Preparing for your best video interview
"I've had to adjust a bit, but it's better than I thought. However, it is a lot more exhausting because you have to use your other senses more strongly. I am a human being who likes to be among people, so this channel is not ideal for me, although I also see a lot of advantages. I am very curious about what the future will bring."
Wondering who said this? Read on!
I won't keep you in suspense: it was me. I'm Marie Van Volcem, Recruitment Consultant at YouConnect, a niche recruitment partner for Legal & HR professionals. Let me put this team number to you: 24 460. This is the number of selection interviews on the YouConnect team counter. At YouConnect, we have also seen a recent increase in video interviews. This is a hot topic everywhere. Covid-19 has led to a massive increase in the need for video interviews. Video interviews were already on the rise, though, we know that for sure. Is it a booming business? I don't know. Using this channel provides greater flexibility and increased efficiency that face-to-face meetings can't really compete with.
So, I would like to share my experiences regarding the proper use of this channel. I have daily meetings with (senior) HR experts. They are seasoned professionals in their field. Are they equally professional when it comes to using video technology? Not at all. That prompted me to write this blog, with valuable tidbits for even the experts.
- Preparation - Check and check again.
Sound? Check. Picture? Check?
Today there is a range of platforms for video interviews. The ones you have likely heard of are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, Slack, WebEx, and Skype for business (which will disappear in summer 2021).
- When using specific platforms, it is essential first to install the program and software. The preparation for using the platform is at least as important as the preparation for the conversation itself (maybe even more important). After all, you are dependent on technology. You have to make sure you have mastered it, not that it has mastered you. My advice: do a test run with, for example, a friend or family member, and test the following:Image quality
- Sound quality
- Illumination (tip: light source at the front, not at the back)
Choose a background that is as neutral as possible. That means, not a background with overflowing laundry baskets, scattered legos, or family portraits. The interviewer should be focused on you, with no distractions. Certain programs allow you to 'blur' the background, but that is likely to affect your internet connection.
Dress professionally. Preferably choose something plain. Patterns will really stand out on the screen. Wear a complete outfit – no sweatpants from the waist down!
- Ask in advance what language you will have the interview in
- Practice and practice. Check and check again.
As mentioned, video interviewing is on the rise. Many of us are not (yet) totally familiar with this form of new technology. The bad news is that this technology can 'ruin' everything. The good news is that you can learn this technology inside and out. How? By practising. Talking and looking into a camera is only a little bit different from conducting a live interview. Recording yourself is very valuable. You check your body language ("Help, is that really me?") and make sure you speak clearly enough ("Help, is that my voice?"). An extra advantage is that this helps decrease your stress level for when the real interview happens.
What is good to know:
- Look into the camera and not the centre of your screen. This is not easy but has a positive impact on 'real' eye contact. It would help if you also smiled in your video interview.
- Don't look at yourself (at the bottom there is a small image of yourself, and yes, of course, we are curious about how we look).
- If you want to take notes, be sure to mention this to the other party.
- Stay focused, and don't be distracted by other things. This is a job interview.
- Turn off your cell phone. If you are expecting a package, leave a note at the door, so the delivery person doesn't try to call you.
- Inform your roommates.
- Tips for the real thing.
Even when you have covered all of the above perfectly, you are still at the mercy of technology in the moment itself. Technical problems or problems with your internet connection can occur at any time. In these situations, it is vital to stay calm. Here too, proper preparation will help you to keep calm.
- Preferably work via cable (which is more stable than wi-fi). Disable all other devices that use the internet.
- Make sure that you have alternative contact details at hand, such as a telephone number or email address.
- Have some water to drink.
- Be early – not just on time. Early birds always end up first in line.
- If you have subsequent video interviews, make sure to have free time in between.
Consider, as a variation, a standing interview. This gives you a much stronger and more active posture. And this is great when you're trying to impress someone else.
Want to have a discussion? Want to know more? Let's Connect!
Marie Van Volcem
+32 476 89 09 12