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While some companies are currently dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 by downsizing, there are plenty of other businesses that are seeing surges and growth. Many agencies and other e-commerce companies are poised to leverage the possibilities of this unique historical time. If you’re on the job market after a recent pandemic-related layoff, there are plenty of places that are currently hiring. With that said, there’s a major difference with interviews occurring right now – they’re all going to be video and phone interviews while shelter-in-place orders are still active.
There are some unique considerations you’ll want to make before starting a video interview. They can be challenging since a video interview limits your ability to show off your in-person charisma. With that said, we’ve compiled a list of helpful ways you can approach your video interview with total confidence.
Prepare your interview space
Before you start a video interview, make sure you have a neutral location in your home where it can happen undisturbed. Avoid distracting backgrounds with lots of tchotchkes fighting for the viewer’s attention. Instead, find an area with a neutral wall covering. It’s also crucial to use a location that is quiet where you can close the door to avoid kids, pets, or partners bursting in and interrupting your interview.
Get your tech ready
To be ready for a video interview, it’s important to check all of your tech beforehand. Make sure your webcam, laptop, and internet connection are working well before your interview is planned to begin. This will help avoid time lost due to technical difficulties.
It’s a good idea to invest in headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone to ensure that you hear your interviewer clearly and vice versa. After all, you want your ideas, confidence, and experience to come through, not static and a wavering voice asking, “Can you hear me?”
Consider your internet connection, too. Your internet bandwidth speed should be at least 1 megabits per second for a smooth, worry-free connection on whatever platform you’re using.
Make sure to exit out of any apps or software that could impact your interview or interrupt it with notifications. During your interview, you want a one-track-mind while answering the interviewer’s questions instead of focusing on Facebook notifications telling you that it’s Karen’s cat’s birthday.
Prep your interview look
Whether you think it’s fair or not, first impressions have a big impact when you’re interviewing. Dress to impress like you would with a regular interview. Stick to well-tailored, well-fitting clothes that are jewel-toned. Avoid patterns or wearing either white or black, which can impact how your webcam calibrates your lighting.
It’s also smart to avoid wearing any kind of bright colors, which can give you an unnatural or unattractive tint when you’re on camera. One of the best universally flattering colors is a deep, dark blue so keep that in mind as you decide what to wear.
Think about your body language
In an in-person interview, it may feel more natural to project your inner confidence through body language but on video, things are a little trickier.
Keep your legs in a neutral stance instead of crossing them. Crossing your legs can negatively impact your on-camera positioning. Make sure that your shoulders are back and not hunched over or rolled forward. Adjust your camera so you’re well-positioned in the frame, not too high and not too low.
Maintain eye contact during your video interview, but not too much – which can be a little disconcerting for the interviewer. Ideally, you won’t sustain eye contact for more than 5 seconds at a time. Try not to dart your gaze around or stare too intensely, which are both off-putting habits. It’s important to show confidence with your eye contact, so adopt a natural gaze.
Don’t forget to smile—but stay serious
Interviews are nerve-wracking — after all, there’s a job on the line. However, it’s essential that you smile, at least a little bit. But just like eye contact, too much smiling can cross an invisible boundary into creepiness or presenting yourself as over-eager. Your smile should show your enthusiasm and social skills.
Do your homework
Just like a regular, traditional interview, you’ll want to prep yourself by doing a deep dive into the company you’re interviewing for. Try to glean as much as you can from the company website, about us page, and blog. You can typically parse out the company values and a little bit about the culture, as well. While you’re researching, think about some questions you want to ask your potential employer that show you’ve done your due diligence. Here are a few sample questions to get you started:
- What does a typical day in the life of X position look like?
- What’s your favorite part about working at the company?
- What types of skills is your current team or department looking for that you’re looking to fill?
- What are the biggest challenges I’ll come across in this role?
- Do you think this position’s main responsibilities will change in the coming year?
- What does the onboarding process look like?
- What is the business model of the company look like?
- What are the most important tasks or projects you’d like to see a new hire complete in the first 30 days? The first 90 days?
- What are performance reviews like here?
- Where do you see the company in the next five years?
- Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
It’s also a good idea to go over the job description and pull out talking points on your resume. Doing this exercise will give you concrete examples to discuss that show why you’re a great candidate for the role.
Conclusion: Remote interviewing 101
If you have a remote interview coming up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – especially if you’ve never done one before. It’s important to calm your nerves before your fire up your computer, take a deep breath, and remember your strengths. If you’ve done all the prep work, you’ll be in a great position to do your best.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com as well as a marketing expert for The Travel Secret. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.