The coronavirus pandemic is still sweeping across the world at the time of writing this article, and while we hope that this bleak part in our recent history will be over soon, we also believe in the “new normal”. That this experience will permanently change the way we deal with the different aspects of our lives, hopefully, for the better.
For instance, we have learned that various business operations can be entrusted to employees working in a remote setup. That there are ways to be professional even while one is self-isolated at home. And most importantly, not because people are required to practice social distancing and quarantine procedures, it doesn’t mean that the company must pull to a temporary halt. It is possible to continue essential operations, even with a skeletal workforce.
The objective of this article is to share with you how all of that is possible, particularly when conducting interviews from your home. And just like the traditional interview set up in an actual office environment, there are crucial starting points that you must do in order to set your interview on the right track.
Collect All the Needed Information About Interviewees
It can be easy to feel lax when you’re working remotely. After all, working in the comforts of your own home gives a false sense of being more in control than you should, giving you more confidence to “wing it”.
Resist this urge. Have all the information you need ready preferably a couple of days before the scheduled interview. This gives you enough time to review it and collect further data should they be needed.
Carefully Let Interviewees Know About the Interview Format
Giving your interviewees the same chance to prepare, is not “going light” on them. It’s the professional way to do so.
At the very least, you should make them aware of the virtual format of the interview, along with any online tools, applications, and peripherals (such as a headset or webcam) that they must install or ready beforehand to ensure a smooth and seamless experience.
How to Get Prepared for a Video Interview
The next phase in our preparations involves getting your interview environment ready.
Determine the area in your home with the best internet reception. From there, choose a quiet space where you are less likely to be disturbed. Let your family or housemates know as well, as an added precautionary measure.
Having your desk face a window with the natural light streaming in is the best light setup. If this is simply not an option, then we have found a ring light the next best. Place it behind the monitor and camera. We recommend getting an adjustable piece that will allow you to customize your light’s brightness and tone, but this is not required.
Speaking of your monitor, position it directly in front of you with the camera clipped on top of it. Place your needed window as close to the camera as possible to help mimic eye contact.
Your ring light setup might require a tripod, and so will your smartphone if this is your chosen interview device. There are people who suggest placing your phone atop a box, or a stack of books until the camera reaches eye level, but we think this too risky since it can easily be toppled down.
On the other hand, if you’re not going to use your phone during the interview, then it must be placed on a “busy” or “airplane” mode in order to prevent causing distractions.
Finally, a plain wall as a background is ideal. A noisy background will look distracting, visually cluttered, and most of all, unprofessional.
How to Dress for a Video Interview
The third phase of our preparations is how to dress for the occasion.
Let Interviewees Know What to Wear or What to Avoid to Wear During the Interview
Inform your interviewee of the attire that you’re expecting from him. In this way, he won’t be under or overly dressed. This is not required—especially if you consider his choice of clothing as part of the interview; as a clue on how the interviewee views you and your company—but it will be greatly appreciated.
As for you, dress like the boss that you are. Get a men’s shirt style that exudes authority and professionalism. We recommend a good dress shirt in a calm color. Spice it up with a matching tie.
The best thing about virtual interviews is that they don’t usually require bottoms since no one’s going to see them. We still recommend keeping your bottoms as professional as your top, though, in case you’re suddenly required to stand up.
Don’t just put on a pair of dress pants. Show the effort that you have put into your attire by wearing a belt. Men’s dress belts are available in varying width and styles, but a thin and sleek piece is what we recommend.
Finally, let’s talk about colors. We don’t recommend wearing bold and bright colors, but if you must wear them, just make sure to carefully balance them with neutrals.
Dark neutrals like gray and black go best with equally dark color shades like navy or burgundy. On the other hand, light neutrals like beige and white will look best with lighter color shades like lilac or pale green.
To end this article, here are a few more things you can do minutes before the interview itself:
- Clear your desk. Remove any unnecessary clutter.
- Make sure that all the files you need are on your desk, or inside a single folder on your desktop.
- Have a pen and paper at hand to take quick notes down.
- Have a bottle of water ready.
- Perform a tech check. Your head and shoulders must be seen. Reserve some space above your head so you don’t get accidentally cut away if you perform a gesture or straighten up. Make sure that your mic is working perfectly and the lights properly adjusted.
- Lastly, get ready to greet your interviewer with a warm smile. A friendly personality never fails to start any conference on the right track.
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