Due to the pandemic, video interviewing has become a very popular hiring tool among clients, with many adopting it as part of a ‘new normal’. Preparing for a video interview is somewhat similar to preparing for any other interview – the questions you will be asked and the way in which you should conduct yourself will be the same. You will, however, have to take some additional factors into consideration when video interviewing; learning how to use the hardware/software required, how to look presentable on camera, and how to maintain proper eye contact.
1. Maintain good eye contact
Confident eye contact is a key component to a successful job interview. This is obviously much more challenging to do via video. When you are speaking to someone on a video call, your eyes naturally want to focus on the face of your conversation partner. Depending on where their face is on your monitor and the location of your camera it may appear as if you are looking down or away.
You can avoid this by resizing and moving the window with the persons video image. Do a test with someone you know and move it about until it gives you the closest approximation to real human eye contact.
PRO TIP: Webcam eye contact can feel a bit awkward at first and a lot of people respond by overcompensating. Just try to relax and act as usual (blinking is allowed).
For those of you who find sustained eye contact uncomfortable, it can be useful to focus on one eye at a time, taking a few beats with each- Don’t dart your eyes around, find a nice, smooth, natural gaze.
2. Make sure to smile (but not too much)
Too much of a good thing can come across as creepy. Some confident, enthusiastic smiling is good – but it can easily cross the line into nervous or too-eager-to-please if overdone.
The smile is meant to be a tool to show that you’re a pleasant person to work with, you have reasonably good social awareness, and have a good dose of enthusiasm and confidence.
3. Control fidgeting and other nervous energy
We all have some nervous tics or twitches or distracting habits — it’s normal. But in a video interview, we really have to make a concerted effort to be aware of them and avoid them as much as possible. This is why we highly recommend recording yourself a few times to see what you’re doing and to become aware of anything that need toning down.
Some gestures and behaviours that are fine in person can be distracting on video. It could be super-animated hand movements, twirling your hair, touching your face, or tapping your fingers or feet.
Even more commonly, your nervous tic could be a verbal one — like saying “uh-huh” or “like” repeatedly.
Remember, we’re talking about little habits that you may not even be aware of. As a result, watching yourself on camera could be an eye-opener. You can break these nervous habits with a little preparation.
4. Calm your nerves
Almost everyone feels some nerves when preparing for a job interview. And the number one reason for nerves is fear of the unknown — it’s because you’re not sure what to expect.
Your head is spinning with questions like “Am I prepared enough?”, “Will they like me?” These questions add up to anxiety because you can’t have any certainty about the answer.
It only gets worse when you’ve been on a few interviews that didn’t pan out (especially if you’ve run into an evil interviewer or two). Candidates who aren’t teamed up with a recruitment agency rarely get any real feedback about why they weren’t chosen and some end up second-guessing every little moment. This anxiety can turn into a vicious spiral and sabotage all of your hard work.
A job interview is unlike any other professional conversation you might have. You can be perfectly well-spoken and confident in a typical business meeting, then feel your anxiety shoot off the charts when it’s time for a job interview.
Interviewing is a skill and, as with any other skill, you get better with practice. All the practice and prep you put in goes toward reducing nervousness, because once you have a handle on things – the stress goes down.
5. Optimize your posture and positioning
It’s important to be aware that there are some differences in ideal posture between an in-person interview and a video interview.
On the video, the interviewer will generally not be seeing your lower body or legs (if they can, you’re way too far away from the camera). This means you don’t have to worry too much about leg positioning. A nice neutral stance in your chair, with both feet on the ground, will be fine.
Sit upright and keep your back straight. Make sure you’re facing the camera, and not showing too much of the side angle. Adjust your chair to make sure you’re not too low or high in the frame.
6. Do a tech run-through
Technology can be unpredictable, so it’s smart to do a complete run-through of all the tech stuff at least an hour ahead of your video interview.
Here’s a quick check-list:
Clear your desk/interview-space of extraneous things and simply have your CV in front of you and a notepad for jotting things down.
Check your lights, and test if you have any light glares on your webcam.
Check your webcam and mic and optimize software settings.
Check your internet connection and ensure it’s strong. For video interviews, you’ll ideally want a connection speed in the 10Mbps range (or better). To test your connection speed, you can use online tests like Ookla Speedtest
Your browser should just have your email, the company website, maybe the LinkedIn profile of the person you’re interviewing with, maybe an interesting and recent piece of news about the company/industry.
7. Control other distractions you might have
Keep adults, children, and pets away. Yes, we’re all human and we all have lives, but try to plan ahead for these contingencies. And of course, if something really is unavoidable, you can:
Apologize, address it very briefly, and move on.
Mute your mic or blank your webcam for a moment and feign technical difficulties.
At VANRATH we give detailed interview preparation to all of our candidates which is unrivalled in the local market. This will significantly increase your chances of success. To speak with one of our consultants, phone 028 9033 0250 or e-mail email@example.com.
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