As we will have all experienced, the COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to adapt and evolve their operating model across a wide range of processes. Moving to a remote workforce is of course the most obvious to us all, but it has also heavily impacted recruitment processes. Interviews have become digital processes and meeting new colleagues a virtual concept. This period has allowed employers to test video recruitment technology and methods and embed these into their current and future recruitment processes. Video interviewing is becoming more commonplace in organisations where streamlining hiring strategies and getting the best talent irrespective of location become key priorities.
Improving your video interview skills is a critical component of your future career toolkit. Even the ‘first’ interview that was typically held over the phone, will likely be a video interview moving forward. The benefits are obvious for both parties in better evaluating the candidates fit for both the role and the organisation. Here are our 6 tips to successfully prepare for your next video interview be it a first or a final stage interview.
As always, make sure you give the right first impression. Dress as if it were a face-to-face interview and look professional. Don't make the mistake of thinking the interviewer will only see your face or ‘top half’ so the rest doesn't matter. It’s important you prepare yourself fully, above anything else, this will also put you in the right frame of mind and ready for success.
Pay attention to where you locate yourself for the video interview. Choose a quiet room, with a neutral and tidy background that portrays the right image. Don’t use the blurred or themed background features available on some video applications, just choose the right location. Try and have a setting with natural light and limit any interference by closing windows and warning housemates or family members. If you're using your laptop, make sure it is plugged in and close any apps that might distract you or interfere with the interview. Remember to turn off your mobile and other devices that may give notifications, just as you would for a face-to-face interview.
Although video provides greater interaction than a telephone interview, your posture, mannerisms and expressions are still more difficult to judge than in real life. They are further highlighted by the fact you are the focal point on the screen so you have to work at building a rapport with the interviewer in what is an unnatural setting. Where possible have your setup so that your video is a thumbnail at the bottom of your screen (or remove it entirely) and the interviewer is centre screen. This will make it easier to keep eye contact with the interviewer and not look at yourself or have your eyes wandering around the screen. Make sure your arms and hands appear on screen as this allows you to will give a more accurate depiction of your true self. Above all, show that your enthusiasm and smile and pay attention to your non-verbal communications such as hand movements and expressions.
For video interviews it can be tempting to use notes or similar as prompts for the desired answers to may have prepared. If you plan on using prompts, make them short. Write only keywords and reference them subtly as a checklist, only if you need to. Do not write long sentences and certainly avoid reading anything. Be natural and try to reference any notes sparingly, once again, when you are the focus, such actions become highlighted.
Turn on Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or any other such application and practice conversing with yourself about yourself. Even better do a test with a family member, friend or colleague. Get as familiar and comfortable with presenting yourself digitally and finessing your narrative. Don't forget to test the equipment and prepare your setting. We all have been in calls where a participants mic or video didn't work and you don't want this to be you when it matters most.
Having judged how the interview has gone, the end can can be an opportunity to be more personal and show more of your personality. You can use this point to adopt a slightly more relaxed attitude, while retaining the professional image conveyed during the interview. You can for example, take advantage of these last moments to bring up more informal topics, be it the about the city where the offices are located, local transport networks or social events, while always keeping a positive tone.
Fundamentally, this is a job interview like any other, and the old rules also apply with preparation being the key to success. Learn about the company, the position and be clear and convincing with your motivations, your strengths and your weaknesses. The added layer of video can be challenging to master as with any new skill, but following these steps will help you land your next job in sport.
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