My cousin text me over the weekend and excitedly after returning to the UK recently she has been offered a job interview! They’re going to be doing the interview by zoom so I thought I’d share my tips on holding and attending an interview via zoom – remember interviews work both ways, you’re both trying to ensure that you are the right person for the job available and therefore it is important that everyone in attendance makes an effort.
1. Let’s get technical
Find out ahead of time what video conferencing platform the interview will be conducted on. There are lots of options these days including Skype, Face Time, and Google Hangouts to name a few.
Conduct a technical trial run of your video conferencing platform a day or so beforehand, giving yourself enough time to adapt if anything isn’t working.
Always check your computer camera (we don’t want to see up your nose or the top of your head!), microphone and internet connection, and make sure you know your login information, especially if you haven’t used the video conferencing application or tool in a while.
Where possible try not to use your phone as they don’t always give the best reception. If you do have to use your phone though make sure it is on a steady surface – no one wants to be shaking through the interview!
2. Attention to detail
Confirm in advance of the interview who will be calling who and at exactly what time. The last thing you want to do is be waiting for a call and find out an hour later that you were supposed to be the one doing the calling in – that won’t impress anyone!
Clarify who is expected on the call – name, job title etc and have a plan for the interview – an interview format so that you know it will run smoothly.
Read through the appropriate details – depending on which side of the call you’re on that would be the candidates CV, covering letter and application or the job description, advert, company information.
3. Dress to Impress
Dress as though you’re going to work, even if you’re at home, and make sure the background the other attendees will see during the remote interview is free of anything distracting (remove knickers from the radiator and/or the dishes from the side in the kitchen – no one needs to see that!).
Many applications allow you to set a blank background – if you can do that its great but if not just have a clear background as far as possible.
Sometimes when you are on a video some clothing will make it hard for others to concentrate – consider video friendly clothing. For example, try to avoid stripes, especially narrow and close together stripes. On camera, they can create a zigzag pattern that is distracting and can give headaches!
Like you would with a normal interview, sit in front of your camera with your interview clothes on – make sure they look professional and don’t distract.
4. Minimise distractions
Make sure you give the people at the other end of the video conference your full attention. Switch off all other apps and notification alerts on the system you’re using. Switch your phone to silent and if you have anyone else in the house, where possible us a quiet space and ensure they know what you are doing and ask them not to disturb you.
You are not going to give your best performance if you’re seeing all sorts pop up on the screen or are worried someone will interrupt you.
Many people find interviews and videoing uncomfortable. Put them together and you have a lot of uncomfortable feelings on that call!
So, start the interview with good introductions. Put everyone at ease and be friendly but professional. Like you would face to face set the scene, check everyone is comfortable and happy to commence.
Prepare your questions in advance. Both parties should be prepared to ask and answer and should have a list of important ones ready. The questions should draw out the skills, knowledge and experience the candidate claims to have to ensure they can fulfil the role you want them to undertake at the correct level.
If they don’t have all the skills and knowledge, consider how much you are willing to train them on the missing gaps – dig deep where required.
Preparing questions in advance ensures you don’t miss any important questions and also ensures consistency throughout the interviews if you are completing multiple interviews.
As the candidate you may have some questions about the job, the company, the culture, the management. Have them with you – show an interest in the role, if you don’t have any the interviewers may perceive that you either didn’t bother doing any research or you aren’t as interested in the job as they’d probably like.
7. Have a strong finish!
When the interview has finished, tell the candidate what’s going to happen next in the process and ask them if they have any questions. Be sure to thank them for their time as well. Remember, you are representing your company during an online interview and you want the final impressions to be good ones.
If you are the candidate also thank them for their time, remain engaged until the end.
Some additional tips:
Along with natural eye contact, try keeping your expression pleasant and engaged. Because often the connections aren’t always the best and there is a delay the attendees will be concentrating hard on the screen so make sure there are no grimaces or eye rolls throughout!!
Smiling conveys a sense of confidence and encourages openness and trust – both things we want in an interview from all parties.
9. Don’t wing it
Sometimes this will be the first impression of each other to each other so make it a good one. Set expectations and standards and ensure that you live up to them throughout the call. You don’t want to lose out on great candidates/dream jobs because you thought winging it would be the best option. Always show your best side.
10. Have a backup plan
Things go wrong! We’ve all been there. We’ve prepared, prepared and prepared again but then things go wrong. The internet goes down, the electrics go off, the phone doesn’t do outgoing calls….
Think about the possibilities and have a backup plan should something happen, again you don’t want poor planning to ruin a great opportunity to fill that role or to bag that perfect job.
I hope you found that useful and we wish you all the best with your upcoming interviews on both sides of the call!
Do you have any other tips or advise for anyone conducting interviews via video? Comment below!
Theresa Cooper is an HR Expert and currently runs CooperativeHR Ltd in West Sussex. Theresa has been supporting clients locally for a number of years and is able to support business owners who do not want or need a full time HR resource.
Her aim is to enable business owners do business and not HR. Give her a call today on 01903 868502 or send her at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you through your people challenges.