Most job seekers are well aware of the importance of face-to-face job interview and deservedly invest resources mastering the various techniques to come out on top. Similarly, candidates are also aware and comfortable with the fact that a typical recruitment process may include a phone-based interview, however some are taken back at the prospect of attending a video chat interview.
Increasingly, employers and agencies use two-way video interview as a modern day successor of phone interview or as an additional stage before the face-to-face interview. If you are apprehensive about your chances to succeed in this type of challenging digital environment, we’ve put together a number of tips that will help.
Always Come Across Willing – If the notion of video chat interview comes up always embrace the opportunity. As you will quickly learn, there are solid techniques that will help you succeed.
Choose Your Settings – There are three ground rules to choosing the right environment for the interview. Background noise should be minimal and the settings behind you must appear respectable for the occasion. Naturally, stable Internet is required to facilitate the video streaming.
A meeting room is the ultimate environment, however most job seekers haven’t access to such room, or at least, to be used for this purpose. A suitable place is at home, provided that you are able to secure an hour of peace and quiet from other household members and that you have ensured that the background behind you comes across neat and tidy. If you are currently employed elsewhere, many employers and agencies will accommodate your needs by suggesting a slot early in the morning or later in the evening.
Device and Software – Most employers and agencies will use free tools such as Skype. If you haven’t an account with the software provider, you will need to create one well ahead of time. For your username (which is often visible to the interviewer) choose your name or variation of your name as opposed to anything silly which might reflect on you. You will then need to install the software on your machine. It is good practice to install it on two machines, so you have a backup just in case one device misbehaves during the interview.
Essential Preparation – If you are unaware of the workings of the software, whether Skype, GoToMeeting or any other, you should visit YouTube for helpful tutorials. Configure the software and double check that the microphone and speakers are working correctly. Prepare whichever supporting materials you need well ahead of time.
Dress The Part – It is recommended to address head to toe for this type of interview, even if you think that the interviewer won’t see your bottom part. Dressing professionally helps you get into the right mind set for the interview and there’s always the odd chance that the interviewer will see your entire stature. Don’t take any risks, dress head to toe as if you are attending a face-to-face interview.
Practice Makes Perfect – Video chat interview is new to many candidates so practice is often required. Ask a friend, advisor or agency to conduct a test interview (often called to as ‘mock interview’) to get more familiar with the situation. Take this opportunity to test your knowledge of working with the software, how you come across to the other side (use picture-in-picture feature) and your settings.
During The Interview – Keep your tone natural and if possible mimic the pace of the interviewer. No need to shout as it will distort your voice rather than amplify it. Look at the camera rather than at your desktop which in turn will appear to the other side as making eye contact. If the interview is cut short due to a technical glitch, allow the interviewer to attempt making contact again. During this time, check your Internet speed and switch on your backup device. If the interview cannot be completed over video, suggest completing it over the phone as opposed to missing your interview opportunity.
At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for their time and suggest that you are available to answer for any further questions by video, phone and of course by face-to-face meeting.
Written by The Carling Partnership Ltd (CPL). A leading drink industry recruitment company working exclusively within the brewing, cider and distilling job sectors. Follow CPL on Twitter and Linkedin.