It seems in an instant, video-calls have became a way of life.
Daily stand-up meetings via Skype, business calls via Google Hangouts, and internal office happy hours via Zoom are all new-normals for us at MACRO.CCS.
But even before the pandemic we were widely using video calls for our interviews – enabling us to work with a broader base of technologists to pair them up with the perfect roles up and down the West Coast.
And in years of video-interviewing we have learned some tricks to avoid some of the standard video-call pitfalls that might otherwise hurt your chances of getting that job you’re currently vying for.
In short: the more preparation, the less buggy, and the more professional and successful your next video-interview can be.
Prepare your “studio”
Think of the room that you will interview from as a studio and prepare it to enable a positive impression.
- Ideally, use a well lit room with a door that you can close to gain privacy for your video-conference studio.
- Ensure that everything in the room and within the camera’s field of view is necessary. E.g. remove clutter.
- Position the camera, don’t point into other rooms (read: bathroom, TV room, kitchen).
- Position the camera to capture you from the shoulders up.
- Ensure that the camera is located in a steady position. Since this is difficult with a cell phone camera, we recommend using a desktop or laptop computer instead.
- Have a copy of your current resume close at hand to refer to.
- Have a tablet or pen and paper close at hand to take notes.
Test drive your “studio”
- Make sure your software (i.e. Skype or Zoom, etc…) is up to date.
- Ensure that your user profile isn’t terribly embarrassing or too unprofessional – remember that your interviewer will see your profile and photo before and during the call.
- Test it out with a friend: have a practice call to make sure your camera and microphone are working well and the scene is set.
- Make sure you have sent your user IS to the interviewer at least a day in advance, so everyone is well prepared.
- Ask your interviewer for an alternate telephone number in advance of the interview. This may come in handy to continue an interview if the video-conference fails from lack of signal or technical difficulties.
- Extra Bonus Points: Configure your computer to record the interview – review the recording and improve your interviewing skills as you can review and adjust your responses for the next time.
Prepare your surroundings
Arrange to have a distraction-free interview:
- Inform your housemates that you will be interviewing.
- Put animals outside or in a kennel
- Mute all cell phones and land-lines.
- If you have little ones and no one to watch them – give them a good activity to do or a television show (but give your interviewer fair warning of your little office mates!)
Put your best foot forward.
- Dressing appropriately subliminally reminds you that this is an interview. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Your friends who told you to wear a suit jacket or shirt up top and PJ pants on bottom are wrong. If for any reason you have to stand up, it’s best you have pants on.
- Act naturally, smile, use your hands and try to make eye contact with the person you are talking to.
- Don’t open other applications or websites while interviewing. If your IP bandwidth is minimal you will affect video-conferencing performance.
After the interview.
- Make sure that you write down the names and contact information of all persons you interview with.
- Follow up with the persons you interviewed by US Mail or e-mail with a thank you note.