16.11.2020

How to video interview like a pro

Virtual Insanity 

Imagine the scene…It’s October 2019 and you’re going about your daily business, blissfully unaware of the impending dystopia awaiting, and ungratefully accustomed to the creature comforts of mask-free shopping, and carefree social gatherings. You might use FaceTime if you’re down with the kids, but your Skype account has sat dormant since that time in 2005 when you thought it would be fun to video call your great aunt Nora in Australia! 

Fast forward 6 months and you’re catapulted into world-war-weird, where you barely leave the house, and the majority of your social interactions now involve talking to a computer screen.  

Fortunately, us Humans are an adaptable bunch, and amidst all the chaos, you can now lead conversations about the pros and cons of Zoom or Microsoft Teams. You’ve orchestrated virtual quizzes (whilst pretending to be sober), and you’ve played remote bingo with every Nan and her dog! 

Ok maybe that was just me, but it’s safe to say that the majority of us are now much more accustomed to video calling in some shape or form. For those of you who were unfortunate enough to lose your job this year however, you will now also be experiencing the unchartered world of virtual recruitment. Drunken quizzes and bingo with Barbara were one thing, but that same Zoom call now stands in the way of you getting back into work!  

Some of the most qualified people I have spoken to this year have struggled with the art of the video interview. So, for those of you still fighting the good fight, I have included some of my top tips below: 

Home-field advantage: This may be your first time out of work for many years, and so it’s only natural to feel a little rusty, or even nervous when sitting through your first video interview. But as they say here in England…your home is your castle! So what better place to make your stand! No more rushing round to find the location or waiting awkwardly in the lobby. You’re the boss in this building, so keep that in mind and draw comfort from your surroundings 

Dress rehearsal: As the saying goes…We are what we repeatedly do! There is no substitute for practice if you want things to go well on the day. I highly recommend familiarising yourself with the technology first and foremost. Record yourself speaking about your strengths and expertise, arrange video calls with friends and family in the run up to your interview, or ask your consultant for support with the specific interview platform or questions 

Set the scene: Spielberg would not have got far if all his movies were filmed in an engine room with the lights off. Call this one stating the obvious, but it’s important that you find a bright, quiet, and professional setting in which to hold your interview. Choose a location with adequate lighting, avoid unnecessary interruptions, and position your camera to take centre stage! You want to electrify your interviewer with your answers, not your dog’s best singing voice! 

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: If you have not prepared for an interview, then it’s clearly not the right job for you. I like to think the right balance for any new opportunity worth having should be around a 70:30 split. As in 70% of the job spec is a perfect match for your skill set, while 30% is outside of your current expertise or comfort zone. So even if you are an expert at your current role, there should still be a good bit of preparation involved to show you have what it takes to develop further in your next role. A word to the wise…USE YOUR CONSULTANT HERE! There is nobody better placed to give you the insider information you need, and any good consultant worth their salt should be well placed to put you through your paces pre-interview (If they haven’t done already). I might regret saying this but ’d happily help anybody out there prepare for an interview, even if you’re not interviewing for my job! 

Out of sight, but not out of mind: There’s a reason why TV presenters use teleprompters! There’s nothing wrong with shooting from the hip and expressing yourself freely, but there’s nothing worse than leaving an interview having missed the opportunity to share crucial pieces of information. One of the best things about video interview is the interviewer can only see what’s behind you. Take advantage of the foreground by attaching prompts that remind of key points or topics. Remember you want to maintain eye contact so only use short reminders and avoid reading from scripts! 

Look the part: Let your words do the talking not your shirt! Interviewing from home may feel informal, but it is important to dress as you would for a face to face interview. If your spirit animal is a Peacock, then choose your socks accordingly! 

Prepare to engage: Although video interviews can often feel more relaxed, it can sometimes be harder to truly engage with the employer. It’s important then to sit upright and try to maintain a good level of eye contact. The software itself may often flicker or buffer slightly from time to time, causing you to miss the odd word, cues to talk, or facial expressions.  Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you do miss something (this can actually be a good little trick to buy an extra second of thinking time before you answer, providing you don’t use too often)! 

Journey Vs Destination: This may be the longest you have ever been out of work, and the stresses and strains may inevitably be building, but this is no time for quitting.  Be mindful, what can you learn from this situation, what positives can you take, how far have you come, and how much stronger will you be when you get through it. If you can harness the mindset to turn a negative situation in a positive outcome then you may achieved more this year than you anticipated! 

MY ULTIMATE TIP: Don’t be a stranger! I spend upwards of 10 hours most days helping people in the same boat as you. So on behalf of the whole team here at Optima I would like to extend you an invite to give us a call anytime, or check out our new Website to find out how we can help.
Posted by: Optima Recruitment 0 comment(s)

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