How to put your best foot forward whilst video interviewing

To Zoom It May Concern: 5 Things To Avoid When Video Interviewing

Since last March I’ve witnessed a dramatic rise in clients conducting virtual interviews as part of their recruitment and talent processes. With the new lockdown taking hold in the UK it looks like this isn’t set to change any time soon, with many clients wanting to adopt it as standard practice for first stage interviews moving forward.

I’m sure that many of you will be spending your days on Teams calls and then maybe even jumping into a Zoom call with your friends and family at the weekend so you think you’re a pro… Chances are though you probably aren’t! This blog isn’t here to tell you how to conduct the perfect virtual interview as every interview is different, however there are a number of pitfalls to look out for and I’ve pulled together some helpful tips to hopefully set you on your way to virtual interview success.

1. Your Environment

Pick somewhere quiet (not always easy when home-schooling!) with a neutral background to avoid distractions for the interviewer, and yes: this includes cleaning – you want them looking at you, not your pile of dirty washing in the background. Next, choose somewhere with great lighting – I am not expecting to you to be the next YouTube blogger but your set up shouldn’t be so dark & dingy that they can’t see you, or too bright that you turn into Casper the luminescent ghost. Try and sit with the light behind or to the side of the camera and you should be good. Finally, make sure that your pets are somewhere they won’t be scratching at the door and distracting you (during lockdown, many pets have developed as much separation anxiety with their owners as their owners have with hand gel)

2. Setting up

Make sure you are somewhere with good Wi-Fi – there’s nothing worse than being deep in flow of your greatest achievement and cutting out. Also, position the camera a reasonable distance away and in your eyeline. Ideally use a laptop over your phone but if you have to, put it on a stand and do not walk around with it –you want to avoid a shaky camera giving the interviewer sea sickness. Top Tip: If using your phone it zooms in to the other persons screen dramatically which isn’t a good look for anyone.

3. Dress code

Yes, even in your home, wear formal interview clothes. Even if it is just on your top half with your comfies on the bottom. Although, the general rule of thumb is if you’ve dressed up you will have the right attitude and be in a better frame of mind.

4. During the call

“sorry… what did you say”, “no, no, you go”- these are the dreaded words that ruin the flow of a conversation and make things awkward, to avoid this try not to speak over the interviewer and take your time to avoid any lag. Although it may be tempting to look at yourself and see how good you look try not to stare at your little picture the whole time, keep eye contact by looking directly at the camera and avoid looking around the room as it looks like you are distracted. If you are presenting during your interview and will be sharing your screen, close all other webpages, emails and social media. Finally, have a glass of water next to you just in case.

5. Be Prepared

Just like any interview, video or not, you need to be prepared. The beauty of a video call is you can have notes in front of you. I would avoid preparing a copy of war and peace to avoid obviously reading your notes word for word but have some triggers around you. Do they have values? Write them down to remind you to reference! Don’t presume because it’s a video call it is casual – always find out what to prepare for and what to expect. Finally, know the platform it will be on, make sure it is downloaded on your computer and you know how to work it! Ask a friend or family member for a test run beforehand, and don’t assume that because you use Teams every day you’ll know how Zoom works.