The changed environment and work culture of the past year pushed communications and interviews towards alternative platforms, and it seems to be staying that way. At Orbis, we actively encourage our network to continue utilising video interviews to quicken processes and provide a more fluid experience for both themselves and for those they’re in.
As we continue to interview for new roles virtually, it’s worth brushing up on some best practice. Whilst we may be used to the habit of digital meetings and even socialising, when it comes to an interview don’t underestimate the advantages you’ll gain from a bit of preparation beforehand; not all of us were born vloggers or YouTube stars.
We’ve gathered our best bits of advice so you can boss your next video call, whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee.
Freshen up, wear something smart and grab a glass of water to keep in reach for the interview.
Keep your notes in front of you. Clicking between the video call, interview notes or CV is going to be tricky whilst maintaining a solid conversation and flow.
Try to avoid typing any notes, as this can be picked up on the microphone and be distracting for everyone on the call.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you wear glasses or have a glass window behind you, the reflection might be seen.
Set up in a quiet, neutral space with good lighting. Avoid any distractions and background noise
The dogs are barking at a cat in the garden and the kids are going berserk, whilst the TV flashes eye-catching adverts at you – It’s not an ideal environment to be in for a job interview. Not only will it be difficult to communicate effectively, it’s also extremely distracting. You wouldn’t attend an interview in this setting in person so it shouldn’t be the case for a video interview either.
It’s worth looking ahead and avoiding any potential interruptions. Close unwanted software programmes and turn off notifications and pop ups.
Recreate a professional space that allows you to focus. Gather some alone time, a plain wall for a background and some earphones that’ll enable you to hear better.
Test your set up and log in early. Tech will often find a way to malfunction and throw you off, especially when it matters most. This includes your PC, microphone, camera, speaker and any other bits of tech you have. Test it first well in advance of the interview time.
Practice talking to the camera
Fight any fears you may have of the camera and call your colleagues, friends and family using your webcam.
Become comfortable with watching yourself speak on camera or learn how to hide your thumbnail. Sometimes it’s easy for people to stare at themselves and not the person they’re speaking to.
Position the window just below your camera so you can look directly at them. It’s a visual meeting, so eye contact is important.
The key is to test your set up, gain confidence and comfort to help ensure you’re not a rabbit caught in headlights, but a complete natural on video.
Do your research
Despite having your notes in front of you, make sure you’ve done your research. It’s easy to notice when someone is ill prepared for a meeting.
It’s much more engaging if you can represent a genuine interest in the conversation and any background information that could have been investigated beforehand.
Use the right software and features
If you need to demonstrate work (for example: live coding demonstrations, presenting case studies or portfolios) you can use the screenshare feature on most platforms.
Check and test how you can do this before the interview so you can present fluidly.
Ask specific questions
Demonstrate your commitment and interest with some prepared questions. You could keep these on a post-it note stuck to your screen. It’s important to gain insight and knowledge on anything that matters most to you within the job at hand.
And finally, one last tip – leave a 2 second pause after speaking to allow for any lag in the video feed and to give others the opportunity to speak or ask any questions.
Video Platform Troubleshooting Tips
- Make sure you are using the latest version of Chrome, FireFox or Safari depending on your device.
- If you have an issue with your camera, check if the camera works on a different browser. For instance, if you are using Firefox check if it works with Chrome instead.
- Make sure that the right camera is selected.
- Does the camera work in Google’s WebRTC demo: https://apprtc.appspot.com.
- Does the camera work in Skype or Photobooth.
- Run a bandwidth test at http://speedtest.net. Make sure that the bandwidth is over 350kbps upload and download.