These days, more employers are embracing digital methods of conducting their interviews – especially in the tech industry, where an increasing number of roles are remote. As a result, popular platforms such as Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and Zoom are bridging the gap between businesses and candidates more than ever before.
If you have a video interview coming up, then you may be wondering what to expect. Even if you’ve been to plenty of interviews before, video interviews present their own set of nuances and challenges. These tips will help you ace this unique type of meeting and show hiring managers what you’re made of – without even being in the same room!
Set Up a Professional Environment
When we think about going into a face-to-face interview, one of the most obvious differences to video calling is the environment. Rather than meeting in an office, you’re more likely at home, surrounded by your furniture, personal belongings and even pets or family members. Your environment can subconsciously influence the way the interviewer perceives you, which is why it’s important to create a professional backdrop that won’t distract from your value as a candidate.
When preparing for your video interview, find a quiet space with plenty of light (ideally some natural lighting), a plain background such as a wall and minimal outside noise. Turn off devices such as phones or the TV and ask anyone else in the house to keep movement to a minimum for that period.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
When it comes to video calling, your body language often matters even more than it does when communicating face to face.
Too much movement or hand gestures could be distracting or blurry on the screen, and you don’t want to accidentally move out of view of the camera. On the other hand, since video-calling platforms are liable to pause or lag at times, staying too stiff could lead the interviewer to believe the video has frozen on them! Let your body language show that you’re engaged with the interviewer’s questions: lean forward, smile – these are signals that communicate your interest and engagement no matter where you are.
Dress to Impress
Regardless of whether you’re interviewing in person or a video, dressing professionally will demonstrate to employers that you’re serious about the role. Your video interview dress code should be both tidy and suitable for being on camera. Some colours, such as blue or black, look great in any lighting but are best against a lighter backdrop, while bright colours could wash you out or be distracting on the screen. By the same token, shiny jewellery and bold accessories can draw too much attention, so aim keeps it clean and simple.
A lot of this comes down to common sense, but it’s easy to forget the little things when under pressure. There are extra considerations to keep in mind when interviewing over the video, so taking some extra time to prepare can make all the difference.
Rather than sitting down at your computer five minutes before the appointment, give yourself plenty of time to set up your equipment and test the microphone and internet connection. Make sure your webcam is working and angled so that you will be in the centre of the screen when you sit in from of it. Even conducting a trial run with a friend an hour beforehand can give you that extra confidence that everything is in working order.
Don’t Forget the Basics
As we’ve mentioned, video interviewing has its own nuances, but there are some basics that you should always keep in front of mind, no matter the form your interview takes.
It’s always a good idea to practise the answers to common interview questions and have some anecdotes ready to go. Reflect on past tech projects you have been involved in and come up with some examples and concrete results to illustrate your industry knowledge. You can even have a copy of your CV on hand for quick reference – just keep it off camera and try not to shuffle the papers, which could make it hard for the interviewer to hear you.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your own questions of the employer, just as you would in any other interview. Even if you’ll be employed remotely, it’s always worthwhile to find out about the company culture and get to know the people you’ll be working with.
The most important thing we like to emphasise is to treat your video meeting like any other interview. Prepare, be professional, and sell yourself as the best candidate for the role. There is no great secret to video interview etiquette; as long as you take the technology into account, you can’t go wrong.
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