Been invited to interview? It’s a video interview and not what you’re used to? There is no doubt this is different to sitting face to face with your prospective employer.
We’re now a year into the pandemic and most of us are used to using video meetings. Many employers have been forced to reconsider how they do things. The principles of a good interview haven’t changed that much, but there are a few additional things to keep in mind for a video interview.
Practice the tech before your Video Interview
This one should be obvious, but always check your kit before the interview. Is everything plugged in or charged?
If the interview is using a system you’ve not used before, make sure you have downloaded everything you need. Find someone who can help you test it ahead of the interview.
Rule of Thirds to make a great impression
As a general rule, your eyes should be a third from the top of the screen and for a video interview you’d normally be in the middle of the screen width.
If you’re using a fixed camera, say on a laptop, use books or similar to lift your laptop high enough to get your image looking like the one above. No one wants to be looking up your nose or at a tiny image of you in the bottom of the screen.
Good lighting – feel and look great
Most of us look and feel better when it’s light. Light should be in front of you, lighting your face and not the back of your head. Sitting with a window in front of you and behind the camera can be useful. However, if you have bright, low sunshine directing in through the window you may need to close curtains and use a lamp.
You want to present your best self, creating a good impression on the interviewer, just like you do with what you wear. However, you also need to be comfortable. Light shining into your eyes may give you a great glow but you won’t deliver a good interview if you’re constantly squinting.
Your video background
You’re attending an interview in your home, in the middle of a pandemic. I’m hopeful any interviewer would be mindful and forgiving of this. Having said this, you want to be comfortable and not feel self-conscious of your surroundings.
Choose a background that won’t distract you or your interviewer. If you have got anything visible in the background, your interviewer may comment on it as a way to open conversation and break the ice. Make sure anything you do have on show, you’re happy talking about.
Wear Bright – Be Remembered
You may be in your home, but this is a job interview so consider what you would normally wear to an interview. Ideally a recruiter will give you an idea of the culture of the company you’re interviewing for and their ideas of dress code. Where you can, you should match the company, which in many cases will mean a suit isn’t required, but do check.
You will only be seen from the waist up, so make sure you’re comfortable and wearing what makes you feel better. Your PJ bottoms can feel comfortable and for some that’s ideal. You may prefer to be fully dressed to feel good and be in the right mind frame.
Bright colours are great on camera, they help you stand out and will help your interviewer remember you. They are likely to be interviewing a number of people, either that day or over a period of days. Make sure they remember you. Bright colours also give the impression of confidence. No one knows what you’re really feeling inside but they will make an impression from what they can see.
If you wear make up, on video you can wear a little more than you normally would.
Like testing your tech, test your outfit, when you sit down does it rumple up or encourage you to keep fiddling when you can see yourself on camera. The big difference with video interviews, you can see yourself, this will make you keep judging and checking yourself during the interview. It can add hugely to the stressload of being in an interview, be as comfortable as you can with what you can see.
Remember, eye contact, just like in a face to face interview is essential. Making eye contact means looking directly at the camera not at their image on your screen.
Top tip – when there are few people in a meeting and especially 1 to 1, shrink the screen and move it so the person you are talking to is as close to the camera as possible. It’s really hard not to look at someone’s face when they are talking and this will help you glance between them and the camera.
I’ve saved the simplest tip to last. Don’t forget to sit down a few minutes early. Have a glass of water, pen and paper handy. Especially if you’re wearing your pajama bottoms you don’t want to have to get up!