Preparation is the key to putting nerves at bay and putting your best foot forward in an interview. With most interviews now happening on video, there are a few additional elements to add to the list when preparing for an interview. Here are a few tips from Danielle Muller, Asquith Workforce’s Recruitment Hub Manager, who has helped hundreds of candidates get ready for an interview.
First in best dressed
Dealing with technology hiccups directly before the interview will put you off your game. I recommend candidates set the scene and have all the technology up and working 45 minutes to an hour before their interview. Then, once everything is set, you can relax while reviewing questions or notes about the job.
Check your technology – ensure you have:
- a stable internet connection
- access to the software portal the interview is being held on
- working webcam and audio
- closed any unnecessary application and browsers
Set the scene
- Check how you look on the screen and move it to create what you feel is most flattering
- Consider what the interviewer can see and remove any objects that an interviewer might deem unfavourable
- Make sure the room/space is quiet and free from interruptions (turn off your phone)
- Have any pen, note paper, job description and your resume close at hand
Do your homework
As with a face to face interview, you need to do your homework. This means reviewing the job description and the questions you were asked to respond to in your application. This is a good guide to what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Make a list of the skills and attributes you have that make you well qualified for this role and think of examples you could elaborate on if asked to demonstrate these.
Also consider why they have chosen to interview you. If you can put your finger on this, you can showcase these to reinforce suitability for the role.
It’s also important to get to know the company by having a look through the employer’s website, particularly their Strategic Plan or Annual Report, and social media. This will give you a deeper insight into their goals and culture. Also, getting a basic understanding of the products, services, customers and stakeholders will give you additional context you can weave into your examples.
It’s easy to find list of ‘common interview questions’ and it’s worth reading through these and preparing answers to the ones you think you’re most likely to be asked. It’s also important to think of some questions to ask the interviewer. Not only does it show them you’re interested and invested in getting this job, it can give you additional information about the role and a better understanding of what they’re looking for once the new employee starts.
First Impressions Count
Dress the part. Although you only need to spruce up the top half in a video interview, it’s important that they see you fit in to their culture. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them what the appropriate attire would be. If not, do a bit of research into what the dress norm is for that industry and aim for that. Also, it is better to err on the side of overdressing rather than under dressing.
Start strong! If you can, start the interview by thanking them for taking the time to meet you and let them know you’re excited by the opportunity to get to know more about the role, the company and the culture. Also be prepared to engage in a bit of small talk as this it a great way to settle in and gives them an insight into your personality.
Take your time
Listen closely to the question and then take time to consider your answer. It is fine if there are a few moments of silence while you think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Doing this allows you to deliver a more concise and focused response and it demonstrates that you have a considered approach. Also don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat all or part of the question and, if you’re unsure it is also fine to ask them if you’ve answered that question sufficiently.
One of the hard parts about interviewing with video is that sometimes you can’t see who your talking too if technology is mucking up or if they choose to shut their screen off. While this can be quite off-putting, if this does happen try to keep your focus on the monitor like you are speaking directly to someone.
If you get the opportunity, thank the interviewers again for their time and reiterate why your interested and suited for the role. You may not get a lot of time but even a brief reminder will close the session with a good impression.
Preparing for interviews is important and it helps to have professional support in getting your resume and application ready and, when you get an interview, practice so you ace it. The team at Asquith Workforce provides career coaching services with accredited career advisors. For more information visit: Asquith Career Coaching.