The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenging situation for Job Seekers over the last six months. Luckily, the trend has become more positive recently, as unemployment numbers have come down due to more employers starting to hire as they become used to the new normalcy.
What has undeniably changed over the last few months, is the process in which the employers hire candidates. The use of technology has become very prominent, from the implementation of “Virtual Job Fairs” to the increased use of video software to interview. It is important that Job Seekers become proficient with new technology, in particular, the use of video conferencing.
You shouldn’t wait for a Recruiter to schedule you for a video interview before you to begin to think about how to get ready for such an event. Like I constantly stress, your preparation will go a long way towards your success in a video interview. So, let’s take a moment and list some of the things you can do in order to properly prepare for your video interview.
- Know the Software: It is important that you have downloaded and navigated the software that will be used in the video interview. I recommend that you go ahead and download all the potential software that may be used. The most common options will be Zoom (which is the fastest growing tool), Skype, and Microsoft Teams. You may wonder about Face Time, but since that is an Apple product and almost all companies use Microsoft, it is unlikely to be used. Once you have downloaded, then make sure you know how to join a meeting by entering a meeting ID# and password as well as other general navigation.
- Practice Ahead of Time: Just like with regular interviews, asking a friend or family member to conduct a mock video interview can be greatly beneficial. Of course, make sure you select someone that will provide you with honest and critical (if warranted) feedback. Special focus should be spent on how you project via video, as well as your background surroundings.
- Professional Background: This is a nice segue into the next tip, which is to make sure you have a professional backdrop. Please make sure that nothing controversial or obscene is behind you. Quite honestly, you want to have a pretty plain background because you don’t want what is behind you to distract the interviewer from focusing on you. A plain wall, or a bookshelf is a professional look to your backdrop. Most video software even offers “fake” backdrops that allow you to sit in front of a professional look.
- Designated Space: You will want to take the video interview in an area that you will not be disturbed in. Give yourself the luxury of 30 minutes of quiet time to participate in the video interview away from pets, children, etc. It will provide a more professional look to the interview and allow you to avoid the distraction of activity that may take your focus away from presenting yourself in the way that you desire.
- Dress for an Interview: Unless told otherwise, assume that normal interviewing dress protocol will be in place for your video discussion. I know that most companies have relaxed dress codes in the remote work COVID world, but unless you are explicitly told you can dress down, then prepare yourself for a normal interview.
- No Bandwidth Issues: A growing issue with the explosion of remote work, is the strain it is placing on individual and community bandwidth. If you typically have bandwidth issues at certain times, then try to schedule the interview to avoid those high usage situations. You can also explore investing in an improved router or a Wi-Fi Repeater to provide yourself for a better connection. While I would think most Recruiters will be understanding of a bandwidth issue, it is an unwanted distraction that takes you away from selling your candidacy.
- Take Advantage of What Video Interviewing Allows: A video interview allows you to strategically place (out of your camera’s view) key documents that may be of assistance to you during the interview. An item such as a copy of your Resume could prove especially useful during the course of the discussion. It is important, however, that you do not refer so often to whatever notes you have that you are not making sufficient eye contact with the camera.
Job Seekers have always had to adapt to the latest changes in the hiring process. Paper applications led to resumes and e-mail or online submissions. Now, in-person interviewing has progressed to phone conversations, or full video interaction. It is imperative that, in order to stay competitive, a Job Seeker stays current with the latest trends.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional