The COVID-19 outbreak has set off a series of dramatic social changes. Face masks have become unexpected fashion items. The simple act of eating in a restaurant has become a nostalgic luxury. Families have started to get to know each other much, much better.
The coronavirus has also changed our daily vocabulary. Terms like “social distancing” and “pandemic” have suddenly become prominent parts of our day-to-day language. In the business world, we can add another newly popular phrase: “video interviews.”
As companies scrambled to react to new coronavirus restrictions, many of them suddenly became reliant on remote workers and video conferencing. This is true for their recruiting efforts as well. Firms could no longer bring candidates into the office for a traditional face-to-face. They had to lean on remote methods to make their hiring decisions.
As a job seeker, this means you have to make some adjustments. The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the transition, but video interviews will likely become a permanent part of the job-search process. As a result, you’ll need to update your interview skills to thrive in the new world of remote hiring.
Here are a few steps you can take to upgrade your ability to shine during a video interview:
Check Your Tech
You might not notice it as its happening, but a video interview represents a secret test of your ability to operate technology. For an in-person meeting, you can just show up. For the video version, you need to flex your tech skills as well. It may seem like a small thing, but if you have trouble connecting, or spend the first five minutes of the interview on mute, it will likely count against you when the hiring decision comes.
As such, make sure you know what you are doing ahead of time. Practice with the specific software you are going to use for a particular interview. Check your microphone and webcam. Confirm that your Internet connection is stable and strong enough. Shut down any other programs you have running on your computer, so they don’t interfere with the software you are using for the meeting. Don’t leave anything to chance when the interview comes.
Pick the Right Spot
Remote interviews give potential employers a glimpse into your home. Leave them with a good impression. Think about where you set up your computer. Clean up your surroundings and double-check that everything that shows up on camera is something you wouldn’t mind your future boss seeing. (So, no laundry hanging on doorknobs, for instance.) You can also let your interview background communicate something about you. For example, if you want to underline your intelligence, frame your shelf of business books just over your shoulder.
At the same time, guarantee that you have the peace and quiet, you need to conduct a successful interview. Find a spot away from noise and distractions. Ensure your privacy, so that you won’t be interrupted by family members or pets.
Know Your Interviewers
Interviews are about making a connection with a potential employer. This is as true for a video interview as it is for the traditional in-person version. The technology puts a possible barrier between you and the people you will be meeting. That means you might have to put in extra work to form that interpersonal link.
Prepare by learning about your interviewers. Find out who will be included in the meeting and conduct some background research. This way, they will represent more to you than tiny images on your screen.
Treat It Like a “Real” Job Interview
Remote interviews can sometimes feel a bit casual. After all, you’re in your home…it’s easy to get a little too comfortable. The process makes it difficult to re-create the formal tone of an in-person meeting held in a corporate conference room. Even so, the usual rules of an interview apply. Dress appropriately. Stay off your phone (and put it on silent mode). Keep some paper and a pen nearby to take notes.
Meanwhile, remember your basic communication skills. Maintain eye contact with your interviewers (or at least as much virtual eye contact as possible). Use body language and gestures to indicate engagement. Bottom line: stay present and keep focused. Don’t let the video aspect lull you into making an avoidable mistake.
Video interviews will likely become an increasingly popular part of the recruiting process. The COVID-19 outbreak gave them an important safety component. But even without the virus, video interviews give companies more scheduling flexibility and can often save time and hassle for both sides of the conversation. By following a few simple rules, you can still impress potential employers and land that perfect job.