominant tool in any recruiter’s hiring process.

Drafted on one or two pages, it is a summation of your experience and an itemized list of your skills and qualifications as they pertain to the job you’re applying to. It doesn’t necessarily provide a complete picture, but it’s enough to pique the interest of a prospective employer to secure an interview.

Technical Tips

1. Confirm which platform (Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, etc.) your interview will be hosted on and make sure you have it installed.

2. Read up on the specifics of the platform in question.

3. Test your system. Call a friend or family member, and ensure that your video and audio are in working order, and fine tuned for your device. Have headphones with a mic ready just in case your background is too loud or you can’t hear the interviewer properly.

4. Just like in tv and film, lighting makes you look good! Keep your light sources behind the camera, not behind you. This helps avoid glare and ensures you can be well seen. If there will be natural light in your environment, test at the same time of day as your interview; your camera may have automatic brightness features that change in different conditions.

5. Set up your space (the background of your portrait in the video) to be clean, neutral, and free from distractions. No “loud” items or moving objects, no messes or inappropriate material.

6. Pretend you’re in a theatre, because in a way, you are! That means turning off all your ringers, alarms, notifications, etc. Even vibrations can be a distraction, especially when the device is also your mic (such as a cellphone).

7. Only keep what you need open. Closing down internet tabs, streaming services, connected devices and other network items will ensure you have the highest bandwidth for your call, thus the best quality. Closing unnecessary programs and files also helps remove distractions!

 

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    Research Readiness

    1. Remember, at its core a video interview is an interview like any other. Prepare using the same tried and tested readiness techniques you’ve used in the past!

    2. Research your potential employer (the company and the interviewer, if possible). Know who they are and what they’re like.

    3. Review the material that’s been exchanged until now, including job postings, resumes, cover letters, emails, etc.

    4. Find out the common interview questions for your field (or in general) and rehearse your answers, so you’re not put on the spot.

    5. In most cases, your references have not come into play yet. Be sure to give them the rundown and be prepared to forward their latest contact information if asked.

    Personal Prep

    1. If you live with other people, make sure you advise them that you need to not be disturbed at the time of your interview. Kindly ask them to avoid loud noises or coming into your space.

    2. If you have children, make sure they have someone to look after them when you’re unavailable. If you have pets, ensure they are placed somewhere safe but removed from your space.

    3. Lay out essential items only, off screen. These can include a copy of your documents (resume/CV and cover letter), some water, a pen and paper to take notes, and tissues in case you need to sneeze.

    4. Under no circumstances should you eat or smoke on camera. The same goes true for anything you wouldn’t want people to see you doing in person, such as picking your nose or responding to a text or social media.

    5. You can compile a few notes, typically just keywords about important items you wish to remember, such as company history or questions you want to ask. Try to post this around eye-level, and behind the camera, so that it will not seem like you are distracted or reading verbatim.

    6. Dress like you’re going out. We’ve all heard the embarrassing stories of people standing up on camera and forgetting they aren’t wearing pants; don’t let it be you. You should also ensure that the colours and patterns of your attire don’t clash with those of your interview space, or match so exactly that you appear to be a floating head.

    7. Treat your hair and makeup like part of your outfit. Again, that means keeping it clean, professional, and not too “loud” or distracting. With jewelry, you should also ensure it isn’t ACTUALLY loud, where it could bump into keyboards or jingle as you gesture.

    8. If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late! Just because you don’t have to commute doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself extra time to handle any last minute issues (like a computer crash, for instance), and also show your employer that you have awesome time management skills!

    9. Stop for a second. Take a breath. Acknowledge how you’re feeling (stressed, excited, nervous) and channel it into the confidence you need to succeed! When you’re ready, start that call!

    First Things First

    1. Before getting into it, confirm who is on the call and how you plan to reconnect if the call drops. If it does drop, act like it’s normal and don’t get frustrated or upset over a minor delay.

    2. Confirm that they can see and hear you well. Make any adjustments you need to better accommodate their experience.

    3. Start strong so you can keep it that way! Don’t just think positive, BE positive! Remember that with video, they are collecting all sorts of emotional cues from you, including tone of voice, body language, and facial expression. They can tell if you aren’t being genuine, so keep your heart in it from the get-go!

    4. Listen carefully. In fact, you should be listening even more carefully than at a live interview. Because of the delays caused by the connection, you need to be extra cautious not to speak over them. They may have already started saying something while you thought they were done.

    5. If you need to look away to take a long note, or check something on one of your documents, let them know what you are doing so that they don’t think you’ve started ignoring them or drifted off. You should want them to feel like what they have to say is as important as what you say.

    Ending The Interview

    1. You should ask any questions about open-ended aspects of the job, and the interview process. Make sure to confirm what happens next, and when you can expect to hear back from them. If they are unsure, it is also a good idea to politely ask if you may send them a follow up email to touch base later on.

    2. If they asked you to provide anything post-interview (like your references’ info), be sure to do so as quickly as possible in a short and simple email that includes your thanks for the opportunity and their time.

    3. Even if they did not ask for anything additional from you, a follow-up email with a brief thank you is a welcome gesture.

    If All Else Fails…

    Under dire circumstances, at some point during the interview your systems could fail for a reason outside your control. If that happens, and you and/or your interviewer are unable to reconnect to the same platform, reach out to your interviewer right away through another means and ask about connecting a different way, such as another video platform or via phone call. Be open to rescheduling entirely, as they see fit. Most importantly, do not give or accept blame for a technical issue; treat it as something you simply need to workaround.

     

     At the end of the day, your goal is the same: to get a job. And the recruiter’s is the same, too: to hire the best candidate. Video interviews have new tools, sure, but we can use our tools to build something better if we keep our perspective straight, and ensure nothing is stopping us from reaching our goals!

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