Job interview tips: How to prepare for a video interview

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Hello COVID-19!

It goes without saying that this worldwide pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives, businesses and global economy. As a job seeker, one of those obvious changes has been the shift from face-to-face interviews to virtual interviews. Everything seems to be moving towards the digital realm, and we need to adapt to these changes.

We, as an Agency, much prefer an in-person interview for a host of reasons; but the primary one is human connection. We pride ourselves on developing solid, meaningful connections with our candidates – and video does have its limitations.

That being said, with an increasing trend in virtual interviews, we thought it helpful to provide some guidance on how to approach a video interview: – based off the past years’ interviews we’ve conducted:

Here’s a few things to remember when it comes to PREPARING for your video interview.

DRESS CODE:

Though your full body can’t be seen this is still a crucial aspect. Recruiters and companies want to see how you present yourself, regardless of the fact that it’s a virtual interview.

  • Look your smartest and show your most professional side. It is always better to overdress, than underdress for an interview.
  • “That first handshake is important! Please shake hands with a proper grip.” This obviously doesn’t apply when doing a video interview. So instead focus on your smile and eye contact. Especially when introducing yourself.

FUN TIP: Dress to match the company’s colours! Some studies have suggested that wearing colours that match the company’s branding, subconsciously creates associations that you’re already part of the company!

PUNCTUALITY:

BE EARLY! This is an absolute must! You’ve got to be ready to go the minute your interview was set for. We suggest you be ready and sitting in front of your screen fifteen minutes beforehand. This way you can have a moment to check your speakers, microphone, and camera position.

You want to avoid a murphy’s law whereby our computer or the app decides now is the perfect time to run an update! So, ensure you’ve got time to work out any kinks. We all know technology isn’t always our best friend.

If you are unavoidably delayed, call your consultant AND the company reception to let them know. Apologise, and give your expected time to start. Please ensure you apologise again once the interview begins.

SET UP:

Where you interview can have a big impact on the success of your interview.

Sound:

The interviewer needs to be able to hear you loud and clear, so please ensure you find a quiet spot where you can lock the door or where you won’t be disturbed.

  • Don’t have any music on in the background. And please no TV! It can be very distracting for both you and the interviewer.
  • If you’re interviewing at an internet café pick the most secluded spot at the café.
  • If in a café or nosier area, try using headphones. This allows for you to hear and be heard better.

Visual:

The interviewer needs to be able to see you clearly.

  • Ensure that the camera/webcam is not too close to your face. Your camera should allow your entire face to be seen and preferably even the top of your shoulders.
  • The angle of your camera is important too! Invest in a proper phone holder. Alternatively, get creative e.g. rest your phone against some books.
  • It’s better to have your device on a flat stable surface. It’s difficult to keep your arm steady holding your device especially when you’re trying to concentrate on your important interview!
  • If possible, try have a plain background or at least a background with as little distractions as possible. Avoid a distracting, busy background – this can detract the interviewer from what you’re saying.
  • Ensure your laptop or phone is charged. This is South Africa – thanks, load shedding. Double check the load shedding schedule on the day of your interview, because this might affect your internet connection. 
  • Cellphone service is a tricky one because it can be unpredictable sometimes – so do your best to be in a Wi-Fi zone or in a spot with great signal.
  • Lastly, do your best to have good lighting. No professional set up is needed. Just try to face towards a window so you get as much natural light as possible.

KEY TIP: Place a desk lamp on either side of your camera facing towards you. Have to have two lamps, otherwise it won’t work! Having a bright light on only one side of your camera will leave half your face in a shadow. No Zorros needed here!

FINAL KEY TIP: Do a practice call! You should be testing all your electronics beforehand. Having a glitch free interview shows your readiness and commitment to the interviewer. And this might just help you get the job!

FINAL CHECKS:

In conclusion, here’s a quick summary checklist to run through before your big interview.

Ensure that:

  1. You’ve dressed for the role.
  2. Your ‘interview space’ is ready and there are no distractions.
  3. You’ve checked the camera angle and lighting.
  4. You’ve checked that your volume is up, and that your microphone works.
  5. You’ve ensured no laptop/app updates are going to unexpectedly delay your interview.
  6. You’ve got battery and signal/service!
  7. You aren’t eating or doing anything else except concentrating on the interview. That includes no gum!

And finally, ensure you’re early so you’re ready and you’ve got time to test all your tech.

Now you’re ready to shine. Good luck! For tips on the actual interview, see our next blog coming out on the 18th of May 2021.

Megan Moffett

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