In a mist of a changing world. Video Interviews have a become a central part of the hiring process. The word zoom has gone from being a verb to now being used as a noun. However so fast are things moving right now it will only be a matter of time where it returns as a revitalised verb… expressions such as “ I’ll zoom you later!” will become regular a part of our everyday language.
We all of course hope and pray that life can get back to normal as soon as possible however until then video interviews whether we love them or hate them are very much part of our lives and job search.
Although on the surface a video interview might seem better than a normal face to face interview; it’s more convenient, no need to drive or catch the train, no need to worry about polishing your shoes or count the pennies and the pounds with the cost of travel. However, they do provide a different set of challenges when compared to a conventional interview. So to help you I’ve put together a short everything you need to know guide, giving you some top video interview tips to help you navigate through video interviews whether it’s on Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype.
The importance of the setup
Unlike in a regular interview where you have a chance to get to know the interviewer prior to the interview whether it’s small talking your way up to the interview room or just having an informal chat before the start. This important ritual of the job interview process has now been taken away. It would provide you the chance to shake off any nerves but also allow you to build rapport and show your personality, all of which are vital in helping you to land the job.
However as this is no longer the case and in a video call the interview pretty much starts straight away after the first hello and niceties, that vital small talk time has gone and it’s important to get it back! The way to do this in video interviews is to use the environment around you. Don’t be afraid to put a poster up, or a piece of art, something slightly funny, ironic or quirky that shows off your personality. Imagine putting a framed picture of Richard Madeley next to you on the table and I’m sure it will quirk the interviewers curiosity – “Is that a photo Richard Madeley?”. When that happens you can laugh about it and say that you put it there for a bit of fun and it will allow for the interviewer in that moment to see you as a human being, see aspects of your personality and engage in a little bit more small talk.
Having good lighting is very important, if you’re a millennial or Generation Z you probably already know this. You could be dressed in your finest clothes and look a million dollars in person but on camera it’s the lighting that plays a key part. So you might be asking “well what is good lighting in a video interview?” It’s really quite simple ensure that the light is in front of you and not coming from behind. The best way to achieve this type of lighting is to sit in front of a window. If in winter when the days are short aim to schedule your video interview during day light since natural light is much better than artificial light.
Head and Body Positioning
One of the biggest mistakes people make during their video interview is to sit to close to the camera. All the interviewer will see on their screen is an unnaturally large talking head. It will make you look more like a character from the cartoon Futurama than an actually human being. So therefore make sure that you’re far enough back from the camera so that your upper arms to elbows are visible from your seating position. This will make appear on camera as if you are sitting opposite the interviewer at a table just like in a real face to face interview. With your hands visible on camera from that position you will appear more expressive to the interviewer, which is a bonus especially is you’re someone who talks with their hands.
Make sure that before your video interviews that you test all your equipment this includes the hardware such as your mic and camera, as well as the software you’re going to use, such as Microsoft teams, Zoom or Skype on that particular device. If you prefer to use headphones with a combined mic, then again make sure you test them and also importantly make sure that when you move it doesn’t make too much static noise when you move around, this is something that as an interviewee you won’t notice during the interview but it would be something very irritating for the interviewer to have to listen to.
I recently had a client who’s internet speed would really suffer during a video call. We worked out that it was because so many people in the house were heavily using the Wi-Fi and internet during the call it impacted his video interview connection. Therefore if you know you have internet speed and bandwidth issues in your area make sure that your other devices in the house which are using the internet are turned off.
Angle of the Camera
Again this comes back to the lighting point I made earlier. Just like lighting can effect how flattering you look on camera, so does the camera angle it self. Again if you’re a instagramming millennial or a Tiktoking Generation Z, you probably already know this, but if you’re slightly older or not a general fan of taking a selfie or making videos you need to learn this for your upcoming interview. Ensure that your laptop is placed high enough so that it’s level with your face. Again so position in more natural and more flattering. If you’re finding that camera is too low (this particularly applies to laptops) put your laptop on top a few books or even a shoe box and the angle will be in alignment with your your face and body.
One of the big benefits of having a job interview over Zoom or Microsoft Teams is that in your preparation you can test your setup to find the optimal for you. Once you’ve found the optimal setup I would highly recommend conducting a mock interview with a friend, family member or even a coach to gather feedback no only your interview performance and ask their opinion of your setup.
By doing the following things you’ll find that your job interview performance whether over Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams will go up by a level or two and give your that important performance edge over the competition.