No matter how many interviews you’ve been on, they can still be nerve-wracking. Add to that the stress of ensuring that your WiFi, computer, and video conferencing technology are all working properly, and it’s easy to be thrown for a loop. With in-person interviews currently at a halt, many employers are relying on software like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams to keep the hiring process moving.
The good thing is, you’ve probably been using these technologies in your personal life to stay connected with family and friends, so keeping just a few extra things in mind will ensure that you put your best foot forward in any video conference interview.
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Test, then test again.
While a Zoom get-together with friends is important to stay connected during these challenging times, if the WiFi briefly cuts out, it’s not the end of the world. However during an interview, it’s going to be problematic if the picture keeps freezing or your audio cuts out in the middle of a question.
To minimize your chances of a technological interruption, make sure to test your WiFi in advance of the interview. Even better, sit in the same room as your router to ensure the strongest signal. It’s also important to test the actual video conferencing software that is going to be used. Some platforms require you to create an account or download a desktop app, so make sure all of that is ready to go and you’re not running late to the interview because of these extra steps.
Turn off notifications on your computer and phone.
It’s so simple, but can be so disruptive during an interview! If you have messaging apps like Slack or iMessage synced to your computer, make sure your notifications are turned off so the interviewer isn’t hearing a ‘ding’ every time you receive a message. The same goes for your phone – even better, if you’re using the audio through your computer, turn your phone off for the duration of the interview. The measures you would take to prevent interruptions during an in-person interview apply remotely, too.
Designate a space for a video conference interview.
With most people staying at home these days, it’s easy for there to be distractions and background noise – dogs barking, children playing, a significant other working from home. Find a separate room or space in your home that is as distant from those distractions as possible, preferably a spare bedroom or office.
Once you’ve found a quiet space, assess the lighting. Does the room have a lot of windows that natural light comes in? If so, position yourself so that you’re directly facing those windows. This will help brighten up your face on camera and not create a distracting, blinding light that makes it hard for the interviewer to see you. And if the room tends to look dark, make sure you have plenty of lights on to compensate.
Plan your outfit the night before.
If your wardrobe has mostly consisted of sweatpants and t-shirts lately (we’re all in the same boat), your typical “work clothes” have likely been sitting idle in your closet for a month or two. That means there’s a good chance of wrinkles. Take out the clothes you’re planning to wear for the interview the night before to determine if anything needs to be ironed. And please, please do not wear interview-appropriate clothes on just the upper half of your body! It might be tempting to put on a blazer with pajama pants, but don’t do it. Even if the interviewer won’t see you below the shoulders, you’ll have a better frame of mind if your entire outfit reflects professionalism.
If you keep these tips in mind for your next video conference interview, you’ll be just as impactful as if you were interviewing for a role in-person. Good luck!