The Concept of Video Interview Etiquette
Video interview etiquette refers to the various practices and codes of conduct that a person must follow while appearing for interviews via video software. The said practices and codes of conduct are, essentially, decorum, mores, and good manners which indicate that the individual is polished, competent, and professional enough.
Thanks to the pandemic, video interviews have become the order of the day for companies that are hiring staff.
So, whether you are gearing up for your first video interview or you want to brush up on your composure, we’ve got just what you need.
Steps to Improve your Video Interview Etiquette
Whenever discussions about improving video interview etiquette come up, it is easy to think that the matter is relevant only to candidates and potential employees. Candidates should try to do and avoid certain things, however, these civilities are just as important to employers and recruiters as well.
So, if employers and recruiters are looking out for such good conduct, it only makes sense that they exhibit the same.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t you agree?
Therefore, these pointers will be beneficial to candidates, employers, and recruiters alike.
Let’s get to it!
1. It’s all about location
With the growing popularity of video interviews, getting a glimpse of people’s environments has become regular. Although you will not be assessed directly on this, try to keep it as tidy as you can.
Whatever corner of the house you choose to stay for the interview, the environment should be as professional as possible.
Thanks to technology, virtual backgrounds are available to save the day if you are in a tight corner. But, if you can, use a bookshelf, a wallpaper, or some decent wall art as your background. They create a natural and authentic atmosphere.
Distractions diminish your credibility and portray you as unserious.
Here are some steps you can take to eliminate any distraction:
- Keep your family, toddlers, and pets out of the way. They can stay in another room for the duration of the interview.
- Silence your phone and mute all notifications.
- Any construction work or other noisy services can be scheduled for earlier or much later.
- Shut your doors and windows to keep away any intrusive elements.
If for any reason, your house isn’t suitable, look for a library or another serene environment. We strongly disapprove of going to restaurants or cafes for your video interview. All that clanging of spoons, plates, pots, and pans is an absolute recipe for disaster.
No pun intended.
2. Punctuality is key
One of the perks of video interviews is that candidates don’t have to deal with the hassle of driving and traffic in order to get to the employer’s office. Just some clicks and the push of some buttons, and voila!
Surprisingly, there is still the possibility of showing up late to an interview. One step to improve your video interview etiquette is to prioritize punctuality.
Log on at least 5 minutes before the scheduled time. Showing up early is highly beneficial because you can deactivate the video functionality, and tidy up your immediate environment before the recruiter shows up.
Additionally, punctuality will expose any hiccups, and give you a fair measure of time to have them sorted out.
For recruiters, early logging on will save your candidates from wondering if they got the time right, and if their equipment is working right. Also, it paints a good picture of your brand.
3. Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail!
At the risk of sounding like the Boy Scouts, or like Scar and the hyenas in the Lion King animation, I have to say it.
As a candidate, one way of displaying your competence is by researching enough in advance. This implies that you have to pay attention to the job description and find out exactly what they need to fill the role.
Prepare for both industry-specific questions and other normal interview questions. Dig up all relevant information to show that you are the right person for the job.
When answering questions, your responses have to be confident, concise, and direct. Structure your answers in a way that they hit the nail on the head without fluff and beating about the bush. Additionally, we discourage repeating or reciting answers mechanically. Your responses should flow naturally.
It might not be best to attempt to look up answers on Google during the interview; as smooth as you may be, the employer might notice and get the impression that you don’t know your stuff. Instead, we strongly recommend that you make smart notes, and keep them in front of you but out of your camera’s range – a vision board behind your computer will work just fine for this.
Don’t rely excessively on the notes either.
4. Take turns to speak
While you must have been taught this in order to improve your manners as a kid, it is equally relevant in video interview etiquette.
Interrupting your counterpart comes off as rude and passes an unpleasant message about you. No matter how excited you are, you need to wait a moment after your counterpart is done speaking before you speak.
Throw in the element of Internet lag which makes it unsure of when one is through speaking, and you’ll find the relevance of this hint.
5. Your body language speaks volumes
Are you aware that 55% of a message is conveyed via body language?
Therefore, non-verbal cues play a crucial role in how your employer perceives you. Every little thing you do with your body matters and they can make or break your chances of getting the job. This is the same for video interviews.
Image Source: OneEighty
The implication is that candidates need to brush up on their body language for video interviews. You should radiate confidence, optimism, and a healthy spirit. Kick off the interview with a warm smile and a firm “digital handshake”.
Likewise, do away with restlessness, fidgeting or toying with objects lying around. Such actions are a huge turn-off in the business ecosystem.
Another point on how to improve your body language and your video interview etiquette, in general, is to get your posture right. Be sure to sit up straight while maintaining an aura of calmness and relaxation. Don’t slump, hunch over or slouch nor exude tension and uptightness.
Make sure you maintain eye-contact. You are not some high-school kid on a date, so you have to keep your shyness under control. Eye-contact is a sign of firmness and certainty. To accomplish this, you need to look at the camera; not your screen. Also, don’t get carried away by admiring yourself in that tiny box showing your face.
6. A test run is always worth it
Some people insist that in the world of technology, Murphy’s law is constant. If anything can go wrong, it definitely will.
Accordingly, it is prudent for both the candidate and the employer to check their entire set-up in advance and reasonably just before the meeting to ensure that everything is in perfect working condition.
Some things worth your attention include:
- Internet connection: It goes without saying that this is the spine of video interviews. Sloppy internet connection equals a poor video and audio experience.
- The computer: Make sure that it is adequately charged and plugged in, as a matter of fact.
- Ensure that the webcam, microphone, and necessary software are in tip-top condition.
- Pay attention to your lighting. Properly position the lights and change any flickering bulbs.
7. Look the part
First impressions matter. Isn’t that what they say?
Since you are about to get into an interview – a business meeting-, you have to dress smartly. The fact that it’s an online experience doesn’t change a thing.
A sure tip is to dress exactly as you would for an in-person interview. You could also inquire into the company culture to figure out what they consider appropriate for the interview.
We strongly disapprove of taking undue advantage of the camera’s range to look professional from the waist up and then looking savage from the waist down. Anything could happen and you could be exposed at any moment.
To further improve your video interview etiquette, in terms of dressing, you need to have some general rules of thumb at your fingertips. Avoid wearing over-contrasting colours such as pure white or pure black.
Such colours force the camera to over-adjust and create irregularities.
If you will be rocking any form of accessories, for example, a tie, go for a solid one instead of a patterned one. The latter tend to be somewhat distracting. If you’ll be wearing glasses, be sure to adjust the lighting in the room to reduce the glare from the glasses.
8. No one is you; that’s your power!
Even as you follow our pointers to ace your video interview, be sure not to let go of your personality and uniqueness.
You are trying to let the employer know that you alone can offer your entire package. Be yourself, not just a soulless machine trying to work himself onto the payroll.
Should the occasion present itself, throw in a decent joke to lighten the atmosphere. Show that your knowledge, experience, and personality isn’t formed only by the four walls of an office. What have your hobbies, sports, and movies taught you?
Do you have a way with words? Throw in some puns and figures of speech every now and then. Every human has that spark; don’t be afraid to show off your razzle-dazzle. Just make sure the occasion is ripe and you don’t overdo it.
Virtue lies in the middle.
9. Finish strong
Another hint that helps improve your video interview etiquette is how you end the interview. Trust me, it’s just as important as how you answer the questions.
You are welcome to ask the employer or recruiter some questions. It’s a sign that you are truly concerned about the role and the brand, and that you are a savvy candidate.
Also, as the interview rolls to an end, be sure to smile and thank the employer for his time. Good manners always leave a positive note.
10. Practice makes perfect
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 employer 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.