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Expert job interview tips you need to know for video conferencing and conference calls, such as what to wear, questions to ask, the best light source and more.
Job interviews are tricky under the best of circumstances, but replace an in-person meeting with a computer screen and it’s easy to lose confidence. “When we communicate via platforms like Zoom, we lose up to 90% of the body language cues we rely on in face-to-face interviews,” says Sharon Longridge, communications specialist and director of Leadium. Whether you’re hiring or hoping to secure a new position, these easy tips for your next job interview via video conferencing will help you succeed.
“An interviewer’s role is to facilitate information from the interviewee. To do this, it’s essential to develop rapport quickly and this is harder online than in person,” says Carol Lewis, founder and principal consultant at The Human Equation. “Think about how to replace the warm, welcoming handshake with a warm ‘Thank you for coming to this interview’. Candidates are experiencing more anxiety than ever, so taking time to settle their nerves and giving them less to worry about at the start of the interview means they will do better and give you the information you need.”
“It has been a strange time for the world as the pandemic closes down workplaces as well as borders,” says Denny Groth, senior consultant at Coughlan & Co. “Ask how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the candidate. Don’t get too personal, of course, but their response will indicate how they deal with stress. They are not just a job applicant, they are a real person.”
“Every interviewee deserves your respect. Finding the right job is not easy and even if the candidate isn’t right for the position you’re trying to fill, strengths-based feedback may help them get across the line next time,” says Sharyn Coughlan, executive coach at Coughlan & Co. If you have more than one candidate, let each of them know [you are interviewing multiple people] and don’t be afraid to call both back for a follow-up interview. This often helps to clarify your decision.”
“It is important to read each application and refer to it. Too often the interview becomes the major determinant in hiring, or you are asking questions to which you already know, or should know, the answers,” says Groth. “Check for gaps in CVs and ask about them. It is not uncommon to be made redundant and have trouble getting a new job. Or the person may have been travelling or having/caring for babies. Give the candidate the opportunity to fill in these gaps for you.”
“Anyone can say, ‘Yes, I have that knowledge or this experience’,” says Coughlan. “Ask for examples of when the candidate has tackled a challenge that will be important in the role you’re filling. They should tell you whether what they did was effective and, if not, what they would do differently next time.”
“Set up your computer so that the backdrop behind you is clean and simple. A plain wall is much better than a cluttered bookshelf,” says Longridge. Groth advises, “Wear what you would wear to a face-to-face interview. You want to look smart and keen to get the job.”
“It feels intuitive to look at the faces on screen, however you will come across more confident if you look directly into the camera of your computer when talking,” says Longridge. “If you are looking into the camera it appears as though you are making eye contact.”
“Recruiters are used to interviewing by video conference. You may not be,” says Groth. “It’s okay to let the panel or interviewer know you are a little nervous or unused to being interviewed via technology.”
“Many of us are spending more quality time with our pets at the moment. It isn’t fatal if your dog barks during your interview, but it could unnerve you,” says Groth. “Try to ensure your pet is quiet and occupied elsewhere with a bone, toy or another member of the household.”
“Preparation is key to success,” says Longridge. “In advance, determine specific examples that evidence your skills in previous roles. Then ensure you share these compelling stories clearly and succinctly.” And Groth’s final tip: “Make sure your laptop or other device is well charged. You don’t want your battery to go flat in the middle of a brilliant answer!”