Virtual / Video Interviews – stage management tips

Like me, you might cross your fingers, toes, and whatever else you have every time a cabinet minister comes on the telly in the hope that we might get a glimmer of the light at the end of this very long and solitary tunnel…

Whilst the lock down might eventually ease, video interviews are here to stay.

You might be led to believe that the world is ending, however, some companies are using this time to get ahead in acquiring talent critical to the future of their success.

The one experience that all candidates share is that the selection and onboarding process is now almost entirely virtual for traditional office-based roles.

CONGRATULATIONS! You got a video interview! So now what do you do?

Well…unlike most physical meetings, you get to stage manage the theatre of interview during a video call…meaning you have some degree of control in making sure your non-verbal / body language cues are presented properly.

Like most things in life, you can either do something with this to improve how you come across, or leave it to chance.

Here are some tips we have developed to help you get the most out of a video interview.

Things to think about before the interview:

  1. Location, location location. This might sound obvious…but the first thing you should do is find somewhere appropriate for your interview – somewhere quite with plenty of lighting. Also take down the Fast & Furious 7 poster you have in the background.
  2. Mic check. Check your hardware – if you’re using a laptop, does it have charge? Can you keep the camera still during the interview? Is the internet good enough and does the video / audio work?
  3. On Wednesdays we wear pink! No matter what anyone says about how casual or chilled the meeting is going to be, always dress professionally. Don’t wear jazzy patterns or anything else that could distract the interviewer.
  4. Forget your 1000 tabs, print it. Print a copy of your CV and write out your pre-prepared questions for the interview. If you know there’s going to be a technical element, don’t rely on notes to get you through it – this will be obvious to the interviewer (just as it would in person!)
  5. There are no excuses for being late. Sign on 5-10 minutes before the start of the call of a platform you are already aware of. 10-15 min earlier if it’s a platform you’ve never heard of. There are millions of video-conferencing tools out there including bespoke tools. Actually millions. Google the platform to see what it looks like so it’s familiar when you log in and spend time to adjust the platform to suit you i.e. their video on your screen just below where the webcam is.

Things to consider during your interview

  1. DING DING DING. There’s nothing worse than unwelcome distractions so tell everyone in your house you’re in an interview during this call and unless the house is burning down they need to leave you alone. Also put your phone on silent and close everything else down on your device.
  2. Your pen is mightier than notepad.exe You probably don’t want to faff around with another app to make notes whilst also making sure you’re maintaining normal eye contact, so have some paper and a pen to make notes.
  3. Smile, you’re on camera. Don’t forget to smile and nod to show agreement with the interviewer and use hand gestures to create an appropriate level of energy to show enthusiasm. Also remember that you’re not guiding a plane to land… Think about camera positioning to capture your body language.
  4. Look at the webcam to maintain eye contact. To make it easier to do this, make sure that the other person’s video feed is at the top of the screen OR takes up the whole screen. Remember to occasionally break eye contact and re-engage as you would if you were sat in front of the person.
  5. Don’t forget, it’s still an interview. As you would in person, remember to ask questions and thank the interviewer / panel members. The people interviewing may not be used to video interviews so be careful to spot opportunities to leave a positive lasting impression.

Can you think of anything else? Please email me:

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