COVID-19 has drastically changed how the recruitment process looks like. For health and safety reasons, companies have replaced all face-to-face meetings with phone or video interviews instead.

With more people being exposed to video interviews, we’ve also observed some new challenges. Here are some best practices and tips on how to effectively prepare for a video interview to increase your chances of securing a job.

technical glitches you can avoid

video interview tips
video interview tips

1. ensure good connectivity

It is likely that your entire household is at home studying, working, or both. With everyone connected to the same broadband, the bandwidth is being stretched and could result in an unstable WiFi connection. A poor connectivity will usually cause bad sound quality or a visual lag. In the worst possible scenario, you may even be automatically disconnected from the video interview as your device tries to reconnect.

To avoid technical issues and bad interview experience you could:

  • Suggest to your interviewer to have the video call at a time when there are fewer devices connected to the router.
  • Sit near the router to increase your WiFi connection
  • Make sure that there are no partitions or internal walls blocking the signals between the router and your device
  • Use mobile data instead of connecting the device to the router

2. be familiar with the video conferencing tool

Depending on the teleconferencing platform, you may have incompatible software or you’re just not that familiar with it. There are candidates who do not know where the muting or display toggle is and it shows the interviewer that they are unprepared.

There have also been incidences where users forgot to turn off their SnapCamera before logging on to Zoom for a job interview, and end up embarrassing themselves as they rush to switch off the photo filters.

To avoid any embarrassing moments, you could:

  • Log on at least five to 10 minutes before the interview to check your video and microphone functions and familiarise yourself with the features. 
  • Use tablets and smartphones to give a clearer visual as they have higher definition cameras
  • Schedule a mock interview with a family or friend to check on software compatibility

find a suitable location for your interview

video interview technical issues
video interview technical issues

1. a quiet place

With everyone either working or schooling from home, your house may start to get a little crowded. One of the worst things that could happen during your interview is when your parent or child runs in abruptly during the interview to ask you about lunch plans.

Here are some ways to avoid unnecessary distractions during your interview:

  • Choose a video interview location in the house that gives you some privacy (e.g. study room or bedroom)
  • Lock the door so that no one can enter the room
  • Let your housemates know in advance and ask them to keep their voices down
  • Stick a note outside the door to remind your housemates that you’re unavailable

2. a clean background

The last thing you want your interviewer to see is your messy bedroom. An unmade bed or a half-eaten sandwich can show that you’re not an organised person and degrade your chances of securing a job. Your back should also not be against the window as the natural lighting from outside may cause your video camera to adjust its lighting, casting your face in harsh shadows, or worse still, turning it into a silhouette.

Always decide on your video interview background before the job interview. Here are some tips for a clean background:

  • Have your back against a solid colour background or a wallpaper
  • Wear a different colour top to contrast against your background
  • Make sure that your face is brightly-lit on camera

Some candidates have their back against a mirror, which accidentally exposes everything in their surroundings to their interviewer. Furthermore, if you’re wearing only a formal top, your interviewer can still tell that you’re only wearing shorts from the reflection in the mirror behind you.

improve your body language on camera

body language during interview video
body language during interview video

1. show your energy level 

Interviewers often judge the candidate’s body language as a nonverbal cue on how interested they are about the job. For example, slouching throughout the job interview shows a lack of self-confidence. Hand and arm gestures that happen subconsciously would help the interviewer ascertain your enthusiasm and interest for the job.

However, a video interview makes it difficult for your interviewer to assess your interest for the job as they can only see parts of you. Some of the energy from both interviewers and candidates will inevitably be lost through the camera.

Here’s how you can show your energy level during a video interview:

  • Show your arms and the upper-half of your body on camera
  • Make sure that your head nods are not too subtle
  • Repeat the video interview question to show that you’ve been paying attention

2. look in the camera, not the screen

They say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and maintaining eye contact during interviews is often seen as a sign of confidence and honestly.

But maintaining good eye contact is difficult during a video interview, as we often look at the screen instead of the camera. However, this may give the impression that you’re distracted with something else on the screen and disinterested in the job.

Improve your eye contact during job interviews by:

  • Looking at the camera in the device instead of the screen
  • Turn off your television or music playing in the background 
  • Except for the video interview, close all other windows, tabs and applications on your device

reduce any possible distractions

avoid disruption in video interview
avoid disruption in video interview

1. order food after the interview 

Sometimes, the interview may happen during your lunch time and you may want to order food just before it starts, so that you can dig in right after the interview ends.

However, you run the risk of having to excuse yourself to collect the food from the door if it arrives early. Your interviewer may also think that you have poor time management for ordering lunch right before an interview. Poor time management is a red flag for many employers, especially if you are interviewing for a managerial role.

If your interview happens during your meal times, you should:

  • Have a small snack just before the interview
  • Order your food after the interview ends
  • Opt for contactless delivery, if the option is available
  • Leave a note at your door to let delivery staff know that they can leave the food outside the house instead

2. inform your children

It can be difficult for parents to attend a job interview while at home, especially if the child wants attention or starts crying.

If you’re a parent, you should have your interview when:

  • Your child is attending online classes or tuition session
  • Your child’s regular nap time

If your child is old enough to understand the concept of an important meeting, let them know ahead of time and paste a note outside your door to remind them that you are not available during a specific period of time.

preparing for a future of interviews

As more and more people learn about the many benefits of video interviews, many companies are re-evaluating the possibility of using video interviews as a regular recruitment method in the future.

HR technology helps employers drive productivity and generate long-term cost savings. Some of these HR technologies include digital reference checks, online assessment tests and even virtual recruitment fairs.

Candidates must familiarise themselves with new technologies as it is likely that you will have to use them in your next interview. Our recruitment consultants have a thorough understanding of how each employer likes to conduct their interview and candidate assessments. Therefore, they are in the best position to advise you on what type of interview format the employer prefers and the online tests you may have to take to secure a job with your ideal employer.

You can read more tips on our website or browse available jobs.

randstad singapore career guide 2020
randstad singapore career guide 2020

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