Video Interviews Are Here to Stay - This Is How You Knock It Out of the Park and Get the Job!
Q: I am happy to get the interview, but with COVID-19 keeping everyone at home, this insurance company has scheduled a video interview. Can you give me advice on how to excel during this interview?
A: If you had asked me this question in February, I would have given you a much different response. Most pre-COVID-19 video interviews consisted of a series of questions where you recorded your answers via your cell phone one by one and, when finished, sent the file back to the company. You didn’t have any interaction with the employer. Job seekers felt very challenged by this type of video interview.
During COVID-19, video interviews are being done on platforms like Go To Meeting, Google Hangouts, Microsoft meetings and Zoom. They are one on one with the employer, and you both get to see and interact with each other just as if you were meeting in person. The questions they will ask you are the same ones you would expect in a face to face interview. The weird part for so many job seekers is the fact the interview is live, most likely being recorded, and you will feel like you are looking into a mirror answering questions.
However, you can excel in these video interviews. I have talked to many job seekers that have recently video interviewed, and these are the things that worked well for them.
If you have a laptop with a camera and mic built-in, this is the best way to interview. Try at all costs, not to use your cell phone. If you don’t have a laptop, I would suggest buying a Chrome Book ($130.00). This is an inexpensive solution that has a good camera and mic.
Cell phones will work but you have to stabilize them. The best way to do this is go to Best Buy and get a table tripod ($15.00) that will support your phone.
Ear phones. I would recommend not wearing earphones during the interview if you can avoid it. The video interview is a real face to face interview and anything thing you can do to look natural makes for a better first impression.
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection by testing the meeting software the employer sent. Most virtual meeting solutions have test sites so you can get comfortable.
Do these things 24 hours before the interview.
Video Background. Lighting is also essential. Ideally, natural light works the best, but you want to make sure wherever you set up, the employer can see your face. Non-verbal communication is very important during a video interview.
Cue Cards. Create some cue cards. Use some poster board and in large words, write down anything that will help you knock this out of the park. For example, you may include the top three projects you completed at previous jobs that would showcase you talents for the , so when speaking to the employer, you will never forget. Hang these boards behind your computer.
Research the company. Make sure you research the company that is interviewing. Optimizing your video interview setup may take some time. Just remember, you are getting judged on your answer to interview questions, not your video setup
Three very important final points that will allow you to knock your video interview out of the park:
Zoom accounts are free. Record yourself (Zoom allows this) answering a couple questions like “tell me about yourself” and “what do you know about our company”. Watch your replay and realize this is exactly what the employer will see. Practice will make you great and video replays give you instant feedback.
DON’T HAVE A NETFLIX FACE:
During COVID-19, so many people are binge watching their favorite shows. During a live video interview, make a conscience effort to smile while listening to the employer and while talking. Don’t have our binge watching, relaxed face that for most looks like you show no emotion (this is normal when watching TV).
DO NOT LEAVE THE INTERVIEW UNTIL ASKING THIS QUESTION:
Employers typically ask at the end of the interview if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to shine!!! The best exit question is this one, “Yes, I do. I really am impressed with this opportunity. Can you tell me what qualities or skills separate your top performers in this job from your above average performers?”. This shows the employer you are really thinking about exceling in this job while at the same time giving you some information directly from the employer on what makes their top performers tick. Don’t leave the interview without asking! (Practice this in your Zoom account too!)
The best interviews are when you can connect with a hiring manager because they genuinely like you (nonverbal), you can do the job (use examples to demonstrate your answers), and you are prepared. And yes, please dress nicely and let the neighbors watch the kids and the dogs once you go live! Watch this video to help you prepare for your video interview.