Unemployment may be at a record high, butdont look nowlots of companies are actually hiring. So, your rsum caught someones eye? Great, youve got an interview. The catch is that youre not being invited to the office, youre going to be doing it via Zoom or some other video conferencing platform.
Interviewing via a Google Hangout is a lot different than meeting in person, but you dont have to let that reality blow the job for you. To help your next video interview go as smoothly as possible, Ive collected some tips from a number of experts and professionals whove been on both sides of the online interview dance.
1. Standard Rules Still Apply
Just because youre on video doesnt mean you can slack off on your appearance. The trend toward casual, devil-may-care attire in the workplace does not and should not trickle down to your choice of attire for a video job interview. Dress one notch above what the companys typical attire is. So if the office culture favors collared shirts, check that box but also slip on a jacket. Put your work shoes on, says Adam Sanders, director of Successful Release, which helps felons find work after reentering society. It might seem strange to wear your shoes during a videoconference, but it has an important psychological effect on you. Also, be sure to wear solid colors, as stripes and complex patterns can look awful on video.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Close the door and windows in your room. Shut off the TV down the hall. Silence your cell phone (unless youre using it for the conference, see tip #7 below). And make sure the only window open on your computer screen is the video platform you are using, says life coach Tom Marino. Silence all pop-ups. The last thing you want is to lose your train of thought.
3. Banish the Pets and Kids
You know that barking dog who haunts every business meeting? Hell ruin your interview too. I can't stand when dogs start barking in the background, says Matthew Ross, COO of Slumber Yard, an online mattress review site with remote staff. That tells me the candidate is not taking the interview seriously. You wouldn't bring your dog to an interview in the office, so take the same approach for online interviews.
The same advice goes for your children. Park them in front of a screen in a faraway part of the house, and give them enough candy to last the length of the interview.
4. Find a Neutral Background
More than any other tip, pros said that careful attention to your background is absolutely crucial. A bedroom with a sloppy bed, a home office full of clutter, a kitchen table & all of these connote information about you to the interviewer, none of it good. Its not only unprofessional, but it also distracts the interviewer, wholl be busy analyzing your dirty laundry instead of listening to what you have to say.
The most common advice: Set yourself up against a completely blank background (one that doesnt clash with your shirt). If youre struggling to find a professional backdrop, try setting up a folding table near a neutral wall or corner, says Michelle Vitus, CEO of Slate Advisers, a career coaching firm. But leave some distance: Never sit right up against the wall, says Karen Ripenburg, a TV producer and media trainer. Allow for at least 3 feet minimum between the back of your head and the wall, so you dont blend into the background and flatten your shot. You will look more confident with some space, and not like you have no escape.