At one point, many of us thought of video interviews as a temporary concept. Yet, a large number of organizations still do some (or even all!) of their interview process remotely. Suffice it to say, video interviews are definitely sticking around! Having done a number of video interviews over the last couple years, here are a few success tips we’d like to share with job seekers so they’re aware of these very avoidable faux pas.
Be sure you’re in a spot with solid signal. If you’re using WiFi, do a quick check to see how strong the internet is where you plan to do your interview. Video interviews take a lot of bandwidth, and you might be shocked to find how different the signal is in one room of the house versus another. If your device is not going to be plugged in during the call, double-check to make sure you’re fully charged.
Next, take inventory of the space around you. What’s happening in terms of background noise? Whether we’re interviewing from our home, the car, or outside, there are a number of potential distractions we just didn’t need to worry about in the past. Try your best to find a place where you are confident no distracting sounds will creep in.
Of course, video interviews are visual! In general, keep things neat. Create good lighting for yourself (light source is best when placed behind the camera, not behind you). And look for things that might seem unprofessional or overly personal (liquor cabinet, unmade bed, paraphernalia, etc.).
When I’m not sure of what others will see on a video call, I usually take time before the call to just turn on the camera feature of the computer, phone, or tablet that I’m on. I get a pretty instant idea of how things will look and can adjust accordingly.
Download a background
And if in doubt, see if the video program you’re using allows you to add a background screen. If so, you may end up just having to do a quick search for a free background screen to download and use.
While in the interview
During the meeting, the best advice really is not to do anything you wouldn’t do in an in-person interview. Once things are going, stay situated as best you can. When interviewees start to walk around and change rooms mid-conversation, it’s actually quite distracting. I even spoke with a recruiter during Covid who was pregnant and prone to nausea, and she nearly got sick when the candidate starting pacing around the house!
If you do need to move for some reason (maybe your WiFi signal is weak, so you need to try another room), there are very acceptable ways of doing so! Just let the interviewer know what you have to do and why. In this world of virtual work, everyone is really understanding about having to make an adjustment mid-interview. And while you reposition or move, you may want to temporarily turn off the video to minimize distraction.
Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist