At Acceleration Partners, we virtually talk to our teams and our clients on a daily basis, which is why a big part of our interview process mimics our virtual communications.
From our perspective, it doesn’t matter how good a candidate’s resume is; if they aren’t prepared for their video interview, it could hurt their chances of getting the job.
As interviewers working in a remote work culture, we must ask ourselves, “Can I see this candidate leading a client meeting tomorrow?” And the more senior the position a candidate has applied for, the more important this question is.
To help ensure your confidence and knowledge shines through in your next video interview, follow these seven simple tips:
1. Frame your face
When you log into your video conference, always do a reflection check and make sure your head and shoulders are properly framed on your video screen. This is actually an advantage you have over an in-person meeting; you have the ability to see how you’re being presented to the person you’re speaking with– so make sure you look good!
You want your face to be framed in the screen and be seen from the chest up. And please, please make sure your face isn’t cut off at your chin or your forehead!
2. Nip noise in the bud
Background noise, echoes, your voice being too soft or too loud … all of these can be distracting to an interviewer.
Use a headset or earbuds to get rid of distracting noise and be sure to test your audio prior to your big call–ideally using the same set-up you’ll use for your call.
3. Remove distractions
Sources say the average attention span is about 8 seconds (Yes! 8 seconds!) Put the odds in your favor by removing distractions. This includes turning off any electronics or programs that might “ding” in the background.In addition, make sure your physical location is distraction free and be aware of what is in the camera view; no one wants to see your laundry piles or unmade bed.
Your environment should be quiet and, ideally, have a door that you can close – or even lock – especially if you have pets or kiddos who might decide to come say hello while you’re in the middle of your video call. Remember this guy?
Last, but definitely not least, be aware of what you might be doing or wearing. Are you prone to swiveling back and forth in your chair? Is your attire professional and tidy or do you look like you just rolled out of bed to attend this very important job interview? Do you have your laptop on your lap, causing it to bounce around and give your audience motion sickness?
Remember, everything you are doing could be amplified on the other persons screen depending how big it is. You want your audience focusing on you, not what is going on around you.
4. Check your internet connection
Prior to your video call, make sure you have the bandwidth to support video viewing, screen sharing, and audio. If your call gets disconnected, you lose audio or video during the call or, worse, the call is never able to go through at all, you leave your interviewer with a less than stellar impression.
Take measures to prevent this by hard wiring your internet hook-up instead of relying on Wi-Fi and check your router to ensure it’s working properly.
5. Download the latest software
Make sure your computer operating system is up-to-date and download the latest software for whatever platform you are using. Also, familiarize yourself with the software you are using and how to troubleshoot if needed.
In this day and age, it’s good to look tech-savvy, especially if the job requires the use of various technology. It’s also a good idea to arrive to the call early to make sure all your settings are correct and everything is functioning as it should.
Too often, we’ve experienced situations where interviews don’t happen because the candidate didn’t have the right version of the software and couldn’t connect to the call. The candidate may have been a great person, but by not being able to connect to the call, they don’t present themselves as someone who was prepared, which is an important attribute in our client-focused business.
Get comfortable with the software platform you are using and your presentation. In addition to nailing down what you’re going to say, practice looking into the video camera to make eye-contact with your audience.
Doing a dry run with family, friends, or colleagues is also helpful. Just make sure you choose someone who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
Ask them to rate you on things such as:- The volume of your voice. Are you too soft? Too loud? Just right?- How you present yourself. Do you look professional and confident? Or is the angle of your camera looking up your nose?
– Facial expressions and tics. Do you awkwardly scrunch your face when someone is talking to you? Are you smiling naturally when you talk or do you look really serious or angry?
– How you answer questions. Are you clear and to the point or are you rambling?
– Your tone of voice. How would your listener describe it? Abrasive? Friendly? Bored? Child-like? Haughty? Confident? Sincere?
If you don’t have someone that can help you and give honest feedback, use a mirror. The more self-aware you are, the easier it’ll be to fix issues that could deter your audience from getting to know you and all the great things you can offer the company.
7. Be engaging
A reality is that your audience will likely have a lot of their own distractions–emails, instant messages, people coming in and out of their office, their own to-do lists—vying for their focus.
Keeping someone’s attention is a challenge – even more so when you’re trying to do it virtually. So, stay engaging and give your listener reasons to pay attention to you!
If you practice your content, set up your physical environment to be as professional as possible, pay attention to your attire and presentation, and get confident with your technology, you’ll be able to show up for your interview relaxed, confident, and ready to wow your interviewer.
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