I wish we could go back to a time when the C-word only had one meaning… but as the cases increase rapidly day after day, we are going to see an increase in Zoom and Microsoft Teams interviews. Interestingly these interviewing options were emerging 12-18 months before the pandemic as the search for people focussed on a national or global scale rather than the local market alone. Some would comment that therefore we are experiencing a local skills shortage but that is a whole other conversation for another time.
At Itch, what has separated us from other agencies is our policy of meeting each and every candidate in person before presenting them to a client, we are hesitant to adopt AI and video solutions as a Western Australian company focussing on supporting the local market. With our ever-changing societal norms, we are going to have to follow the trend and embrace the video interview.
It’s not just about how a person performs in their interview, it's about what time they arrive, if they are friendly to our Receptionist and interestingly is the person considerate to others in the lift (you never know if that person could be the hiring manager) and so much more. In my opinion, the interview starts as soon as you enter the building and continues until you leave. At an interview, are people asking the right questions, do they push their chair in, do little things like putting the lid back on a pen and do they offer to take their café coffee cup to the bin. These little things aren’t deal-breakers, but it does contribute to that all-important first impression. Anyone can sing their own praises, but actions speak louder than words.
A friend of mine recently went through an interview process, where he had two initial interviews via Zoom before he was offered the third interview in person. It got me thinking about how he can make sure he puts his best foot forward without presenting in person by looking into a tiny laptop camera.
We have all googled or asked our peers, for something along the lines of “interview advice” but a video interview is more than having good lighting. Prepare and have questions… obviously but they’re basic, and I want you to stand OUT.
Here are my top 5 online interview tips to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Present for the job you want!
An online interview is still as important as a face to face one. You should present professionally from your head to your toes. I believe this sets you up for success because if you’re looking good, you’ll feel confident, and you’ll perform better. Think about it this way, if the Interviewer didn’t care about how you presented, they would set up a phone interview.
Presentation includes your backdrop, sounds like common sense but you would be surprised I have seen it all. No one has a spotless home 24/7 but for the 60 minutes you’re on a video call, you want the interviewer to be focused on you, not your dirty dishes in the background and not your jeans that are hanging on your door because you don’t want to shrink them in the dryer.
The camera doesn’t lie!
Body language can still be seen through a screen. Eye contact and posture is still just as important, take a breath, stretch your legs, and wake your body up before you connect to the call. Consider it the same as walking from your car to the interview. If you’ve been at your computer all day and don’t get up for a minute to reset, it is more likely you’ll come across as less enthusiastic as you haven’t parted your mind from what you were focusing on before. Of course, this is my opinion so take it as you will.
Nerves are better than you think!
I know this one sounds crazy but I 100% believe it! I was in New York in 2015 in an improv acting class. The teacher explained to us how nerves can actually help you perform better, and they show that you care. The butterflies you feel are because of the importance you place on the opportunity. It has been documented that people who have no nerves or butterflies at times can underperform in these types of situations. Embrace being nervous, acknowledge why you are and don’t push it away by suppressing how you feel.
How to form a ‘’connection” with a BAD connection?
Bad Wi-Fi, slow computers, a bad battery that dies after it’s been charged, glitchy computers and that dreaded spinning wheel of death will throw any candidate off their A-Game. Troubleshoot technology before you join the call, even if it means connecting your computer to your phone’s personal hotspot because your 5G is faster, testing the link to the meeting works and making sure you’re in an area of the house that gets the best coverage. In addition, close open tabs that you don’t need, keep your charger plugged in, do an internet speed test on Google. My personal favourite first impression question is asking the interviewer if they can hear you and see you clearly. We don’t want you to introduce yourself ON MUTE.
Thank you … always
The world is changing but manners and first impressions will never go out of fashion. Just because you didn’t meet the interviewer in person, doesn’t mean they aren’t a real person who took their time to speak with you even if it was on an online platform. Always send a thank you email within the first 24hrs of an interview asking if there is additional information required or anything that needs clarification.
You don't want to appear blasé whether the interview is online or in person, they can be the spark to ignite a pivotal part of your career. Take pride in the way you enter any video call, treat it as you are sitting in front of the interviewer in person. Always be true to yourself, you don’t want to hide your personality because you got the job pretending to be someone else.