The below article is a fantastic piece by JT O'Donnell.
Though the change to video interviewing is partially due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a good chance many companies will stick with this practice even after the pandemic is over.
What does this mean for you?
It simply means you need to make sure you're prepared to put your best foot forward, virtually. This might be a foreign territory for some of you, which is why I want to talk to you about red flags in video interviewing...
1. Too Many Distractions.
The moment something begins happening in the background, the recruiter is no longer listening to anything you're saying. Before you panic at the thought of this, with a little preparation, you can eliminate this dilemma. Here are the most common forms of distraction in video interviews so you can learn to work around them:
Visual Clutter: That gallery wall behind you might look cute, but it can either also appear messy or steal the hiring manager's attention. When setting up for your video interview, opt for a plain background to keep the attention on yourself.
Pets: Don't let your furry companion steal your thunder. Keep them out of the room during your interview.
Family/Roommates: If you can keep your children or roommates out of the room as well, this will be a huge benefit for you. Hearing them playing with toys, talking loudly or playing music will be a huge distraction for both you and the interviewer.
Loud Noises: Now that you eliminated the distractions you can control, what about the ones you can't? Shut the windows of the room you're going to have the interview in. This will make sure that you don't capture any loud noises from the outside world.
This mistake is easy to fix because it's all in the preparation. Before your interview, anticipate interruptions and distractions ahead of time so you can eliminate them before they become an issue.
2. You Didn't Do A Test Run Beforehand
You're probably wondering why you would need to do a test run ahead of time, after all, you know how to use a computer, so you'll be fine right?
There is nothing more frustrating to a hiring manager who sets aside time to interview you only to find out that your wifi connection is bad, or that you don't know how to use the program they are interviewing you on. At this point, your interview has quickly turned into a troubleshooting session, and even if you can get it resolved, you still lost a good portion of your interview time on this issue.
To avoid this major dilemma, here are two things you should test before your interview:
Your Internet Connection. Ask a friend or family member to video chat with you to make sure you don't freeze or break up when speaking.
The Interviewing Platform: Whether the interviewer wants to use Google Hangouts, Zoom, JoinMe, etc, you should know how to use it ahead of time. Set aside some time to play around with the platform. Certain programs make you download things, make sure you do this before so the hiring manager isn't waiting on you. While you're testing your internet, see if your friend or family member will test this software out too!
3. You're Coming Across Too Casual
This is an easy mistake to make because video interviews may seem more relaxed than an in-person interview, but this is not the case.
You should never conduct a video interview in a sweatshirt, sitting on your unmade bed as though you are face-timing a friend. This will give the impression that you aren't taking this interview seriously, so why should the hiring manager take you seriously?
The best way you can ensure that you're not appearing too casual is to present yourself as though your interviewer were in the room with you (because in a way they are!). Think about your outfit, your posture, and what impression your overall demeanour is giving off.
Another great way to convey that you're serious about the job is to be prepared to answer any questions they might throw your way. Not sure how to prepare for this? Check out this free downloadable pdf of the most commonly asked interview questions.
4. You're Avoiding Eye Contact.
Wait, I'm telling you to make eye-contact with a computer? Yes.
I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out. If you were in an in-person interview you would maintain eye contact with the recruiter, right? It's the same thing for a video interview, only instead you need to maintain eye contact with the camera.
This is important because if you don't look at the camera, the hiring manager might think you're reading notes, are nervous, or are distracted. Either way, this simple thing can severely impact your chances of acing the interview.
If you want to take notes this is okay, but let the interviewer know this ahead of time. A simple, "Do you mind if I take a few notes?" will let them know that if you do look down, it's because you're taking notes and that you're still engaged.
Remember, after you are finished taking notes however, eyes should go back up to the camera. Talking directly to the camera is a must if you want to have a successful interview.
A note of caution, you will feel silly doing this, so I recommend practising answering a few questions talking to the camera. This will help you feel more natural when it comes to the real interview.
The Bottom Line
Prepping for a video interview isn't hard, but the impact it can have on your ability to make it to the next round of interviews is very high. Planning ahead of time, and remembering these four mistakes to avoid can help you to land your dream job!
Source: JT O'Donnell.