Job candidates can significantly improve their online interview performance with a few tips to speed recruitment
by William R. Dodson
The Coronavirus pandemic has created two major impacts in the labor market:: the reevaluation of personal and professional values; and the normalization of video conferencing as a way of meeting and engaging others. However, while many households in the United States have at least one computer, a sizable portion are owned by people who do not have professional experience with video interviews.
Most people have little or no experience in front of a camera with a stranger who may determine their career — or their life.
Check out some of these tips that individuals thrust in front of a camera can use to effectively interview for jobs in a range of service sector jobs.
Most information about organizations is now online on company websites. Further, sites like Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com provide information about salaries, management styles and temperaments, and the degree to which staff is diverse.
Take at least an hour before your initial interview to review the sites, and any other information you may be able to dig up about a company. For instance, check out on Google if the company has been in the news recently. If you see news items, read them, and bring them up in the interview. Your knowledge will impress the interviewer that you are especially interested enough in the organization to go the extra mile in following it.
If possible, use a blank or plain background during your video conference. It is common knowledge that if people are using video, they are interviewing from their homes. Products like Zoom enable users to select their own background so viewers do not have to see into a job seeker's home. It's especially desirable for interviewers not to see into your home if it is full of clutter.
Your family should remain out of the frame of the video and should try to stay quiet, if possible. Of course, this is difficult if you either have a small child or a pet. It is more common than ever before for callers to hear dogs barking in the background. While not rude, it is a distraction that both parties sometimes find difficult to recover from.
Include in your forward tips to candidates that they should sit in a well-lit area. It’s best to be sitting toward warm, yellow lighting from above the screen. Lighting from below the screen can provide the candidate a ghoulish hue. You and the candidate should also do a sound and video check at least 15-minutes before a call, to make sure the technology is working properly.
Also, establish ahead of time whether the call sound will be echoey. If so, try to dampen the effect by changing rooms or shortening the distance between mouth and microphone.
And tell the candidate that they should dress neatly. Business casual is not a bad idea, if possible. A bit of makeup -- for men and women -- is fine.
Video and audio feeds take a moment to elapse. Help the candidate understand ahead of time that it is a good idea to wait a second or two to respond to a question. Otherwise, they may speak over your response or vice versa.
Many candidates may speak English as a Second Language (ESL). Speak clearly and in a measured manner without shouting over the line. And wait a second or two before saying anything to make sure they’ve responded in full to questions.
The time of the Coronavirus pandemic has certainly changed the way we interact. The flu has changed hiring practices and workplaces in immeasurable ways. Actual interviews can now occur with hiring managers on the other side of the country. And you may find yourself working for the company without even leaving your home. With just a few changes in your thinking about what makes a "proper" interview and by adjusting your approach, you may find yourself leading a more balanced lifestyle than before all the Lockdowns.
William R. Dodson is a contributing editor at EmployDiversityNetwork.com. He writes on workplace diversity and Tech trends. His latest book is Virtually International: How Remote Teams Can Harness the Energy, Talent, and Insights of Diverse Cultures (Emerald Publishing Group, September 2021). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.