Well, you’re out of luck – video interviewing is here to stay. That means learning to avoid the pitfalls of virtual interaction.
Here are my answers to some questions you should be asking to prepare for your upcoming video interview.
Question: Can you tell me how to best prepare for the technical glitches that can derail an interview.
Here are a few basic steps:
- Give yourself plenty of time to set up and test meeting equipment. To make sure your technology is compatible, do a dry run. Video call a friend and test out the clarity and sound. Calling into the interview early also gives you the chance to make sure all equipment is working properly. Giving yourself an extra few minutes will help you feel more calm and confident.
- Be proactive. If your computer needs rebooting, make sure you do that before the interview. Shutting down programs you don’t need during the call avoids possible alerts or pop-ups and keeps your computer from getting bogged down. A wired connection is better than a wireless connection. Make sure your audio quality is strong. A headset works best.
- Share large and important files beforehand. If you plan to share or go over big files with the interviewer, send them in advance. Not only will this help you prepare, it will reduce the likelihood that pieces get lost while on the call.
- Skip the free conference call services. While free services can seem very appealing, free generally means low quality and inconsistency, which can leave a bad impression. Trusted providers not only own the infrastructure they operate, they operate at fractional capacity to ensure peak times are covered and service delivery is consistent.
- Work through glitches. If glitches are minor, try to ignore them and keep moving forward. However, if technology problems are blatant and preventing effective communication, acknowledge and apologize for the issue. If video is giving you trouble, try switching to audio only. And make sure you have the number for tech support at hand. Do your best to keep talking while they work to fix problems.
- Always have an alternative way to connect. Share your contact info with your interviewer beforehand. That way, your interviewer can reach you in case technical glitches prevent the interview from going as planned.
Question: What’s the most annoying technical mistake an applicant has made in an interview with you?
One applicant scheduled the interview while his house was being renovated and we had to pause several times due to the noise of workman cutting drywall. Although he apologized, it was irritating because I felt as though he thought so little of my time that he couldn’t be bothered to make other arrangements.
Question: Where should we set up our computer for the interview?
A plain background works best. Also be aware of the lighting – and how it may change during the day. And no pets or babies, please.
Question: What else should a candidate prepare for?
The No. 1 thing to keep in mind is that, unlike an in-person interview where a hand-written note is all the evidence of what you said, this is being recorded. You need to anticipate that your interview will be shared with others. When you answer questions, you need to think about what other people in the hiring process might want to hear from you. And if you are asked back for a second round, don’t be surprised if you are asked to expand on something you said previously. So be prepared.
Question: I understand the importance of impression management in any interview. How is this different in a virtual setting?
Just as in a face-to-face interview, first impressions matter. A lot. That’s why you need to be technically connected early. If you are late, the interviewer’s perception is that you are not prepared – or you simply don’t care. And an interviewer is impressed when it is apparent that you have done your homework and can subtly display your knowledge of the company’s history, value proposition or recent product announcement. Remember to speak to the camera and not the picture so that you’ll give the impression of making eye contact. Smile. HR professionals want prospective employees to be upbeat and display good, positive energy.
Question: Is there anything you want to add?
Just because you’re conducting the interview in your home, don’t treat it lightly. Be genuine, be yourself, but don’t get sloppy. This is a business meeting. Look like a professional. Dress and conduct yourself as you would if the setting were more corporate.
Troy Media columnist Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, is an executive coach, consultant, and international keynote speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She is also the author of STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence.