How to ace your video “on-site” interview.

As the world continues to address the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies have to rethink their approach to their hiring process. Whilst some businesses might experience a slow down, for others — hiring is still at the forefront of their strategic plans.

Within the technology sector, I’ve seen a quick shift from companies moving to video interviewing as a response— a practice I’ve come across before for earlier stage interviews (video technical interviews) or even remote on-sites for relocating candidates. Here are my tips to nail that format:

Check your equipment before the meeting

Prior to the meeting, you may want to check that your Internet connection, webcam and audio are working. Any technical issue during the interview will create un-necessary stress so it’s always best to be set before starting.

Set the environment

Find a quiet, private, well-lit space where you won’t be interrupted during your interview. Make sure you close any irrelevant tabs on your screen so you don’t get distracted by messages or emails coming through, and remember to turn your phone off as well. Have a glass of water next to you, a pen and notepad so you can take notes throughout the conversation if needed.

Treat it as a standard on-site interview

Dress as if you were going to meet the team in their office. Doing the interview from home doesn’t mean it’s okay to wear your PJ’s 🙂 Study the company’s culture to know what dress code is the most appropriate — if unsure, go with smart casual (and please do wear a bottom, camera incidents happen!).

Pay attention to your body language and facial expressions. Make sure you have a good posture, smile and keep your mood upbeat during the interview. Try to look at the camera when you answer a question so the interviewer feels like you are making eye contact vs looking at the screen.

Prepare for the interview accordingly

A video interview isn’t easier than an in-person interview and therefore, it’s important to prepare as much for this later stage of the process.

Prior to the meeting, confirm with the company what the format will be and what you can prepare ahead of it. Do another round of research to refresh on the company, their company culture, the role discussed and recent projects they’ve been working on. Really dig into their website, publications, social media channels to identify their values and what they look for in people. Any job spec they shared or advertised on their website will also give you some really good clues on what they’re looking for in the person filling this role. It’s good to reflect on that and see how it connects to your own experience so you can prepare examples of work situations to demonstrate the skills/values and how you’d apply this experience to their environment.

Prepare for the unexpected

With all due diligence done, things can always go wrong so it’s always good to prepare a plan B — share other contact methods with your interviewer ahead of the interview if something doesn’t work (i.e phone number, Skype, Hangout…)

In case of interruption or disruption, apologise to the interviewer and ask for a few moments to deal with the situation (mute/turn off camera).

As for any interview, conclude by thanking them for their time and send a follow-up email later or the day after to thank them again and reiterate your interest for the opportunity after meeting with the team!