Okay, that’s great, but what about me?
By Katie Yapp
Last week, we talked about how, as an interviewer, you can make video interviewing work for you and for the wider business. How that despite being forced into a scenario none of us were expecting, and a lot of us were, understandably, unprepared for, you could make the best of the situation in terms of streamlining your hiring process.
We discussed a number of ways in which you can get positives from video interviewing that actually, you may not be able to in a face to face environment and also how to keep the interest of those key future hires during tumultuous times.
But what about if you are the one interviewing? I know, it’s all well and good us giving the interviewers all the advice, but how are you going to ensure you are going to get that job in the bag, without being able to build the rapport that comes with a face to face interview?
First and foremost, remember that eye contact works differently on video, we know looking at yourself at the bottom of the screen can be distracting…! But try and refrain from looking at both yourself, and the interviewers in front of you. Instead, look at your camera lens as much as you can, this will give the illusion of you keeping eye contact with them.
Arguably the biggest benefit for candidates when interviewing over the phone is the fact you can have your CV in front of you, you may have access to the webpage of the organization in front of you, you might even be really prepared and have written bullet points based on the job spec in front of you. It’s all right there at your fingertips if you want it.
This can easily be translated into video interviews, but remember, although they might not be able to see your various bit of paper off camera, they can see you, so keep your eyes up and don’t read off a script!
Read the room
Reading the room can be a tricky one when you are not actually in said room, especially with people that you haven’t yet met, but it can be done. The key things to remember here are:
- Ensure you are speaking to everyone on the video conference – as it will be more difficult to move your eye contact to each individual person, try directing your questions at your interviewers by name
- Remember everyone has a different personality and having your own personality is incredibly important, even more so on a video interview than in a face to face setting. However, just ensure any jokes you feel like dropping will be well received by all those present!
This is a massive one for us, as I know it is for many other interviewers out there. From when I was very young, my granddad continually outlined the necessity of a firm handshake and its importance in making a good first impression. In hindsight, I’m not sure why a small girl needed such a business ready handshake, but it certainly stayed with me, so thanks Granddad, for that!
Unfortunately, the physical contact aspect of an interview, you, for obvious reasons, cannot really do without duplicating a virtual version of Trump and Greenstein’s awkward (but hilarious) elbow bump from this week – which I advise you do not…!
However, in order to replicate those good first and last impressions in a less physical manner, we suggest a clear introduction prepared at the beginning of the interview and, similarly, a conclusion at the end. If you are in the sales profession, you will be familiar with the term ‘closing’. Close them. Close them on you, ensure that you have covered everything that may have been a concern prior to your meeting; any gaps on your CV, any key skills you may be lacking, etc. Leave no room for any later concerns, make them remember you.
Be aware of your surroundings
This may sound like a no brainer, but I have heard some horror stories about camera angles during interviews….! Where is your camera pointed? Flattering angles are wonderful, good lighting ideal; but people, as a bare minimum, don’t spend the whole time with the camera pointed up your nose or held to your ear like so many of our grandparents do.
Think ahead and prepare yourself so you can keep the fidgeting to a bare minimum. Try and have a plain background if possible, maintain good posture – slouching on the sofa is a no.
Most importantly, limit distractions! I did a Skype interview from my friends living room recently and just as the interview was ending, her (admittedly, very cute) little dog found her way up onto my lap and stuck her tongue in my ear. As you can imagine, it threw me entirely off what I was saying and did not leave the best impression, I’m sure!
Moral of the story: Ensure that they are remembering you for you, not for something funny that happened in the background.
What to wear?
Whilst we are no fashion experts, it is widely discussed what you should be wearing when attending an interview; and during a video interview is no different. No, you don’t need to wear your matching bag and shoes but do keep it respectable and as plain as possible.
Stripes, spots and other patterns can be distracting, as can bright colors, so we suggest monochrome where you are able. Navy is always a good ‘go to’ as well, exuding reliability, stability and trust.
Anyone who knows me will that that I suffer terribly from the need to fill awkward silences, or any silences really! So without fail, I always fall into the trap of talking over people in video / phone interviews, which his is never a good look and results in me talking over them even more with my endless apologies.
Be mindful, take it slow, practice active listening and ensure that your interviewers have finished asking questions before you start to reply. When the overlaps do happen, don’t worry and don’t let it throw you off course, just take a minute (not an actual minute), take a breath and continue.
Most importantly, remember that all the usual rules apply. Be yourself, smile, enjoy it as much as you can. You very possibly may be working with these people soon so try and get as much from your time with them as you are able.
Your interviewers are only human, and these times are as uncertain for them as they are for you. Prepare, ensure you are validating all your answers with examples and also that you know not only why you want the role, but also why you want to work for the business, what is it you love about them? Why are they different to other options you may have? And what value can you add for them that no one else can?
You got this!
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