Eight tips to nail a remote Skype or Zoom video interview.
While stringent measures imposed by health experts and the government prevent us from and close face-to-face interactions & networking, this does not prevent you from job hunting and accepting interviews, here at Blayze Unguem, a number of our Key Clients continue to progress their strategic recruitment objectives via an increasing groundswell that are willing to conduct virtual interviews through video conferencing technology such as Zoom and Skype – These tools make it possible to apply for jobs, network and attend interviews – remotely..
But how do you go about doing a successful interview through video, especially if you’ve never done it before or are not comfortable in front of the camera? Do you get dressed in the same way you would a face-to-face meeting and is the bedroom an acceptable background? What will it cost?
The good news is that most video conferencing software is free (providers generally offer a free version too as part of their initiatives to give back, keep the economy going and create jobs) and it is unlikely, that you’ll be charged for using this type of software, so Online interviews, just like regular ones, can be mastered if you know how to prepare.
- Make sure you are ‘camera ready’
Prepping for a video interview should be the same as prepping for a face-to-face interview, with a few added steps when it comes to the setting. Usually it’s the employer that has to worry about ensuring there’s an appropriate place to interview a candidate, but when it comes to being interviewed at home the onus is now on you to create the best possible setting.
Some areas in your home offer a better backdrop than others, and we would urge caution against conducting the interview in your bedroom, even if space around the house is at admittedly at a premium, however under lockdown. The bedroom is a highly personal and intimate space, even if the bed is expertly made, but if the bedroom is the only option, ensure cameras are focussed well above all beds, clothes, cosmetic tables & away from family pictures. Also, don’t sit with your back against a bright window, as this means the interviewer won’t be able to see you very clearly.
- Be familiar with the technology
Before you have the interview it’s vital to become familiar with your Interviewers or your own chosen video communications tool. Most common types of video software used are Skype, whilst Zoom has become increasingly popular recently. First impressions are still important, so make sure all the tech is functioning and that the camera is at the right angle.’
- Check your video’s surroundings
Impressions count and whilst your home collection of troll dolls may be a conversation starter among friends it may not impress your future employer, so do check your background. Don’t interview with your bar in the background, check there’s nothing weird or controversial in the bookshelves or between your books or DVDs, but do have stuff in the background that may create a good talking point (for instance if you’re a big rugby fan, put your favourite team shirt within view)
- Make plans so you’re not interrupted
Back in 2017, Professor Robert E Kelly became more famous for his own children gatecrashing his BBC interview than for what he was saying in the clip that went viral. His wife had to interrupt the interview as well to take the children out, adding to the hilarity of it all. Employers are aware that millions of families are stuck together in isolation and children are being homeschooled, but it still helps to try and prevent any interruptions where possible. It’s imperative that you control your own environment, so it’s vital to get things right, including switching off your mobile phone. An interviewer may seemingly find kids barging in the middle of the conversation funny at the time, but they may not be impressed by the fact that you can’t control your own environment, so it may be the small difference between you and them favouring another candidate.
- Dress appropriately
It’s been several weeks since the lockdown measures have been put in place and you may now feel completely comfortable walking around in your casual-wear during the day or even your pyjamas, but this relaxed approach may not sit well with your future employer, warns James, so absolutely NO pyjama bottoms. Don’t’ be tempted to just dress formally from the waist up because if you have to suddenly leap up and push a child out the door it may all go wrong. We strongly recommend smart casual in most cases at the moment. It would seem silly to be absolutely suited and booted. That may go too far. But then you also don’t want to look like you’re living in a post-apocalyptic environment.’
- Make use of crib notes
Having an interview in the comfort of your own home brings about a few advantages, one of which is styling your environment to ensure you get your points across in the interview. A few well-placed notes could help trigger your mind. But don’t go too far – restrict to a few key points to give you a reminder. Even in a normal live interview, we tell people to take a copy of your CV to refer to, so having a CV in front of you does still look professional. But don’t look like you’re reading. Don’t have a script, have a cheat sheet. You don’t want to come across like you’re overly rehearsed or sound like a parrot.
- Stand, don’t sit
Sitting may be comfortable but there’s always the danger of this position creating too much comfort making you slouch and coming across as nonchalant, so we strongly recommend that you stand up instead. This may require having a stand desk or propping up your screen or camera on a stand. This is especially useful if you are making a presentation.’
- Practice makes perfect
If you’re unfamiliar with conducting yourself over video, then it’s vital to practice to ensure you come across professionally. Become comfortable engaging with the camera, the ‘lens is your friend’, so engage, smile and practice to the camera. We recommend that you practice with a friend and do it live. You probably have plenty of friends that don’t have much to do right now, so would be more than happy to help & probably call on your assistance in return.
We’re here to help & guide you through the challenge of Conducting a job interview through a video call
and already we’re seeing some candidates more relaxed and confident through the use of video calls as they’re able to attend interviews from the comfort of their own home, avoiding the stresses of travel and the possibility of running late. It may appear more challenging than an in-person interview, but it’s simply because the majority of us aren’t used to doing it.