Succeed in Virtual Interviews with these easy tips
Virtual interviews are anything but a new phenomenon in the world of hiring. Most companies that use hybrid workforce models in the world and have a multinational presence are used to video communication. However, with Covid bringing the future of work closer to everyone’s doorsteps, hiring teams have had to quickly learn & master video interviewing as a new norm to protect employees & candidates. This change has also been felt by candidates who have had to shift to this new way of engaging with recruiters & proving themselves worthy of a new job. This piece is thus for both recruiters and interviewees as a way to help you get the most out of your session. But first, check out our interviewer’s guide & candidate’s guide to interviews since the same principles still apply nonetheless. Let’s dive in.
We had a session this week with a candidate whose lighting was terrible and we could barely see him. He was almost a silhouette as we went over the questions. Check on your lighting to ensure your face & neck are visible. If you need extra lighting based on your current living spaces or meeting rooms, opt for enhanced light through extra gadgets that are readily available for purchase online or offline to give you the best possible illumination. However, don’t also have too much light shining on your face and you end up looking like an angel & we can’t concentrate on what you’re saying.
Just like lighting, invest in sound devices if need be to amplify your audio clarity. Microphones and headphones supply has increased since Covid and even mobile phones have become better at innovating around sound technology to ensure you do great videos from just your phone. And while you’re at it, please have your Zoom set to automatically mute any new joiner on the call and mute yourself when you’re not speaking. Set yourself up in a quiet space and use noise minimizing setting on your device to improve your sound clarity and avoid distractions.
As phones compete to give customers the best cameras, you’re better placed to use a mobile phone for interviews than your webcam on your machine. However, the market is also now filled with cam coders and extra gadgets you can connect to your machine to enhance your video quality. Test out these 3 first before getting into your session and if necessary invest in better modern video devices.
It’s no lie that internet connectivity across Africa is still a big problem. However much effort has been made to give users stable internet. Nonetheless, this is still a global problem and as the world was thrown into virtual meetings, we saw many funny videos of people freezing mid-sentence including at the African Union Summit. So if this can happen to world leaders, then it can happen to you. It’s simply acknowledging what is within & out of your control during this process. Have a backup data plan on your phone in case your wifi starts acting up. Most times you only have just 30minutes to an hour of screen time so you need to ensure every minute counts by reducing possible delays & downtime.
From eye contact to your posture, whether a recruiter or candidate, and just like in an in-person interview, your non verbal communication plays a huge role in determining the quality of the session. Many times interviewers or candidates have let their guard down during virtual interviewees thinking the same isn't required of them. On the contrary, virtual interviews shed more light on your body language since there’s less distraction around the room. So don’t be caught slumping on your chair, staring at the ceiling, checking your other open tabs etc. One candidate we interviewed gave off a terrible first impression when she kept looking away from her camera phone or the opposite and she kept scrolling on the screen every time we heard a notification come in. Just like normal interviews, your posture, body language, eye contact, and attention contribute to how you’re perceived. Lastly, remember to let your personality shine through the video. Smile often, nod to show you're listening, take notes, ask follow-up questions and be pleasant throughout.
Talking of eye contact, we once had a candidate who kept looking at everywhere except the camera! Don’t make this mistake. Others make us see the inside of their nose or their shiny forehead. Position your screen so that your camera is at eye level and focus is on your face, neck, and upper shoulders. We don’t need to see the rest. Test your video out before your session and again you can use laptop & phone gadgets that help elevate your phone or screen and keep it stationary during the session. Also, ensure the device is not too close or too far away from your face. We don’t want your phone falling and showing us embarrassing views do we? Again, phone charms like laptop stands and tripods can help reduce any risk here.
Just like with the wifi issues, we’ve had candidates drop off mid-session because of power blackouts. One recently had forgotten to charge their laptop & had to switch to his mobile midway during the session and ended up not only creating a poor impression but losing out precious 5–8 minutes. If you’re lucky an interviewer may reschedule you but that’s a big maybe. What you can control here is to charge your devices the day before your big interview. Have your phone as a backup on this. If possible, have a backup energy generator and mobile power bank.
And to sum it all up, everything adds up to your setup. From the device positioning to sound and the background of your room, make everything work for you. Virtual backgrounds are now available for free online. So if you don’t want the other person being distracted by your colorful bedroom curtains, use Zoom backgrounds that you can easily change before your session. *Check your computer specifications as not all machines allow this functionality* Companies can also use this to ensure consistency & branding by creating their own backgrounds for videos. Select official simple backgrounds without the clutter that will increase the focus on you the speaker. So stay away from that beach background for now. At least for interviews! Work on your dressing as well as this is part of the setup too. Remember to dress how you want to be addressed. Let your room be minimalistic and as we all now famously know from the BBC Dad interview, do keep the kids & pets away and lock the door;-)
Extra Tips* Record your interview session and play it back afterward to assess yourself, setup and answers. This is one of the advantages virtual interviews provide over in-person ones aside from the convenience & time-saving. There are several FREE screen recording apps & plugins you can install depending on whether you’re using a phone or web for your interview.
You can also do a practice run a day before and test out all the above ahead of time. You can also divide up your screen by minimizing the Video interviewing tool and having a section of the screen showing your CV or notes. Feel free to take water or notes as you go along. That’s totally allowed. Always have your video tool to automatically switch off video & audio until you set it on.
While some mishaps may look funny when you’re reading about them online or checking them out on Tiktok, during an interview you just can’t afford to make some of these errors.
Got any more tips on virtual interviews? Comment below.
Still looking for more? Check out https://medium.com/jobonics/how-to-cut-through-the-bs-of-interviews-and-get-real-insights-as-a-jobseeker-307ef7da1eb9