We covered this topic a bit in previous blog posts but as many of you requested us to go more in detail, we thought of creating this short guide for you.

Right from the beginning of the ‘new normal’, most of the traditional workplaces have been quick to adopt technological innovations to overcome the unique difficulties associated with remote working. While high-fives have been replaced with online wave-like gestures, conference room meetings have been shifted to Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and so on.

While mastering the art of interviewing has always been difficult, video interviews introduce job seekers to a whole new set of challenges. If you too have got a video interview lined up, here are seven invaluable tips that can help you get a call from your potential employer for the second round of the interview.

Know the platform and test the technology

Different platforms used by interviewers today have different requirements, which could vary from the sign-up process to device permissions and app downloads. Microsoft Teams for instance, has been known to be very a very demanding piece of software, that will slow down most of your computer, unless you use the Online Browser Version of Microsoft Teams (we recommend it). The day before your interview, you should spend some time to know the video platform better and if possible, have a trial call with a friend or family member, to ensure you’re comfortable using the tools made available by the platform. Such a trial call would also help to test the technology and even your internet stability as well as audio and video quality. This way, you would be able to ensure you don’t suffer from problems like bad internet connection, muffled audio, grainy visuals, or call drops in the middle of a conversation. This is very important, sometimes your headphones could have settings that interfere with other platforms you could have accidentally left running. Make sure you check this, it tells a lot about your attention to details.

Create a thoughtful background

Ideally, you should never sit in front of an inappropriate background that might get picked up by your camera. You should also avoid a messy background as it would make it harder to convince your potential employer of how organized and detail-oriented you’re as an employee. You could ideally sit in front of empty walls or set up the interview in a space that has a suitable or thoughtful background, such as a bookshelf, an artwork aligned with the upcoming conversation, or a photo capable of encouraging an interesting dialogue. Just make sure not to have a strange image, a messy bedroom, dirty dishes or what not in the background as that would send the wrong message to your hiring manager. We do not recommend virtual backgrounds, go for the empty white wall instead, keep it real.

Dress for success

You should wear your best business attire to project professionalism just like you would have done in an in-person interview. Ideally, choosing clothes that are neutral in color and don’t blend into your chosen background for the video interview would be good. It’s best to avoid wearing overpowering patterns or flashing loud accessories as they could divert your potential employer’s attention from your expertise. It’s important to check the lighting too. If you don’t want to appear washed out, sit close to a window in such a way that the light is in front of you. Front-facing natural light will not only brighten your skin and accentuate your features but could even make your eyes pop, thus ensuring you look quite presentable on camera. Again, if you do a test call with a friend, this will also be sorted out.

Show confidence through your body language

You should sit up straight, smile a little, and keep looking into the camera (and not the computer screen or the keyboard). Make sure to maintain eye contact when talking as research shows employers recall what you said better in such cases. If you have prepared some important notes for your interview, you can stick them on your computer screen to avoid looking down and shuffling papers during the call. 

Do your research well

Research your potential employer by checking the company’s website, social media accounts, and other news-worthy stories to pick up important points relevant to the position you’re interviewing for. If you come across important announcements, partnerships, or other news about the company, you could weave them into your casual narrative to create a positive impression. The LinkedIn page of the company is generally a good place to start. It’s also a good idea to prepare 5 to 10 company- or role-specific questions to ask if given the opportunity, as they will emphasize your curiosity and prove you’ve done adequate research on the company, this usually happens. This point is very crucial, do not underestimate it.

Get rid of potential distractions

Before you sit for your video interview, you should take the necessary steps to eliminate potential distractions. A simple way could be to tell all family members about the duration of the interview and ask them not to barge in or make noises. You may even close the door to your room, if you can, or put up a large piece of paper with a “Do Not Disturb – I’m on call” written on it. Other steps could include putting your phone in silence mode, turning off the TV, and closing any windows nearby to soften the blaring sirens or honking horns. However, it’s important to remember you can’t always plan ahead to avoid every distraction, especially if you have children. In case your infant barges in, apologize to your interviewer and carry on with the interview. Remember – your interviewer too is human and will surely understand as long as you don’t let the incident interfere with your focus. A tea or glass of water at reach might relax you.

Put your interviewer at ease

These are unprecedented and difficult times for everyone. Though making small talk in a video interview is difficult, you shouldn’t shy away from spending a few minutes to put your interviewer at ease by getting to know him/her and asking how he/she is doing. Apart from giving the interactions a personal touch, this would also help to build rapport, thus letting both of you relax and feel comfortable as the conversation proceeds. Talk about something simple, or something that happened recently in your city or in the world, that you both can know about. No, do not mention viruses or pandemic as an ice-breaker.

Lastly, don’t forget to properly follow up, typically within 24 hours of the virtual interview by sending a thank-you email to the interviewer and anyone else who helped in conducting the virtual interview. Despite in-person interviews being replaced by video interviews, building relationships is as important as it was earlier. 9AM the day after is a good moment, so you will pop up first in their inbox.

Yes and one last thing, Good Luck! You will nail it!

Arash Palizban

Partner Director

InHunt World