WRITTEN BY Rebecca Pertzsch ON April 24, 2020
Microsoft Teams, RingCentral, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, and many other types of video interviews have seen rising popularity due to current conditions. However, this electronic process of video interviewing has been in practice for quite some time and is expected to continue as an integral part of the recruiting process.
In response, our Talent Acquisition team at Pie would like to share our favorite video interviewing tips. We hope that they help you in your next online interview.
Unintended distractions are the Achilles heel of a video interview as they distract both you and the interviewer(s). When face-to-face, we share in the distraction, so we break from the conversation at the same time. However, in a video interview, interviewers may not know or understand why you are not focused. Before launching your video interview, make sure to close out of all programs, documents, pop-up notifications, ringers, etc. Most of all, find a location where you can be isolated from as many distractions as possible.
A private, tidy, quiet room with a neutral background, is preferable. Take a good look at what is visible. You may not immediately notice what is in the background, but your interviewer will. Another option is to create a professional background that shows the interviewer that you have taken time to create an organized workspace which allows you to work effectively, and professionally, remotely.
Avoid sitting in front of a sunlit window, which causes glare. And try not to use overhead fluorescent or incandescent lighting as it can create harsh shadows. If possible, place a table lamp roughly three feet from either side of your screen to illuminate your face. Most importantly, avoid backlighting as it will darken and hide your features.
Look at the camera and not the screen during video interviews. It does not feel natural at first however, this is the only way it appears that you are making eye contact and are engaged. Also, always position your camera at, or just above eye-level, and not below as no one wants to be looked down upon. Then, raise your chin slightly and look directly into the camera. Most of all, smile!
We also recommend that you frame yourself from the chest or waist up. Picture a triangle from the top of your head to your mid-chest or high waist… that should be the focal point.
You always want to look your best for any interview so, just because you are not in an office setting does not mean you should not look, and dress, professionally. Avoid loud colors and busy prints, which can be distracting. Dark blue and other subtle solids are your best bet. Keep makeup natural-looking and avoid too much jewelry as it can also be distracting.
As a rule, it is best to dress exactly as if you were going for the interview in person. This can have a strong effect on your mindset, and if you are too comfortable in the shorts or sweatpants you are sporting out of the camera frame (as far as you know), that will come through in your attitude and speech. The right clothes give you the professional confidence you will need to ace the interview and impress the interviewer.
Always be aware of both your verbal and non-verbal communication. Even though you may be “framed”, interviewers will still notice your body move as you shake your leg under the table. Just as with an in-person interview, you want to ensure that you keep an open and welcoming posture.
Avoid too many gestures as they do not always stay in frame, could cause you to knock over your computer (or worse, hot coffee) and, they do not always work as intended or, in the same way they would have in person.
As with any job interview, preparation is key. This is particularly true when you have limited time to share your experiences, as is usually the case with video interviews. If you are confident in your knowledge of the company, the job, yourself, etc., then the more comfortable and confident you will be during the interview and, that will certainly come across.
Reading from your notes or a prepared script will make your answers sound rehearsed, insincere, and any eye movements, while reading, are a clear and noticeable distraction. Speak from memory just like you would at an in-person interview. If you need to write down a few highlights, jot them down and, if necessary, let the interviewer know that you wrote down a few questions or notes that you would like to refer to.
Do a trial run with a friend using the technology. Ensure that you have a good, reliable router/internet connection, lighting, audio/sound level, camera access is off until you turn it on (this can be embarrassing!) your power cord reaches an outlet nearby, you have installed the apps/plug-ins or software correctly (there are different requirements for Mac’s vs. PC’s), you have tried out the chat feature to ensure you can communicate with the interviewer in the event you are having any difficulties, etc.
Technology is not perfect and there is a chance there could be a lag, which causes an echo if you are not wearing headphones. Headphones also improve sound quality and help block out distracting noises.
Also, DO NOT rely on a Wi-Fi connection from a coffee shop or unfamiliar location; this could create login issues, lag time, and dropped feeds. All showing a lack of preparedness for the interview.
If you join too early, you may potentially interrupt another interview or meeting. Now, you do not want to be late either however, with video interviews, right on time (one minute early) is just about right. If you have tested the technology, joining the meeting a minute or two prior to it starting is appropriate. Often these meetings are set to go for a limited amount of time, so joining too early could take away from the time you get to spend with the interview before “your time is up”.
Pie Consulting & Engineering is a leading global provider of building and forensic science services who provides a comprehensive and diverse range of engineering, rehabilitative design, consulting, enclosure commissioning (BECx), construction management, and field performance testing services. As a new subsidiary of Lerch Bates, Inc. (www.lerchbates.com), Pie services its development, design, construction, insurance/claims, and legal professional clients globally from our headquarters in Colorado and multiple regional offices strategically positioned throughout the nation. To learn more, visit www.pieglobal.com.