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Preparation is everything.
You sit in your chair, drumming your fingers aimlessly on your desk. You’re about to get interviewed for a job you really want. You know what you’re good at and you know what you’re going to bring to the table. Yet you’re nervous because this isn’t just a phone call – it’s a video call. While you’re a frequent user of FaceTime, this isn’t exactly the same and you’re worried about what might go wrong.
Many companies are turning to video-calling software to contact candidates who may not be able to be interviewed in person. Video interviews offer convenience and connection and companies are no longer constrained by distance. But nothing ruins an interview and your confidence more than a video call that doesn’t go right because of technical issues. But most times, these issues are preventable if you take the right steps to prepare.
Successful video interviews are more than just having a stable wifi signal. Here are a few steps you can take to improve the quality of your next video interview and put your very best self forward.
Decide which device to use for the interview
Pick a device that can hold a stable Internet connection and charge it beforehand. Laptops and desktops are preferable because they don’t have to be held. Although not recommended, if you are on the go, a tablet or mobile might be more convenient.
Find the right space
Good lighting is a must when it comes to every successful video call. If possible, try not to have your back to a window or direct light. You’ll have the best light if you’re facing a window or lamp, but overhead lighting is OK too. Be mindful of your background and make sure it represents you and your personality in a professional manner. If you don’t want to be too personal, use a blank wall as your background. Be wary of echoey rooms. Avoid public places, but if you don’t have any other choice, try to find a quiet corner and explain to the hiring team that you are in a public setting.
Check your internet speed
Once you think you’ve found the right place, test your internet speed before you fully commit. You can check your Internet speed through sites like Speed Test or Google’s own “Speed Test” right in your browser to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for a choppy, low-quality video call.
Pick the right platform
Some companies have their own interview system, but most companies don’t. Make sure you coordinate a platform that works for everyone and you understand how to use it before you’re about to get on the call.
Check your audio and video settings
If you have a weak microphone in your computer, use an external one (like the one you find in many headphones) to ensure the best sound quality. Ask someone to call you to check your settings. Make sure the software you are using is up to date.
Adjust the angle of your computer
Your face should be the focus of the frame, but make sure your torso is also in the frame, to avoid looking like a floating head. Make sure to make eye contact with the camera as well.
Dress for the job
As tempted as you might be to do so if you’re calling from your room, do not forgo pants. Be conscious of your outfit and of the industry you are interviewing for. If you’re not sure of exactly what attire is appropriate, it’s always helpful to research beforehand. Going for a business-casual look never hurts – just be sure your outfit isn’t the exact same color as your background!
Ensure that you won’t be interrupted
If you live with family or friends, make sure to inform them ahead of time of your interview so they don’t disturb you during it. This will help you avoid a BBC-interviewee-like situation, and also entails a high level of professionalism.
You should also make sure you won’t be disturbed digitally. Shortly before your interview, be sure to silence any desktop notifications on your laptop so you aren’t distracted if your group chat blows up mid-interview.
Prepare for the worst
No matter how well you prepare for your interview, things can still go wrong. If all doesn’t go as planned, take a deep breath. Do not panic. Call your interviewer back, and if they aren’t able to pick up, send them an email explaining the situation. In most cases, hiring teams will understand and not hold it against you. No matter how stressed you are, try to stay calm. This also shows the interviewer that you can deal with stressful situations in a reasonable manner.
After the interview, send written or emailed thank-you notes to all of the people who interviewed you. Thank them for their time and consideration, and ask them what the next steps are in the hiring process if it wasn’t addressed during the interview itself. Video interviews can be intimidating, but as long as you prepare beforehand and test out the technology you’re using, you’ll have a lot less to worry about on the interview day.