COVID has changed how we do interview. Here is my tips to ace them.
In today’s climate, you are probable going to be invited for interview via video conference. Video interview can be very different and challenging than face-to-face. You may be invited by Skype, Teams, Zoom or other video conferencing applications.
Audio Call is Not an Option
Even if the interviewer gives a dial in details for audio only, it is certainly not an option. Video call is a must. They have to look at your in person. If they would like to have audio only, they would simply give a phone number, not a link.
Invest in a Good Webcam
If your laptop’s webcam is located in weird place, such as the bottom of the monitor (aka nose cam), do invest in a webcam. It doesn’t have to be expensive, a 720p HD cam is enough, such as this. If it is on top of your laptop, invest in a laptop stand, such as this. Don’t forget to put this in your tax return.
Please the webcam on top of your monitor and turn it on. Pretend that you are in an interview and ensure it is an the good angle. A good angle is the one where the camera is at exactly the same height as your eye. Too low and they will stare at your nose and chin, too high and it will look like you are too short. If the interviewer’s face fill up your screen, reduce the size of your window and drag it up as close as possible to the webcam.
Also make sure you don’t sit too close that you fill up the camera, or too far that you look too small. A good guide is that your face width is about 30% of the monitor’s width.
If you like to write down things during interview, make sure the camera’s angle is far enough to capture your book and pen. Otherwise you will look like you are looking down and depressed.
Eliminate Noise and Distraction
Turn off your TV, get rid of your pets and kids. Close your windows to reduce traffic noise, or go to a library. Do whatever you can to ensure that the interviewer can hear you well and uninterrupted.
A friend of mine disabled his door bell to avoid the stranger ringing while he is on interview.
You should also invest in a good wired earphone. The wireless ones often have audio lag which causing your lip movement not syncing with your voice. You don’t have to spend a lot for it, just make sure it works.
Brighten Up the Room
Make sure the camera have enough lighting to show a good picture of yourself. Also if you usually hang your jacket on your chair, move them. You want to create a good impression of yourself.
If the app has an option to blur or change the background, do consider using them. However you still should tidy up your room.
Maintain Eye Contact (or Cam Contact)
One of the most common interview tips is to make sure to maintain good eye contact. In the video conferencing world, this means looking at the camera when you are talking from time to time. This will create the impression that you are looking at them.
This may feel weird, but think of the webcam as one of the interviewer’s eyes.
Also do not just keep staring at it. It will feel weird otherwise.
Another tip is to drag the app window and drag it as close as possible to the webcam, this way you will be looking closer to the webcam.
This is one that I was not 100% sure. But after giving it some thought, I think it is best to dress up as if you are attending the interview face-to-face. That means if you usually wear suit and tie, then do wear them also now. It may feel weird, but you can leave the shoes off.
Here is my reasoning, while the interviewer may be understanding of the fact that you are at home, and may not be expected to wear shirt, they may also think that you are so lazy that you can’t even be bothered to take 5 mins and change to look professional. Either way, are you willing to risk it?
Do Not be Afraid to Use Phone
If you can’t have a laptop with you for whatever reason, then do not be afraid to use your phone or tablet. Most mid to top end phones have a good front-facing camera. Just make sure you sit it in a phone stand at eye-height level.
Hint: If you got kids and do not have a phone stand, build one with Duplo!
Test Your Set Up!
Finally, do make sure to test your set up. Invite yourself or a mate to a practise meeting with the same app, and just try it out. Make sure the angle looks ok, the camera looks ok, and the audio sounds great.