It goes without saying that the Novel Coronavirus outbreak has changed many of the ways we interact with other people this year. And one of the major changes is an increase in interviews over live video conferencing as recruiters have to practise social distancing too.
A regular interview may already seem nerve-wracking enough to you as a graduate jobseeker, but now you need to figure out how to deal with one over a video call too? Don’t fret – here are some handy tips on how to tackle these “new normal” interviews with ease.
Preparing for your live video interview
Going into a live video interview isn’t just as easy as signing in, turning on your webcam, and talking! You’ll want to do a bit of prep work beforehand to ensure you set the right tone. Here are a few pointers:
Spend some time before the interview familiarising yourself with the platform your interview will be conducted on – whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, or any other video conferencing platform the recruiter prefers.
- Conduct research on the company you are interviewing with beforehand. Interviewers will know if you haven’t done your homework and are reading stuff online as you call – it’s very obvious. They can even hear you Googling questions!
- Get comfortable talking formally in front of the camera. Turn your webcam on and try rehearsing some of your possible responses to interview questions. Don’t forget to pay attention to how you come across on camera as you speak to the screen too! If you can, run through some practise video interviews with friends or career advisors as well.
- Dress like how you would if you are going for an in-person interview, and that includes the parts of you that are off-camera! Dressing right will help get you into the right headspace, and you also won’t be left embarrassed if you have to move around for some unexpected reason.
- Your interviewer would have agreed on a time slot with you for the interview. So block out a quiet spot in your house or room for that time slot in advance. You don’t want roommates or family members walking in or messing around in the background while you’re on the call!
- When picking a spot for your interview, try and find somewhere reasonably quiet and well-lit, with a tidy background free of clutter. You’ll want to project a professional image, so make sure you don’t have anything too personal or inappropriate lurking around behind you!
How to nail your live video interview
Once the big day comes, it’s time for you to shine. Here are some tips on how to present yourself effectively over that live video call:
- Before you even get down to your interview, check your Wi-Fi, webcam, and microphone. An easy way to check how strong or spotty your Wi-Fi connection is for a video call is to stream a HD YouTube video. Observe how the video loads – does it play smoothly, or does it keep buffering?
- Start off by greeting your interviewer as you would in real life. Just because you’re talking online doesn’t mean that you can drop social niceties!
- Try and get to know your interviewer before jumping into the interview proper. Make some small talk, or ask them a bit about themselves and how they’ve been doing. Video conference calls are always slightly awkward for everyone, so your interviewer may appreciate you trying to break the ice.
- When talking, try and speak slightly slower than usual and put extra effort into choosing the right words to get your points across. The biggest difference in a live video interview and a real-life one is that non-verbal communication doesn’t translate as easily. So remember that your words are all you have to rely on.
- If the call glitches, freezes, or lags, don’t panic! Keep calm, wait for the call quality to be restored, explain that the call glitched up for a bit, and check with your interviewer if they heard everything you said before.
- Try your best to look at the camera rather than the video feed on screen. Even though this feels rather awkward, one of the best things you can do in a video interview is to maintain eye contact!
- Most importantly, just like you would do with an in-person interview, don’t forget to follow up with your interviewer afterwards, whether with a thank you email or by connecting over LinkedIn.
Some tough questions to look out for
Just because your interview isn’t physical doesn’t mean that you’re excused from tricky questions! In fact, you’ll be getting the exact same questions you’ll get in-person. Some more timely examples of these questions may include:
- How do you think our business has been affected by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic this year?
- Which of your achievements or experiences best demonstrate your key strengths?
- What has this pandemic and its aftereffects taught you about yourself?
- What steps have you been taking to stay informed and relevant amidst all the uncertainty this year?
- How do you see your career developing over the next few years in a post-Covid-19 world?
Some of these questions may seem like real head-scratchers, but it’s not about getting the “right” answer! Remember that recruiters just want to get a better sense of who are and how you approach difficult situations that you may not fully understand.
Take time to do your research beforehand on how the recruiter’s industry may have been affected. Make sure you put in the extra effort during the interview to talk through your thought process to explain how you arrived at the conclusions you did.
If you need more help with answering tough interview questions in general, feel free to check out some of our other tips here.
And last but not least, remember to come prepared with questions of your own! This is the perfect time to hear recruiters’ insights on where they see things going during this time, and how their companies have responded to the pandemic. It might just give you some fresh talking points if you have other interviews lined up!