Interviewing online? Here are some key dos and don’ts to remember.
If you’ve searched for a role in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that things have changed. Thanks to COVID and the rise of digital everything, video interviews have become the new norm – with 79% of hiring managers conducting video interviews regularly as of January 2021 (pre-pandemic, only 22% of employers did this!). As we enter the second year of the pandemic that number has only increased.
It’s a win if you like dressing casually from the waist down – hello, sweatpants – but if you usually rely on in-person body language to win your interviewer over, this new virtual world could put you at a loss… especially if you’re not as tech-savvy as you’d like to be.
But don’t worry! We’re here to help. Here are 5 tips to bring you up to speed on video interview etiquette.
1. Know your angles.
If you’ve ever taken a selfie, you know that camera angles matter! This is especially true when it comes to video interviews. Though it’s hard to recreate the same atmosphere as an in-person interview, it can be helpful to keep it as similar as possible. If you’re too close, too far, positioned off-center, or sitting in a dark corner, the conversation might feel awkward – just as it would if you did the same in real life.
So, find a good light source, turn your camera on and place it at eye-level. You may need to get creative to achieve this, but something as simple as a cardboard box on your desk can help you reach the right height. Then, try to look at your camera (or close to it) while you’re speaking. This will make it seem like you’re making eye contact with your interviewer – and since 55% of messages processed by the brain are based on a person’s body language, good eye contact will ensure you appear confident and likeable.**
**In some countries, intense eye contact is considered rude, so use your discretion depending on where you’re interviewing.
2. Consider your background.
In traditional interviews, you’re not usually in charge of the environment around you – but with virtual meetings, it’s a different story. It might seem obvious to make yourself look professional, but many candidates forget to do the same for their background. Believe us, it’s worth it to clean up the dirty laundry in the corner (or at least move it out of view!) before signing on for your call.
Depending on the app you’re using to interview, you may have access to helpful filters that can hide the room behind you and provide a bit more privacy. On Zoom, the “blur background” feature can be a lifesaver – or if you’d rather select a photo to act as your backdrop, that’s an option too. Just test it out first to ensure it’s not distracting!
3. Take advantage of your notes.
It may take some time to get used to online interviews, but one huge perk of them is that you can have unseen notes by your side. Whether you jot company facts down on a nearby piece of paper, or you use an app on your computer to type out tips, it’s helpful to prep a “cheat sheet” before your meeting.
Think about common interview questions that you struggle with. Then, brainstorm potential answers ahead of time and write down key points to keep you on track. If you feel stuck at any moment during your interview, you can quickly glance at your notes to get back on track. Remember, you can always ask to circle back to a question later, too!
4. Adjust your sound and settings.
7 in 10 candidates claim to have missed out on a job opportunity due to technology problems during a video interview. Don’t let that be you! Though some technical difficulties can’t be predicted, most issues can be solved with a simple test ahead of time.
Take 10-15 minutes for a microphone, webcam and sound check. If it’s easier, call a friend and have them advise you on volume, internet connection, and voice quality. A lot of problems can be solved by playing with your settings – but if you really can’t get things to work, consider investing in some quality headphones or heading to a nearby spot with better Wi-Fi.
5. Double check your time zones.
Video calls are great for connecting with people who are far away, but it also means that different time zones come into play. When you have your interview booked, make sure that you and your interviewer are on the same page if there’s a time difference. If you’re not sure, there is no harm in asking! However, there might be a problem if you assume and show up late.
Additionally, try to give yourself a buffer period before and after your interview so that you aren’t rushing to join or leave the call. This will also give you a chance to ensure you have the right link to your virtual meeting room. Try clicking it and make sure it works – if not, send a quick message to your recruiter to let them know.
That does it for today’s lesson on video call etiquette! We hope this helps you feel prepared for your upcoming interview, and we wish you the very best of luck. Reminder, the Pivot + Edge Talent Network is a great way to get access to free candidate resources and job seeker tips. We’re always sharing our top career insights, job postings and all the latest news from our team – and we can’t wait to connect with you!