From meetings to monthly catch-ups, much of our day-to-day life has now moved online. So too have personal interviews, thanks to the introduction of social distancing and virtual working and learning, and the death of the formal handshake.
Much like nailing your entrance exams and scoring exceptionally good marks, having your virtual personal interview etiquette down is seriously important. What's the best way to impress the panel through the online interviews?
- Test your tech
Everyone knows you should never be late for a personal interview, and that still applies over video call. Test your audio and video beforehand. Ask the interviewer for their number or email address just in case you lose connection- it happens and you want to make sure you get the tech issues out of the way.
Being late to a Zoom/Teams/ Google Meet interview is never a good look. And you don’t want to be that person that is troubleshooting when the interview is supposed to start and end up being 10 minutes late.
- Set the scene
This is true that no one is going to want to admit you in their college you if you've got an unmade bed/couch behind your shoulder. Make sure the background isn’t too distracting or filled with clutter. Natural light helps too, so if you can stick in front of a window - lighting will brighten up the look and feel. Having a nice background helps to set the vibe and energy of your space. Keep things tidy, clean and fresh.
The most common advice: Set yourself up against a completely blank background (one that doesn’t clash with your shirt).
- Eliminate Distractions
Close the door and windows in your room. Shut off the TV down the hall. Silence your cell phone. And make sure the only window open on your computer screen is the video platform you are using. Getting Facebook or Whatsapp or shopping sites notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional.
- Computer/Camera Angle
Where you place your computer/camera is also important. You want the camera at eye-level. Again, try to create an atmosphere as similar to an in-person interview as possible. This may mean that you need to elevate your computer on a box or something on the desk. Don’t worry about that. The interviewer will not see the box
- Check internet connection
You can do all the preparing in the world but an unstable internet connection can mean the difference between a great interview and a bad. Practice connecting with friends and family beforehand to make sure the internet connection is solid.
- What you wear
Some individuals think that you do not need to worry as much about what you are wearing because the interviewer will only see the top half of your body. While that may be true 90% of the time, there are two reasons to dress from head to toe as if you were interviewing in person:
- Dressing professionally for an interview puts you in the mindset of the interview. Having on a business top and pajama bottoms may put you in a half-sleepy mindset
- . Unpredictable things can happen in an interview that may make you stand up and walk around. It happens. Be prepared.
- Just like an in-person interview, don’t depend on notes!
Do not think that you can sneak peak answers to questions on your computer screen or table. This is obvious. Prepare as if you would for an in-person interview. It shows! Feel free, though, to have paper and pen with you to jot down interviewer names and details like that. Just don’t focus on it.
- Test Your Gear
Sign up for an account on the service your interviewer is using and download the necessary software. Install a backup copy of the software on a second device (for example, install on both your phone and laptop) just in case one device fails. Now draft a friend to help you through a test run on both devices to make sure audio and video are working, and that your lighting is as good as possible.
- Avoid interruptions
If you are interviewing in a house with multiple people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview while securing any animals away from your interview space. Nothing is less professional than having to tell your interviewer to hang on while you shoo your dog away from the camera.
- Body Language is Everything
Body language is an equally or more important part of interpersonal communication than just words. Since both of you are not in physical proximity, reading body language might get tough. Make sure to smile. Even if you might be scared, having a smile always gives a positive impression to interviewers.
You might be a newbie to the world of video interviews and their etiquettes. Or, you might be yet to get over the odd feeling of talking to a total stranger via video technology. Don’t fret.
Practice will help you get comfortable and better at it.
Get a friend or coach to help with role-playing. Have them get on a video call and ask you all the tough questions an interviewer will usually throw your way. Also, take note of things you shouldn’t say.
Record the calls and replay them to find out areas that still need some ironing.
Ask them for their candid feedback as well. Do this often enough and you’ll get better and more polished at video interviews.
We wish you all the very best for Personal Interviews!
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