Video interviews have been happening long before many of us were asked to stay at home, but the more traditional face-to-face interviews were more popular and made options like telephone and video interviews unlikely in comparison. However, virtual interviews make it possible for us to still look for jobs, even during the pandemic we are currently facing. Without job seeking going completely virtual, there wouldn’t be any way we could find and start new jobs during this time, especially in ‘non-essential’ sectors. This opportunity has allowed more and more people to get online and attend interviews from the safety of their own homes. Because of this, I think virtual opportunities will be around long after the pandemic has ended, but how do we prepare for a video interview?
Virtual interview platforms
Over the last year or so, we’ve seen platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft teams become very popular and we even use them in our day to day activities, for both work and personal use. Skype has been something many of us have used for years, but the introduction to other platforms has meant there are many new ways we can communicate with each other. Unfortunately, this has also made it easier to slip up and make mistakes when using them professionally. With new technology, comes new ways to make a slight fool out of yourself!
Zoom for example, gives us the opportunity to change our background, use funny names for quizzes and many other great features. However, some people may have learnt the hard way, that if you forget to update your name or background, it will simply use the one you used last! This can be slightly embarrassing if you’ve used a joke name for a family quiz night!
The move to home offices
Working from home means some of us have steered away from conventional office styles. Where some people are able to have a home office, with a room to themselves, a desk and an appropriate backdrop; it’s just not possible for everyone. Some people might just not have the space or the resources to be able to create a space like this at home. However, one very important thing about having a video interview is having a quiet and professional looking space to talk to the interviewer.
Most employers will understand the situation but if you can, try and have your interviews in a well-lit room, where you can talk privately with the interviewer. The last thing you need is someone interrupting you. Another thing to think about is your background. Try to sit at a table and somewhere with a clear background that won’t distract you or the interviewer.
You want to look professional
There has probably been a time in the past year where you’ve only gotten half dressed. As much as your pyjama bottoms may be comfortable, there’s something about getting ready and dressed for an interview that makes it all seem a bit more serious. Afterall, they do say to dress for the job you want!
Wear what you normally would to an interview and make sure you look presentable. You can still wear your slippers under the table, but if you’re not going to put on that new suit or dress now, then when? It can help with your confidence and help you feel more prepared.
Always test your technology
It’s annoying enough when your laptop decides to be super slow on a Monday morning, but I can guarantee, it will be even more frustrating if your tech gives out just before you are meant to log onto a virtual interview.
It might be a good idea to turn on your laptop, check your WIFI and get the software loaded and running about an hour before you’re meant to start your interview. This way, everything is sorted and if not, you can let them know with loads of time to spare. I’d also highly recommend keeping your laptop plugged in, you never know when it’s going to run out of battery!
You should still prepare yourself
Just because you have a computer in front of you, doesn’t mean you should necessarily depend on that to give you all the answers. You should prepare for a video interview in the same way you would for any other interview.
Do your research, write up some notes if needed and keep these with you. It’s also handy to have a notepad at the ready as well. Although typing might seem like a more efficient way of typing notes, it can take your attention away from the person on screen. Eye contact is still very important. Plus, it’s also likely that they can hear you typing away and this could be distracting.
Different stages of interviews
In the past, it wasn’t likely that you would have all stages of the interview process done virtually, but at this point in time, we don’t really have much choice. Recruitment is happening everywhere, people are still hiring and looking for the right engineers every day and they can’t do that without virtual interview processes.
Being able to adapt and get used to these new processes will help you profoundly in your job search. Being able to adapt, learn and overcome is something that a lot of employers are looking for. So being able to prepare yourself well and get on board with virtual hiring, can help you persuade an employer that you are, in fact, the right candidate for them.
Some things never change
There are, however, some things about interviews that will never change. You need to be memorable, prepare yourself and dress and act appropriately in order to impress the interviewer. You also want to thank them and spend some time preparing a follow up email or call. Let them know that you are interested at all times and share your excitement for the role.
Employers are still interested in these things, so don’t miss out because you don’t think they are valuable actions anymore!