In Front of the Camera: Making the Best of Video Interviews
Whilst working from home was a luxury for many in the years and months gone by, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that remote working is now the norm for us all. As companies now look to adapt their recruitment processes video interviews are fast becoming the first port of call.
Putting yourself in front of the camera can be a daunting experience so how can you make the best impression? This guide will show you some handy tips and help put you in the best light so you can make your next move successfully.
“There’s a Time and a Place for everything” – Alfie, 1966
You should think carefully when planning your video interview, choose a time that you know will allow you to focus on your interview and when things will be quiet around you. If you live near a busy road or a train line, perhaps a rush hour slot might not be best!
You should also consider where best to conduct your video interview. The first step is to find somewhere with good lighting. Avoid somewhere very bright or too dark. Ideally, a well-lit area with natural light is best. If you need to add more light, be sure not to point it directly at you; you want to light the space not give yourself a spotlight.
“There’s No Place Like Home…” – The Wizard of Oz, 1939
Once you’ve found the right space, you need to think about what’s behind and around you. You have probably seen some of the things people have in their backgrounds on many of the video calls taking place online and on television. You can immediately tell what looks good and what doesn’t.
Find as clear and plain a background as you can for your video interview. Avoid busy backgrounds such as bookshelves and patterned wallpaper, you want the camera and the interviewer to focus on you and not be trying to work out whether that is a collection of Shakespeare’s works on your shelf.
If you are restricted for space, one thing to bear in mind is: neat and tidy; a no-brainer but make sure there is no clutter in your background. You want to give the impression of being organised and composed. You can say all the right things, but that pile of dirty washing might be saying otherwise!
“On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink” – Mean Girls, 2001
Video interviews are no different to a face-to-face interview when it comes to wardrobe choices. You should wear what you would to any other interview. There can be a few things to bear in mind however now that your thinking about lighting and camera. You’ll want to avoid bright whites, these can reflect light and change the camera’s picture. Small patterns can also throw the camera’s focus off, especially if you have a busy background so it is best to go neutral and conservative. Colour is fine but check your how your camera responds first.
“Alright Mr DeMille, I’m Ready for My Close Up” – Sunset Boulevard, 1950
Now that you’ve got everything ready for your video interview, it’s a good idea to check your camera. Make sure it’s clear and crisp. Once you can see yourself clearly, you’ll want to get your best angle. If you can, try and get your camera an arm’s length away, just above your eyeline. Not too high or it can make you look small, too low and your interviewer will get a view up your nostrils. No matter how well maintained they may be, they don’t want that.
“You had me at “’Hello’” – Jerry Maguire, 1996
Body language and how you speak is perhaps even more noticeable in front of the camera when it comes to video interviews. You should make sure that you’re comfortable in your seat, happy with how you look and relaxed. The same guide for face-to-face interviews still applies but you might have to focus a little more. Being comfortable at home can mean we tend to get distracted more easily. Try to remove any distractions; turn your phone onto silent, switch the TV off in the other room, and direct all your attention to the interview.
When your interviewer is talking you might find that you need to do a little more to show you’re listening than you would normally. Feel free to nod or verbally acknowledge slightly more than you might in person.
“Houston, we have a problem” – Apollo 13, 1995
Technology isn’t always our best friend when it comes to video interviews. Ensure you save yourself a headache by testing your connection and device. You should always have a contact number or at the very least an email for your interviewer. Make sure your consultant has shared these details with you beforehand.
If something does go wrong, that’s another chance to show your preparedness and adaptability. We recently had a candidate who had a video interview and encountered some audio issues. The feedback from our client was that his resourcefulness demonstrated his skills better than any prepared answer!
“Here’s Looking at You, Kid” – Casablanca, 1942
Well, you’re all set! You look the part, the set is ready, the crew are…well, self-isolating and it’s time to shine.