CAREERS’ panel of expert recruiters answers a reader’s question each week. Have a question? Email email@example.com
In video interviews, do you have a pet peeve that candidates commonly do?
Sometimes candidates take a bit-too-casual approach to video interviews – remember, presenting yourself online is just as important as an in-person meeting. Good lighting and a good backdrop can be just as important as the clothes you’re wearing. Avoid having the sun at your back and instead find a light source which shines on your face. A nice neutral background with artwork or plants can also add a sense of professionalism to your environment. Avoid noisy areas, and make sure you have access to a stable internet connection with enough bandwidth (turn off the Netflix!).
Head of Organisational Psychology Consulting,
Stillwell Management Consultants
What can be frustrating for interviewers is when candidates do not choose an appropriate location for their interview and/or they do not set up their technology appropriately. Choosing to be interviewed in a space that is non-professional (for example, a messy bedroom), or in which people or animals are interrupting, or having your camera at a strange angle, poor lighting, broken sound or other noises in the background are all going to do the one thing you do not want to have happen in your interview: distract your interviewer(s) from concentrating solely on your answers.
Just like face-to-face interviews, it’s important to be prepared and present professionally in a video interview. While you may be at home when the video interview takes place, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress or act professionally. To make sure you present professionally, find a well-lit room with an appropriate background for your interview. It doesn’t need to be a blank wall or a study, but a place that is conducive to easy conversation, with as little background noise as possible. Make sure your seat is in a good position for the camera to place you at the centre of the screen, not too close, and at a good angle (eye height or slightly above is best). While over video, it’s still important to wear what you normally would to an in-person job interview in your industry. Unlike a face-to-face interview, it’s not necessary to be online 10 minutes before the start time. Joining a meeting two-to-three minutes beforehand to ensure your connection is working well is plenty. Finally, it can be tempting to look at your image during a video interview. But to help the interviewer connect with you and what you’re saying, try to look at the camera lens rather than your own image. It’s possible in most programs to hide or shrink your picture in the call window.
Candidates need to treat video interviews as they would a face-to-face interview. It is all too common for candidates to treat video interviews as more of a casual conversation, as if they are Face Timing a friend! This means prepare and dress as you would for a face-to-face interview, from the waist up anyway – but don’t stand up if you’ve got your trackies and uggboots on! Make sure you are in a quiet room with good lighting. Aim the camera at your face and ensure there are no distracting pictures or clutter in the background.
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