Before the pandemic, interview day would give you plenty of chances to create a face-to-face connection with a potential boss.
From the first handshake to the smalltalk as you walked from reception to your meeting room, you’d be able to establish a rapport before you sat down for the actual interview.
But video interviews are now the standard, at least for the foreseeable future - and you may need to shake up your strategy.
We’ve already talked about the technical things to do before you log on for your interview (see here for our essential tips). Now let’s look at what you need to use to get across your personality and show what a good fit you’d be with the company.
When it comes to the space in view of the camera, the sensible option is to opt for a plain wall behind you or to set your video setting to a blurred background.
But now video interviewing is here to stay, could going neutral mean you’re missing a chance to connect?
After all, when face-to-face interviews dominated, the only real way to get a glimpse of your personality was with your hair and clothes. Now, with the interviewer getting a peek into your world at home, there are more chances to show who you are.
That might be a shelf full of carefully-chosen props or pictures, or just a digital background that sets you apart. Any extra touches could act as a conversation starter and boost your chances of being remembered.
Have you learned how to best light yourself for a video call? Our best tip is to go natural if you can, facing a window. If you sit with your back to a window there’ll be too much shade on your face.
If there’s no daylight, another option is to position a lamp behind the device you’re videoing with. Or invest in a selfie ring light - they’re perfect for brightening your skin and giving an extra glow on screen.
Making the most of facial expressions on video seems obvious, but it’s a biggie. The space you’ll be seen on a screen means you need to work harder to project the right body language.
And nodding and smiling take on the most importance as they’re the quickest way to show you’re taking an active part in the conversation.
Don’t forget that it’s easy to cut out the other person’s microphone, and chipping in too much to agree with what the interviewer is saying - with ‘Yes’, ‘OK’ or ‘I see’ - can disrupt the flow of the conversation. It’s far better to nod and smile silently to show you’re on board until it’s your time to talk again.
As we tell the job hunters we get to know at HR GO, making good, consistent eye contact with the person who’s interviewing you is crucial. But there’s a different way to master it online.
It’s now all about digital eye contact. And that means remembering to look directly at your webcam or camera when you’re speaking - not at the window your interviewer’s appearing in. Our trick to make it look natural? Position that window as close to your webcam or camera as possible.
Creating a rapport means projecting energy through the screen. And a quick shortcut for this is to move your computer or device up a few feet (a storage box on a kitchen countertop can help here) so you can stand up for the interview.
We also know that standing up supercharges confidence. One pre-interview tip we’ve mentioned before is practicing the ‘superhero stance’ for a few minutes, standing tall and strong with your hands on your hips, your legs planted apart and your chin tilted up.
This confidence booster will work for video interviews too. After all, forming a connection online and increasing your chances of getting a job offer means using all the tools at your disposal - whether or not they’re visible on screen.