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As we continue to practice safe physical distancing, if you’re one of the many people in the midst of looking for a new job (or your first!) you may have already experienced the shift to video interviews. While the basics of the interview remain the same (speaking through your resume and experiences), the change to video requires some additional preparation.

In this post, we’re outlining some tips and tricks to help you navigate video interviews like a pro, to hopefully emerge successful in landing the job you’ve applied for. Here are some simple “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to video interviews.

The setup:

First things first, you need to find a suitable place in your home to take your video call. Avoid areas with distracting backgrounds and instead position your camera so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions. Try not to sit on the couch or somewhere too casual, and ideally, you want to be seated somewhere where your device can be at eye level. If you’re planning to use your phone for the video call, use a stand or tripod so that the device is properly elevated.

Technical set up:

When setting up, make sure you do a technical test run of everything. The last thing you want is to spend the first 5 minutes of your interview fixing technical difficulties.

  • Lighting: Make sure the area you are in is well lit. Try to find a space near a window where you can clear your surroundings. Depending on your situation, you may want to invest in a lighting ring from Amazon if you can’t seem to find good lighting in your home.
  • Visual & audio: Test both your visual and audio at least 20 minutes before your video interview. If possible, set up a mock video call with a family member or friend to test everything, and have them give you feedback (such as camera placement, outfit choice, or audio issues).
  • Internet: If you can, connect directly to your internet. If you’re using wifi, ask anyone else who may be connected to limit their usage while you’re in your interview, to avoid the wifi slowing down or wavering while you’re on your call.
  • Headphones: Use headphones for your interview. Internet issues can easily create echos, delays, or other sound disruptions that can be lessened with headphones.

Dress professionally:

Similar to an in-person interview, dress for the job you’re trying to land. Since you need to be mindful of your background and lighting, stay away from colours that may cause you to blend into the background or wash out with the lighting. Don’t try the old of wearing a blazer with sweatpants assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up.

  • Avoid wearing anything white (shirts, blouses or jackets). Because of how the webcam works and lighting, white can show up as very bright and distracting.
  • Avoid wearing pure black as it may cause your camera to wash you out a bit, due to overexposure from trying to adapt the lighting.
  • Avoid busy patterns or super-bright colors that may also cause problems on the camera. 
  • Go for softer, solid colours. Light blue and dark blue shirts/blouses are usually a great option. 

Give your housemates a heads up:

Many people are quarantined with others, whether that’s pets, spouses, parents, or roommates. Whoever you may be home with, it’s important that during your interview you are not disrupted by loud noise or anything else that would take from your interview. Let whoever is home with you know the time of your interview to ensure you won’t be interrupted – a note on your door may be helpful too. If you have pets, put them in a separate room if possible.

Talk into the camera:

While it’s easy to stare at the device screen to look at both the interviewer and yourself – for the interviewer it will look as if you are looking down. Try to make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact through your camera. Pay attention to eye contact, posture, and framing. (Hint: your whole face should be visible but not so close that it looks like you’re staring into their soul.)

Prep prep prep:

  • Have any documents (like your resume) that you may need, in front of you during the interview.
  • Keep a glass of water nearby and a notepad in case you need to take notes.
  • Ensure you close all unnecessary browser tabs and applications on your laptop/phone before your interview.
  • Make sure to put your phone on silence and that the device you’re using for your video call is charged and ready.
  • Ensure to log in to your interview 5-10 minutes early and like an in-person interview, make sure you’re ready to answer some common interview questions. Sell yourself!

The bottom line:

Video interviewing is not the wave of the future; it’s already here so we all have to embrace video interviews and work at recording them successfully. Just like in-person, make sure to listen, nod, and smile to show you’re engaged, used hand gestures when appropriate, and ask questions.

Good luck!

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