Have a virtual video interview coming up?
Outshine your competition & rock your virtual interview
Ways of conducting life, business, including the hiring process, and everything in between seemed to change overnight, right? It is more important than ever to plan, prepare, and execute an effective pre-interview routine and correctly set-up your virtual interview space for the “new normal” way of “going in” for an interview. We put together a few resources for you as a job seeker to help navigate your way through the virtual interview process.
what is video conferencing and how is it used for virtual interviews?
Video conferencing (VC) is the recently adopted, most accessible way tons of people communicate without having to be “face-to-face technically.”
Employers are using this virtual way of phone and video via the web through many different VC platforms. This helps companies comply with social distancing measures that keep you and their employees safer and healthier. It also accommodates the remote workers who may not be able to go into an office for an interview.
What should you expect when using a video conferencing platform for your virtual job interview?
Using video conferencing (VC) software for even the tech-savvy can produce unforeseen “hiccups” during the virtual interviewing process. Virtual meetings are a fantastic way to connect with others anywhere, anytime you have available internet access. You can hold meetings, conduct business, attend classes and training through webinars, visit with friends and loved ones, and so much more. Burnett uses Microsoft Teams and Zoom mostly for internal meetings. We also use additional platforms depending on what we need to use the software for in each circumstance.
Here are a few ways we use VC platforms at our staffing firm to stay connected with our clients, our candidates, internal team, and external contacts…
- Client Employer Meetings
- Candidate Video Interviews
- Internal training courses
- Screensharing for team collaboration
- Team Meetings
- Video Calls to Connect with Our Employees
- Polls & Surveys During Webinars
- Video Recordings, etc.
Displays: Computer (Desktop or Laptop), Smart Phone, Tablet, TV Screen/Monitor
The display is what you will use to see the interviewer. Most devices come with a built-in webcam nowadays, but not always, so check your device to see if you need to purchase one.
If your device doesn’t have a built-in camera/webcam, you will need a working camera to plug into your device.
Microphone / Cell Phone / Speakers for Voice Communicating
If using a laptop or desktop, you will need a microphone and speakers to conduct your interview to communicate with the interviewer. If you don’t have a built-in microphone or speakers on your device (most common if you’re using a computer), VC Softwares usually have an audio dial-in option to use your cell phone to communicate with the interviewer during the meeting.
Proper Cables for Connecting Devices Together
Make sure you have the right cables to connect any external devices to your display. It’s helpful to purchase your external devices/wires at the same time, so you know what you need. Typically, they require USB, HDMI, or Auxiliary – but not always.
Reliable High-Speed Internet Access
Either Wifi or Ethernet works best – This is required for streaming the video conference platform to minimize the potential for any interruptions in the video feed.
Check Out These Helpful Tips for Preparing & Setting Up Your Space For Your Virtual Interview – Ahead of Time
Determine the best place to conduct the interview in your home or quiet distraction-free area.
When choosing your space, make sure you set up your equipment in an area that will not interrupt your interview – this can reflect negatively on the hiring manager. Also, take the area’s lighting into consideration, wifi signal strength, and what will be in the background behind you during your interview that the employer might see.
Test the area’s lighting to ensure you are easily seen during the interview.
Bright, natural light is usually the most ideal. If you have a big window in your home – this can be a great place for natural light. Be sure to place your chair where you are facing the window, and the sunlight is in front of you, not behind you. A bright lamp set in front of you behind your computer with a fluorescent bulb is another option. Overhead lights are usually best on if they aren’t directly over the top of your head. A light behind you or directly above your head creates shadows on your face. If you are doing multiple interviews or will be in additional virtual meetings, a small ring light is a great tool. You can purchase one for around $30 on Amazon. Ring lights are great because some come with smartphone holders to use the lighting behind your device and be hands-free.
Get your computer ready ahead of time and make sure that the microphone and camera are working properly.
Go ahead and set up a virtual meeting with a friend to quickly see if the camera and microphone are working and adjust your volume levels. Have them send you screenshots of what they see on their side, so you will see what the employer will be seeing and make adjustments.
Make sure your device or webcam is eye level.
The person on the other side of your computer screen can’t see what’s under your computer, so grab anything around your home to use to raise the display if needed. You could stack some books, a box, etc. and place your computer on top. This way, you will be looking at the camera at eye level and not down.
Create a free account and download the app for the video conference software
Some of the video conferencing Softwares take into consideration that users might not have an account. You can click the link in the meeting invite to join the meeting, but you can’t test everything beforehand. It creates unnecessary risk for things to go wrong when you try to use the software for the first time during the interview. Visit the software’s website, download the app if necessary, or create a free account to set yourself up for success! If you run into questions, take some time to google resolutions to your issues before contacting the employer. This shows resourcefulness and initiative.
Familiarize yourself with the software you will be using for each interview.
Typically, the person coordinating the interview will send you a link via email or text in a calendar invite with virtual meeting details. You can also ask which software will be used for the interview ahead of time.
Test the software features and save your preferred settings before the interview.
Different Softwares have different features. For example, Zoom has a feature where you can auto-optimize your appearance – just like a Snapchat or Instagram filter! Many of the VC software platforms have background images that you can use to replace your existing background. Keep the background professional if you choose to use one, like a blurred feature, for example. Background images are helpful if you don’t have the ideal background or most professional-looking background in the area you choose to do the interview.
Make sure you know how to mute/unmute and turn video on/off in the software
Each software has a different way to mute and unmute yourself and turn your video on and off. You ALWAYS need to be familiar with how to do both of these functions if you need to for any reason. It isn’t uncommon to need to mute yourself while the other person is talking, so they don’t hear your background noise. Just make sure to unmute yourself when you speak again. Some meeting settings don’t allow mute/unmute and are based on the employer’s preferences, so be prepared for that.
Try to look at the camera and not at the screen during the interview.
Tip: Put a little sticker beside the camera light so that you will be reminded to look at the camera and not the screen – this will help the interview appear more “face-to-face.”
Dress professionally / appropriately just as if you are in a face-to-face interview
Virtual meetings are the new “in-person” meetings. It would be best if you still took the time to maximize your professional appearance. Even though you are not in-person technically, you still want to make the best first impression to a potential employer! Employers always take these interviews just as seriously as in-person interviews. Sometimes, even more of an effort is required for a virtual video interview because so many things can affect that first impression that may be out of your control.