The way interviews are conducted is changing, and it may never go back.
In the old days (one month ago), you would prepare for an interview by researching the company, scripting your answers to commonly asked questions, and printing several copies of your resume or portfolio to leave behind. On top of that, there was the time driving to the interview, parking, waiting in the reception area, going through the interview and then driving back home. For people conducting the interview, there was lots of planning and coordinating of schedules to make sure everyone was available at specific times. All in all, the man hours devoted to one interview were much greater than the time you actually spent in the interview.
Well, in today’s brave new world, we still have the research. We still practice our answers. But all the rest goes away. Now, we simply need to park in front of a computer and log in.
Parts of our society will forever be changed by what we’re currently dealing with. Corporate offices will shrink as more and more people work from home (and discover that they actually like it). Video conferencing will become the standard, since “not everyone is in the office.” Rest assured, the early rounds of interviewing will be done more regularly through video conferencing. So, what does that mean for all of us?
Become Familiar with the Technology
There are a number of video conferencing platforms to choose from. I use Zoom. (That is not an endorsement, just the one I use.) You should, however, become familiar with being on a computer with video. Being on the receiving end of a video conference is generally much easier than setting up the call. Use two computers in your house and practice, especially if you have an interview coming up and know which platform will be used.
Make Sure Your WiFi is Working
There’s nothing worse than dropping a video call. If you experience problems during your practice session, unplug your router and modem and plug them back in after a minute or so. Doing so will “clear the memory.” I’m not a techie, but nine out of ten times, when I am having issues, this resolves the problem. Of course, if your equipment needs to be replaced, replace it. This form of communication is not going away, so get equipment that is reliable. The last thing you want is having your fate determined by faulty equipment.
Dress for the Part
The video (if you’re sitting down) will only capture you from the chest up. If you want to wear your pajama bottoms, go for it. However, make sure that, above the waist, you’re dressed as you would for an interview. Whether it’s an interview in their conference room or your living room, you need to look and dress professionally.
The camera on your computer is generally in the center above your screen. Often, during a video call, the people you are talking with are displayed to the side. It looks odd to the person on the other end if you are always looking to the side of the computer because, to them, it looks like you are not making eye contact. Practice looking into the camera. Make believe the camera is the person’s nose. That puts you in direct line of sight with them. And make sure your computer camera is at your eye level. You don’t want the interviewer looking up your nose.
Find a Quiet Spot Free from Distractions and Clutter
Yes, your office (if you have one in the home) is a great place to do this and probably where your computer is already set up. When you turn that camera on, what is behind you? A bookshelf? Is it neat and tidy? Or does it look like a bomb went off? This is part of your image. Make sure the area behind you is clean and organized. Also, if there is a window behind you, close the blinds or relocate to a different spot. You don’t want distractions from outside and, most importantly, if you have bright light behind you, your face will appear very dark. Always try to avoid back-lighting.
You also want to turn your phones off. Keep the kids and the pets away.
Video conferencing is the new normal for the time-being. This form of job interview will continue long after this crisis resolves itself. Become familiar and comfortable with it.
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