At Kincannon & Reed we’ve been working remotely for more than 35 years facilitating video interviews long before it became a necessity. Following are some best practices to help clients and candidates prepare to engage remotely, present their best, and ultimately determine if this is someone you want to work with.
How to prepare:
Both the interviewee and interviewer need to find a quiet, private space with appropriate lighting and, most importantly, low risk of interruption. Consider the background as well. Remove any background items that distract the eye, relocate them or move yourself to a setting that better allows for you to focus on each other. If you have children at home, a significant other or even pet, choose a room that can’t be disturbed or take other appropriate steps to ensure privacy. Maintaining complete focus in this new interview medium always delivers the best outcomes.
Don’t let a subpar internet connection or your unfamiliarity with technology stand between you and a good impression. If you are using conference software you haven’t used before, download the application and troubleshoot well before your actual interview. Test your webcam with others. Thoughtfully considering the camera angle and asking yourself (and others) if it’s projecting you at your best. If not, adjust accordingly. And if you aren’t accustomed to being on video, or familiar with the technology, three words of advice: practice, practice, practice. The more you do, the better you’ll get with both the technology and the art of video interviewing.
Be Early and Entirely Undistracted
Always sign into an interview several minutes in advance. Not only is punctuality appreciated, it also gives you time to address any last-second technical challenges. Again, to avoid all distractions, be sure to close out of any other application and silence your phone. No one wants to hear chimes in the background or see you peaking at a text message. Since this is an entirely different medium, it pays to pre-prepare in every way possible.
Make It (Almost) Just Like Being There
Even though we are all remote, you will want to present your professional self as you would if you were there in-person. The good news is, unlike a phone call, a video call still allows you to display and interpret body language—and that goes both ways. Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, think about your choice of clothing, your posture and how you hold yourself. Also, keep in mind where your eyes are focused, this means look directly into the camera, as uncomfortable as it may feel. If possible, adjust the conferencing software application so the individual you are talking with appears right below the camera to help you maintain the eye contact. Most importantly, always be yourself. Expressions, hand gestures and even smiling are all great ways to let for others to know are engaged.
And, finally, remember to follow up with a quick email thanking everyone for making the effort to connect.
Following these simple tips will help ensure a better outcome and, importantly, will let you know if the person on the other end is someone you want to work with.