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Video interviews: prepare & elevate your performance

The pandemic we are currently living through made online communication essential, as video calls are something quite popular – from online classes to fun “squad” gatherings, platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are thriving, as they are used by millions of people around the world on a daily basis. Our society is becoming more and more involved in online events and other activities requiring a live video connection and we are truly getting used to that nowadays, after several months of isolation, social distancing and other protective measures.

However, video interviews aren’t something new, they’ve been used for quite a while before the pandemic as university admission interviews for most international students couldn’t be conducted in any other way but online. Same goes for job interviews when the position you’re applying for is abroad. Now, with the situation the world is facing, such job and university interviews are conducted via video calls, no matter the location and this might become the norm for the next several months or more. That’s why we have decided to give you several tips which would be useful for online interviews, find them out below!

The knowledge

Is it a job interview, or a university admission one? No matter the answer, you must prepare – knowing essential information about the company/institution is quite important. You must know the institute well and you have to be aware of its values and aims in order to be able to answer questions like “Why do you want to study here?”. The same goes to business matters, when you’re having a professional online job interview.

The materials

It is good to have your CV/motivational letter (with the most important parts highlighted) on your desk while the interview is going. Usually, the interviewer asks questions in connection with what you’ve presented so far, so be ready to give further details with the help of what you’ve already sent. Be sure to have a pen, some paper and perhaps other items that might be useful in your particular case. Do not forget to keep your phone muted.

The place

Search for a quiet spot where the background is good enough. Try finding a place in your home where the walls are white or at least aren’t quite colorful as that would grab the attention and irritate the eye of the interviewer. Be sure to have a clear background without any chaos and mess hidden in the angles like piles of clothes or anything similar. If you have a pet, make sure that it has food, water and some sort of entertainment (like a toy) and keep it in another room for those 40-60 minutes. Let all the people living with you (family members, roommates) know that you need space and zero noise in the next 1 hour and perhaps lock your room if that would make you feel more protected from sudden interruptions.

Tip: Have a window nearby, light will flatter you and slightly increase the quality .

Your appearance

The fact that your upper body is the only visible part of you doesn’t mean that you shall wear the lower part of your pajamas while rocking a fancy shirt on top. If your chosen company/university insists on smart/formal clothing, you shall respect that and get dressed properly. Try wearing toned down colors as the camera won’t be harsh on them and make it look as if there is huge colorful spot on the screen… And perhaps your head is somewhere around that place too, just hardly noticeable.

How’s your internet connection?

Check all the cables in the room, as well as the Wi-Fi and all the possible technical issues that might occur. Don’t ruin an opportunity just because of some internet problems.

Test the audio and the webcam

Do a test on the platform you’ll be using, see if your camera works properly and if the audio is clear and loud enough. If you hear or see any incoherencies beforehand it would be much easier to take care of the issues now than seeing how everything’s going wrong in the last minute.

Tip: Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications. You don’t need any Facebook notifications popping out of nowhere, spoiling your concentration.

How to express engagement?

Nodding, smiling, adding a bit of gesticulation – your upper body is all you have now. Your body language shall vibe confidence but that’s way harder when you’re not physically there. That is why you must show off confidence even stronger now, especially with your face, letting the interviewer know that you’re engaged in the conversation, you are listening and you’re responsive. Look at the screen or the camera at all times as it is way harder to keep eye contact.

Good luck on your video call interviews! Do you have any other tips? Share them with us in the comments.

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  - Emily Brontë


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