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Video Interviewing – Fail It or Nail It

Posted by Tami Riggs

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Feb 22, 2024 12:15:00 PM

Video-job-interview_smMany employers have candidates present their qualifications in a video call before inviting them for an onsite interview. This was precipitated in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, remote interviews during early rounds have become standard practice in the recruiting and hiring process. They are a strategic tool used by employers to screen a wider pool of candidates with more scheduling flexibility and fewer delays and cancellations. Not only do they save hiring managers time and overhead, but they also assess an applicant’s IT savviness and credible technical skills with platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. This can be particularly important for hybrid and remote positions. Video calls are equally beneficial to those who interview because they eliminate commute concerns, parking difficulties, and waiting in queues. Virtual meetings hold as much value as in-person meetings before final interviews, yet there can be downsides.

Nailing an internet interview through preparation and well-rehearsed responses can quickly tank with audio, visual, and technical fails. In addition to researching the organization and position description, a few other facets need to be considered. These include assessing distractions, staging the backdrop, and troubleshooting technical issues.

Distractions created during video conferencing take the focus off you and your credibility, which could cost you a face-to-face opportunity. Avoid taking a virtual call outdoors, in your parked car, while in transit, or in a noisy place with errant family, children, or pets in the background. All homes have a space, corner, or blank wall that can be made video-friendly.

Consider your backdrop. Be mindful of how your interview environment appears to others. This means accounting for construction, landscaping and traffic commotion, toddler tantrums, people and pet disruptions, virtual backgrounds, filters, ornate wall art, and many other random things. Your surroundings and personal effects could divulge aspects of your life that you want to be kept private, and interviewers might form biased judgments based on them.

Set the stage and establish a professional undisturbed space for your video call. Take the time to organize your virtual area and external elements to minimize the possibility of unanticipated disturbances. Public spaces like coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and libraries have been used, but it is more difficult to control the backdrop in populated venues. Virtual environments can come with distractions and connectivity complications that might not otherwise be present. Treat the online interview as seriously as a physical one.

Here is how to master virtual interviews and avoid common pitfalls:

  • Dedicate an intentional virtual space for professional communication: Manage and optimize the environment for a positive experience. The ideal place should be indoors, free of background noises, and uncluttered with good lighting. Consider a plain wall with minimal décor. 
  • Shed some light: Whether natural or artificial, lighting should come from behind the camera, not behind you. Avoid sitting with your back to a window.
  • Minimize visual clutter: Check what can be seen in the camera view. Keep it simple and organized. Interviewers should see you as a professional. Anything of a personal nature or in plain sight – from an unmade bed and messy living area to dirty dishes in a sink or other knickknacks on countertops and surfaces – can detract from the meeting. Frame yourself for a good “headshot.” Make sure the screen area is well-balanced and compliments you.
  • Select appropriate filters: Consider a low level of detail and neutral tone. Bright colors, patterns, stylized backgrounds, cartooned themes, and custom images can be a barrier to effective communication.
  • Test your technology and Wi-Fi well before the meeting: Software, hardware, speakers, mics, headphones, camera, internet connection, and bandwidth must be in working order. Make necessary computer updates, disable notifications, and close other programs and competing applications during the call. Use your computer and not your phone. Turn off all other electronics.
  • Sign on early: Log in a few minutes before the meeting starts to ensure you can resolve any technical issues or potential disturbances.
  • Dress fully from head to toe in business attire: It puts you in a professional mindset. If you are not clothed from the waist down and stand up before disconnecting (or experience a camera aim issue) it could reveal much more than intended. Consider wearing solid colors in blue, black, or grey. Approach grooming, makeup, and accessories just as you would for a meeting in person. Dress for success!
  • Remove other distractions - family, children, roommates, pets: Inform members of your household that you are interviewing and should not be disturbed. If you have small children, arrange for a caretaker. Close doors to keep pets out and prevent surprise cameo appearances.
  • Keep a copy of your resume nearby: Many interview questions pertain to details provided in the resume, so have a printed copy available for easy reference.

Virtual interviews have become the norm and are here to stay. Make them count. Employers who conduct video meetings expect the same level of attentiveness and preparation as they would for personal meetings. Control your online environment, have everything ready on time, and test the technology beforehand. For more advice on career planning and development, additional blogs can be explored at https://www.paralegal.edu/blog/all


Tami Riggs Blog Image


Tami Riggs
Director of Outreach and Career Services

Tami has an extensive and varied professional background that spans criminal justice, paralegal education, and international school marketing and communication. Her career has been guided by a focus on developing strategic partnerships that facilitate school growth and student opportunities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Degree in Criminal Justice from Texas State University.

Topics: career, featured

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