The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed how companies use technology to interview job applicants.
Gartner research reveals 86 percent of companies are now interviewing candidates online.
While it might be more convenient for job seekers to interview from the comfort of their homes, video-job interviews can hurt applicants’ chances if not handled well.
Naturally, virtual interviews mean you should take the usual precautions such as researching the employer, and anticipating questions and how to answer them.
But as a former TV news director, I know with video you need additional skill sets to avoid several pitfalls:
1. Make certain you’re very familiar with your equipment and platform.
Practice using the technology until you’re supremely confident about using it. Use a trusted confidant, a close friend or relative, with whom to practice.
2. Make sure the camera is good to you.
Your background matters. Turn on your camera and look at your monitor.
See to it that the background won’t detract from your interview. That usually means avoiding clutter and having a very simple background.
Nothing should be in the background unless it enhances what the interviewer will see. A great collection of appropriate books on a bookshelf or artwork should be fine.
3. Video tape several practice sessions.
Practice looking and smiling into the camera. Have your confidant critique how you look.
For your practice videos, wear the same outfit you plan to wear on the day of the interview.
Remember what looks great in-person might not in front of a camera. Even an expensive cashmere houndstooth-patterned jacket can look bad on camera.
Also, if you wear a tie, make certain it does not have small intricate patterns, either. For example, geometric patterns usually look animated or distorted on camera.
So, be absolutely certain you have an appropriate professional look for the position you seek. And if you’re ambitious for the C-suite, dress for the position you’ll want in five years.
Check every aspect of your presentation in the video – from making sure your collar is straight to seeing to it that your clothing does not ride up or look strained simply because you’re sitting down in front of the camera.
Review how the color of your outfit looks next to the skin tone of your face and hands on camera, especially if you’re going for a high-paying job.
Jewel-toned colors work best if you have cool-toned skin. Earth tones look best with warm-toned skin.
Review the room lighting. Backlighting will make it difficult for the interviewer to see your face. Ring lights can give you favorable look.
4. Act with a friendly confidence.
Don’t be afraid to respond to the interviewer with small talk to build rapport. Interviewers want to get to know your personality.
Smile when appropriate as you listen and as you talk. If smile as you talk, your voice will sound warm and friendly.
Don’t try to jump into the interview too soon. To use a basketball metaphor, remember the ball’s in the interviewer’s court.
Whether there’s one interviewer or multiple interviewers, maintain good eye contact and respond to questions by using the person’s name.
Depending on the politics of the company and if it’s a high-level job, be formal until told to use first names.
Avoid being wooden or stiff. Smiling will also minimize any nervousness on your part. Don’t put your hands on your face or fidget. But hand gestures are fine if they appear to be natural.
Use good posture. Do not slouch. You’ll look better. Plus, you’ll likely have a more resonant, pleasant-sounding voice.
If you can, stand. Standing will improve your posture, make it easier for you to breathe with better voice quality. It will also boost your energy level and confidence.
5. When the interview is over, don’t assume the camera is off.
Until you’re absolutely certain you’re disconnected, continue to smile and look at the camera. Don’t say or do anything.
Move off camera before you say anything or sigh from relief once your interview is concluded.
Good luck. Enjoy your opportunity for professional growth.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional job-hunting tips:
Stand Out: Get a Job Interview with a Great Resume — More and more job seekers complain they don’t get acknowledgment when they apply for positions with prospective employers. It’s disappointing, especially if you’ve done your best to stand out in a crowd. See these job-hunting tips.
Strategies to Impress Recruiters in Your Virtual Job Search — In today’s job market, standing out from the crowd is essential. Working with a job recruiter could be what you need to get ahead in this competitive climate.
Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision. Here are the key questions to ask.
3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment.
Thank You Notes Are Vital After Job Interviews – 12 Best Tips — There’s a common thread among people who win jobs after they interview with decision-makers. Winning applicants promptly send well-written thank you notes. Here’s how …
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
-Paul J. Meyer