Ever heard of folks taking video interviews from home dressed in "business casual" attire? Business casual here means business on the top and casual on the bottom where the camera can't see.
Rarely does this negatively affect the remote worker as long as they stay put in their home work environment. If you've ever been in a hybrid meeting (with some members in an office and others calling in from home), you know what can happen when someone doesn't realize their video is going. Or what's going on in the background.
Video is essential to any remote interview. Video interviews allow companies to interview candidates from all over the globe, are six times faster than phone interviews, and are the equivalent of a 200 question written test.
This list will prepare you to nail your video interview and get your dream remote job with some simple suggestions to put your most professional foot forward. Before we dive into the tips for the actual video interview, make sure you have the right equipment at home to take your video interview conference call.
Trying to take a video interview from your phone is ok in an emergency, but for scheduled calls, a desktop or laptop provides an easier and less stressful experience.
Natural light works best, but make sure that your face is clearly visible. Your winning smile is going to help you land that remote job you want, but only if your remote interviewer can see it.
You may not have any background noise that you're aware of, but headphones can provide a more distraction-free environment. You also need to be prepared for a roommate unexpectedly getting home and turning on the TV or taking a nap.
If your throat gets dry mid-video interview, it can be awkward to get up and go get a drink, especially if you're wearing pajama pants. Prepare ahead of time and set up a water bottle at your computer desk.
Keep sound, clutter, pets, and kids away if you're doing a video interview at home or in the office.
While we joked earlier about wearing pajama pants, it might be worth it to wear something a bit more professional in case you need to get up at some point during the call. Stick with a simple top with limited patterns since designs can be distracting on camera.
Now that you've got the tools to create a professional environment in which to take a video interview meeting, here are the top ten worst things that can happen during a video interview, virtual team meeting, or any video conversation. We'll also give you the information to handle each potentially embarrassing situation.
Before your call, try a test video call with a friend or colleague using the video software platform you'll be using for your interview. Run a sound check and try sending a chat. If you've never used video conferencing software, here's a comprehensive guide to using Zoom, a free video call option.
Remember to run a sound check along with a video check before you start your call. Make sure your microphone is enabled for the video software app and if you're wearing headphones or using a separate microphone, that the inputs and outputs are set up correctly.
This is a pretty easy problem to avoid. Make sure to do a quick test run by opening your computer's camera app to see what's in view. Move anything distracting and make sure to let anyone you live with know when and for how long you'll be taking a video interview. If possible, take the video call in a room where you can close the door and put up a sign that you're doing a video interview.
If your voice is echoing, as a quick fix try using headphones if you weren't before. Try asking others to mute themselves and mute yourself when you aren't speaking. For more troubleshooting, here's a guide to fixing echo during video calls.
The best way to avoid background noise is to eliminate it. Check to see if you have any fans on, TV/radio on, or construction outside of where you live. Find the quietest part of your home and let everyone you live with know when you'll be taking your video interview. Headphones can help block out unwanted background noise as well. If there's a sound you can't avoid, put yourself on mute when you aren't speaking so your interviewer will be able to hear more clearly.
Practice makes perfect! Try recording yourself taking a practice interview call and watching the footage after. You may notice that you scratch your nose, play with your hair, or zone out while on camera. Have a friend or family member review the footage as well to help notice things you may not see.
If you fiddle with your glasses, don't wear them. If you're biting your nails, fold them in your lap when you're not speaking. If you twirl your hair, put your hair up for the interview.
This can be a make or break for your interview decision depending on the content of the messages. Put yourself on “Do Not Disturb" on your desktop to make sure no messages come through during a video interview where you may be sharing your screen. Here's how to turn off desktop notifications when you're on a video call.
First, check your WiFi connection. Click the WiFi button in the bottom right on your screen to check your network connectivity. If you have an ethernet cable and can plug your computer directly into the wall, have it ready for any WiFi issues. If not, have your phone handy, and like we said before, use your phone as a personal hotspot to quickly get a strong connection and stay conscious of your interviewer's time.
Common free video app choices include Google Hangouts, Skype, and these other user-friendly video software apps. If your video conferencing app crashes unexpectedly, send the interviewer an email right away to let them know you'll be jumping back on the call, double check your WiFi connection, and set up a personal hotspot to quickly get back on track. To avoid this, try to quit all of your other apps before the interview starts.
Your remote interviewer may ask for your resume, work samples, or other various documents during the call. To avoid any embarrassment of sending the wrong file, create a folder on your desktop with any documents you may need during the interview. That way, you won't waste time searching for the right doc and potentially sending the wrong one.
Video interviews are a great way to showcase yourself and your personality in a convenient, cost-effective, and time-sensitive way. For employers, video interviews will widen your applicant pool and save you time and resources, expediting your interview and hiring process. For candidates, remote interviews allow you to take multiple interviews in a day and explore companies and roles you otherwise may have not had access to. Remember to stay professional and be aware of your surroundings and to stay calm and remember that interviewers are people, too. As long as you prepare ahead, any technology mishap can be worked through.
Use these suggestions and this video interview fail won't happen to you: