How to ace it on camera, we well as in person!

In the recent RE survey, 57% of respondents said that they had changed their hiring practices and processes as a result of Covid-19. Over 60% of those businesses surveyed reported that they would be introducing video interviewing, if they hadn’t already.

It seems increasingly unlikely recruiters or candidates will be meeting face to face any time soon.

Knowing how to showcase yourself on video, whether for a 1-way video application or for a live online interview, is key to getting your next job. Here’s how to ace it on camera.

Set the stage

“Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire” Dan Zevin

For video interviews it is still incredibly important to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism.

The ‘old rules’ still apply. Dress to impress. Working from home has made us more relaxed in our dress code; but for a job interview dressing smartly and professionally is still top priority.

Your backdrop should be tidy and neutral. If in doubt, go for ‘boring’ – a blank wall, or a row of books is far less distracting than gym equipment or guitars. Choose somewhere quiet with no background noise and check the lighting. Sit in front of a window, not with your back to one.

Banish kids, pets, partners for the duration. They shouldn’t be around while you’re in the spotlight.

Check the tech

Tech-head or not, you want to give the impression that you’re super-confident with technology for the hour of your interview.

Check upfront which video conferencing platform the interview will take place on. Install it on your laptop or iPad and then familiarise yourself with it. Have a practise with a member of your family or friend in another room. Make sure you know how to mute your microphone, and screen share if you want to show examples of your work or a portfolio. Use headphones if you have them.

If at all possible, use a PC, a laptop or a tablet for the interview. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is raised and that the screen is straight and not leaned back. This means that your eyes will be at camera level.

If you absolutely have to use your phone, don’t walk around with it – it will make your interviewer feel seasick.

Finally, close any apps you have open and put your mobile where you aren’t tempted to look at it. Turn off all notifications. Not only are they distracting for your interviewer, they are distracting for you.

Log on five minutes before your interview – being late isn’t acceptable especially now you can’t blame travel delays.

Rehearse

Interviews make people nervous. The key to controlling nerves is – do your homework and rehearse it thoroughly,

If you are lucky enough to receive interview questions in advance, you’ve been handed the keys to the kingdom. Review the employer’s website, read their mission statement, know their products and services, find out who their competitors are.  Know what the company stands for and where they are going. 

And then rehearse. Out loud and in front of a mirror. However painful it seems, you’ll come across far better in your video interview if you are used to seeing yourself talking. 

A great tip is to write your key experience, or questions you want to ask, on post-it notes and stick them around the edge of the screen. During the interview, keep a copy of your CV to hand but try not to refer to it. TV journalists always have their notes with them during interviews, but they rarely glance at them.

Smile for the camera

Body language is even more important in a video interview. You simply have to ‘perform more’. Just 7% of what we say is conveyed by the words used. 55% is conveyed by our body language – gesture, posture, facial expression. So – smile! It says you’re relaxed, confident and happy to be there.

40% of interviewers say they dismiss candidates simply because of a lack of smile.

Don’t hide your hands or fold your arms. Using gestures to reinforce what you’re saying is seen as a sign of openness by body language experts.

Maintaining eye contact in a video interview is the hardest nut to crack. You need to keep looking at the webcam not at your own image. This takes practise, so again, rehearsing to a mirror will help you to ‘ignore’ yourself.

Take a deep breath and – slow down. Nerves can make us gabble which makes it doubly hard to hear on video. Breathe slowly, take your time.

Be yourself

The best way to come across as warm, friendly, and professional is to be yourself. Speak as you would naturally and use words you feel comfortable with. Let the interviewer know that you are proud of your achievements –without sounding smug! – and enjoy being given the chance to talk about yourself for half an hour.

If you are –
Confident in your preparation, confident that you want the role, confident that your tech is going to work, confident that you won’t be interrupted mid-sentence – you should be looking forward to your video interview. Whether you feel the interview went well, or badly – keep a sense of perspective and your sense of humour.

Every interview is invaluable experience.

References:

Flexjobs.com, Sparkhire.com, JobHunt.org

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