Today, many companies are taking full advantage of video conferencing technology to interview candidates. Technology like Zoom allows hiring managers to interact with candidates in a way that phone calls can’t offer, simulating the in-person interview in a virtual space and keeping everyone safe in the process. Although this technology has had an invaluable impact on hiring in a pandemic, for many job seekers it is a whole new world. Aside from the many technical issues that can arise when using a system one may not be completely comfortable with, there is some ambiguity as to what rules from an in-person interview apply to one held over Zoom. The short answer? They all do. And more.
Treat it like the “good old days”.
Job seekers should treat their video interview as if they’re in-person, sitting face-to-face with the hiring manager. Just because you’re home does not mean you should be lax in terms of appearance. No matter how you normally dress at home or if you assume the company you are interviewing with is a “casual” office, you should dress professionally. Save the t-shirt and jeans for your post-interview celebrations, for your video interview, dress to impress. Your outfit may be a dress shirt and jacket or that lucky dress you always wore when acing in-person interviews – wear those to your video interview. Dressing for the occasion has also been said to have positive effects on a job seeker’s mindset as they enter an interview. Keep in mind, while a polished look is always appreciated, stick to solid colors as some stripes and patterns can be distracting or disorienting in a video.
Give yourself a (literal) background check.
As important as it is for you to look your best in an interview, it’s also important that your background is polished and professional as well. A messy room can give the hiring manager the impression that you could be disorganized in your professional life and in general may distract them enough that your A+ answers will miss the mark. If you need to use a standard backdrop make sure you set that up prior to your interview so all the hiring manager will focus on is you. Also, incredibly important is lighting. While you might think sitting in front of a window is a nice background, being back lit can cast you in an ominous shadow. Natural light always looks best but make sure it’s anywhere but right behind you in the shot. Ensure the room is bright enough that the picture is clear but not so bright that you’re squinting!
Kids and pets are cute but don’t belong in your interview.
Do your best to eliminate outside distractions from your interview. Pick the quietest corner of your house or apartment to conduct your interview and make sure everyone that you share a space with knows the date and time of your important appointment. If you can close the door to the room you’re sitting in, even better. This will (hopefully) make someone pause before they enter the room, including your pets!
Look them in the eye, well, not the eye, the camera.
Staring at a screen instead of looking someone in the eye can be an adjustment. As tempting as it may be to look at yourself, you should try to limit your focus to the camera. The hiring manager will know you are “looking” directly at them and that they have your undivided attention. If the hiring manager is speaking it is also good practice to put yourself on mute so they won’t be distracted by background noise coming from your microphone. Just make sure you take yourself off mute before you start speaking.
Test your tech.
It’s vital that you test all of your tech well before your interview. Ensure your computer has all it’s updates installed, that your camera and microphone are in good working order and positioned correctly, and if you’re using a laptop, ensure it has a full charge, or better yet, keep it plugged in for your entire interview so there is no chance you will drain your battery in the process. If you’re working with a Recruiter, ask if you can do a short test with them – better to work out the kinks with them than with the hiring manager. They’ll be thrilled you’ve taken the initiative and more than happy to help. Whitridge’s Business and Technology Recruiters make it a priority to test out Zoom meetings before their candidates’ interview date to ensure both the candidate and the hiring manager have a good experience.
While all of these tips may seem hard to remember, spending some time to prep before your video interview will only benefit you in the long run. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect, working with a staffing firm to find your next job can be a huge advantage in your search. Not only will your recruiter get to know you and your career aspirations and match you to exciting new job opportunities, they’ll coach you through the interview process. From the ins and outs of video conferencing to tough questions you may face from a hiring manager, a good recruiter is a great ally to have in your corner. If you’re interested in finding out more about what a Business and Technology Staffing firm like Whitridge can do for your career, check out our Jobs Page and reach out to one of our Recruiters today!
This blog post was written by Danielle Larson, Talent Acquisition & Engagement Specialist
About Whitridge Associates
- 30 years of proven expertise in IT staffing
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