Just because you are interviewing for a job from home does not mean you can take it easy. A video interview is still a business meeting and as important as an interview conducted in-person.
More and more first-round interviews are now conducted on video. It’s efficient and convenient for both parties without really being spoken about.
For the employer, it’s easier to cut a video interview short than if the interview was in a meeting room on-site. A short 30-minutes interview is more acceptable on a video call than an in-person meeting.
For the candidate, just avoiding taking a half- or full day off is a bonus. Avoiding getting delayed in a traffic jam is equally important.
1. Settings and background
Think about how your laptop is set up and what can be seen behind you.
If possible, you would want a blank wall behind you or an office-like setting, not a cluttered bookshelf, a large painting or your room ceiling. Or simply use the background blur.
If you’re interviewing in your home, make sure that you are in a quiet space with no barking dogs, children, music, or other sounds.
Turn off your phone and any alerts on your computer to avoid getting thrown off by emails or instant messages during the interview.
Practice beforehand to reduce the likelihood of a technology issue. Open the internet link you have received for the interview and make sure you can enter the virtual meeting room.
Test everything again an hour or two before the interview. Make sure the microphone and camera work to ensure everything is in order.
Have a glass of water on your table in case you get a tickle in your throat.
2. Dress code
To dress the part means to dress the way that people in particular roles and companies usually dress – that is if you want the interviewer to believe that you’re a professional.
Meeting face-to-face in a meeting room is now a rare occasion at least for the first round of interviews. In these new virtual times, the dress code has for too many people gone out the window.
- Guys, please drop the singlet, the no-collar T-shirt. Don’t show up with an unshaven face (unless it’s your “look”). Dress as if you were interviewing at the company’s office.
- You may be proud of your nose, ear or lips piercing, your cool tattoos, your light make-up and eye mascara, and your extremely long fingernails. But believe me, you are not making it easier for yourself.
- Ladies, you can wear a bit more makeup than you would in an in-person interview, as it looks professional on camera. Wear the amount that makes you feel confident. You can wear jewelry, but make sure it isn’t too flashy or distracting (for example, avoid jangly, noisy earrings).
Dress professionally. Even if you are sitting down, wear nice pants and shoes (you never know when you will have to stand up).
Here is another blog on: Video interviewing is still a business meeting. Read.
Pay attention to the lighting, too. You do not want to have light sources behind you, since that will leave your face in the shadows.
Don’t sit in front of a window. It’s a great source of light but if the window is behind you, you’re likely to be in complete shadow. If possible, turn around so you face the light from the window.
Your camera should be at eye level (not above or below). A poorly placed camera can result in unflattering double chins or weird shadows. Consider placing books under your laptop or some smart device to get a good height for the camera.
Sometimes it is easier to have a few notes written down about what you’d like to talk about or topics that you want to discuss during your call.
Have a copy of your resume in sight, in case you have to refer to dates and other details.
Also, keep a piece of paper and a pen handy so you can jot down thoughts for additional comments you’d like to add during the conversation.
Research the company and be prepared with a good level of knowledge. A good starting point is to look up their website and find out about the products and services they offer.
To be even better prepared, look up the company and the people you are meeting on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, the whole social media thing.
5. Smile and focus
Smile, you are on camera. There is nothing more engaging than smiling throughout your call with a friendly expression.
Make eye contact, and remember, that means looking at the camera (and not the picture-in-picture image of yourself).