Dear Kelly: As the way people work changes—remote work, global hiring, and technology integration—so does the hiring process, especially right now when we are living in the age of stay-at-home orders when everything is being done virtually.
Video interviews are becoming more and more common. A recent study from OfficeTeam found that 63% of human resources managers are using video interviewing during the talent acquisition process. Ley’s review the different formats video interviewing can take:
(1) a live video call you make from a location of your choosing;
(2) a live video call in the employer’s office with a remote hiring manager;
(3) a prerecorded video interview where you record your answers and submit them for review.
So how do you prepare for a virtual interview?
1. Set up your location
Find a quiet place for you in which to conduct your interview or recording. Make sure the background is not distracting, and the area is well lit. Of course, be sure you are free of interruptions – we have all seen the hilarious videos of unexpected visitors arriving in the background of those Zoom calls! Please note: A cell phone is not a good option for a video interview. You want to use a device—on a solid surface—to avoid unwanted movement and any distractions.
2. Choose your interview attire
Select and prepare your outfit ahead of the interview, making sure you are dressing as you would if it were an in-person interview. I know it might be tempting to only dress professionally from the waist up, but better safe than sorry in the event you have to get up and more of you comes into view than expected! I conducted a video interview with a client who did not realize I could see he was sitting on the edge of a bed in his underwear! You also may have seen the reporter recently who backed up from his “planned” shot and you could see he was wearing shorts with his suit jacket. In other words, be fully dressed from head to toe as you never know what may happen that will cause you to move from your planned location and frame!
3. Check your device
Make sure you know how to turn off your device’s notifications or mute them during your interview and, of course, be sure your devices have adequate battery power for the duration of the interview! If the interview is live, you likely will receive an invitation to the interview, so be sure to download any software or plugins you will need.
4. Practice posture and eye gaze
Place your camera at eye level and run a quick test of both your camera and microphone to ensure all of your equipment is working correctly. Make sure to prioritize “eye contact.” This will feel a bit unnatural—especially if the video is live—as you are going to want to look at the face of the person on the screen as you chat. You will need to remind yourself to look into the camera as you speak; when listening during the conversation, feel free to look at the screen. If you are recording an interview, perhaps have someone sit behind the camera to practice your eye contact. Pay attention to your posture—ensuring you are sitting straight—as you might be somewhere you feel overly comfortable, but you still need to be professional.
5. Assemble your cheat sheets
Set aside any materials you will need during the interview such as your resume, the posting of the job for which you applied, and any other documentation that will help you remember your messaging strategy. Having visual reminders of key scripts or responses could be helpful if you get flustered or particularly nervous during a certain part of the interview. Make sure it does not look like you are reading notecards; even just having them there—in case of an emergency—can take your blood pressure down a little!
6. Prepare for the unexpected
If a technical error were to occur, have a way to communicate with the person with whom you will be speaking, either by phone or by email. If there is an unplanned physical distraction (loud noise, siren, pets, children, etc.), apologize and request a moment to attend to the interruption, if needed. Also, make sure you know ahead of time how to mute the conversation!
Lastly, while this is a video interview, traditional in-person interview rules still apply. By practicing and preparing for this opportunity, you will be sure to let more of your authentic personality shine through and show the employer why you are a great candidate for the position and the company’s culture. I wish you the best of luck!