How to master video conference interviews
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How to master video conference interviews

14th February 2020
By Tom Ladle

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the institute of Student Employers, 47% of employers use video interviews. Welcome to the future, where the awkwardness of face-to-face job interviews is being replaced by a brave new world of video conference assessing. Just make sure to mind the hiccups these tips are designed to cure. Here are our tops tips to master video conference interviews, both as an interviewee and an interviewer.

Tips for interviewee

Understand the tech

This one is as basic as it gets but doesn’t make it any less important. If you find out that you’re going to be hopping on a video conference, then make sure you are familiar with how they work. Most are straightforward, so this tip is no biggie. You will most likely get an invite from whoever your interview is with, this invite will include a URL to join the meeting. Make sure that you allow access to your webcam and microphone, the person interviewing will want to see your face!

That’s all there is to it (told you), you just need to be aware of this, so that you’re not frantically panicking wondering how on earth you join, or where your face is and why they can’t hear you.

Do a dry run

If you’re feeling particularly tense leading up to the interview, then speak to someone close to you and riff off them. You’d be surprised how just having a casual conversation before your interview can loosen you up. It will also hopefully take your mind off things for a bit and depending on your friend they can act as a calming influence. Try to pick a friend who has experience with video conference interviews. They might be able to give you some useful pointers.

A confident introduction

I’m sure you’ve heard loads about the dreaded handshake and the so-called perfect handshake. Did I apply too much pressure? Am I meant to have a bit of sweat or be bone dry? Did my handshake personally insult that person’s family? The list goes on. As outdated the idea of the perfect handshake might be you still want to introduce yourself with confidence. State that it’s nice to meet you and ask how they’re doing (try to mean it). Also don’t overthink it, like you might a handshake.

Pop on a full outfit

As tempting as it is to sit there with a half shirt, half pants combo, getting fully dressed is essential to keeping a professional mindset during the interview.  Dressing for your interview as you would for the job will help you envision working at the company. The power of visualisation and all that. Plus, it just makes a good first impression to be presentable.

Tips for the interviewer

First impressions matter on both sides of the interview, and that’s a universal truth, not simply for video conference interviews.

Fortunately for you, we’ve sampled that recipe so you don’t have to (it tasted gross, like inefficiency and grass), and have come up with tips that’ll see you leap over any and all video conferencing hurdles.

Plan ahead 

How do you prepare for a video interview? Well, quite simple, treat your video conference interview as you would a regular one. Just because it might feel more informal doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it the same amount of preparation. Write your questions in advance, ready yourself for anything you might be asked, and plan out all the start and finish times with some wiggle room if some sessions overrun. It’ll make it go far smoother.

All about timing

As neat as they are, video interviews are still a fairly novel way of quizzing someone about a job opening. So while your vacancy’s suitor might be used to the etiquette around time when it comes to in-person interviews (i.e. get there on time, if not early), they might need more cues when you do it over video.

Remind them close to the date what the time of the interview is and what they’ll need to do to join the conference, and make sure they’re aware of the software they’ll need.

And in case things go askew, give them a way to contact you so they can let you know and you can both fix things, or maybe reschedule if needs be.

Environmental awareness

Video calls work best when everyone can see each other. It’s a shocker, we know. So think about things like lighting and background noise before you get things underway.

Make sure not to sit with your back to a bright light source like a window or a lamp – you’ll just look like a dark, characterless silhouette. Either have it facing you or illuminating you from the side. That way you can be both seen and heard.

Just like with the person your interviewing. If you can’t conduct your remote chat in a quiet environment, make friends with the mute button. Using it when you’re not talking will stop all buzz of the office outside distracting your interviewee.

Many of the tips we’ve provided apply to both interviewee and interviewer, nevertheless give these careful consideration before your next video call interview. That way you’ll smash it whatever side of the webcam you find yourself on.

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