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How to prepare the perfect setting for your video interview

by Sellick Partnership | 29 September 2020

In the last few years, video interviews have become a common part of the recruitment process, especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, those applying for new roles have had to get to grips with a whole new set of interview etiquette rules.

Instead of practising their best handshakes and picking out an appropriate perfume or cologne, applicants now have to consider their webcam positioning, background noise and wifi reliability as they seek to make the best possible impression on a potential future employer.

Here, we highlight some of our best tips to create the perfect setting and conditions for a video interview, bringing you one step closer to landing a dream role.

Creating a clear, uncluttered and professional interview space

In any interview setting, making a good first impression is crucially important, and this is no different even when you are interviewing from home. Video calls will give the interviewer a window into your personal environment, so it is important to do all you can to ensure that you represent yourself in a positive light.

  • Arrange a neutral, tidy and uncluttered background for your interview call. An untidy or messy background could potentially reflect poorly on you, so take the time to clean up before starting the call.
  • Use plants, tasteful furniture choices and relevant books placed in view to make your environment visually interesting. Your interviewer will inevitably be looking at what is behind you, so use this as an opportunity to underline your professional image.
  • Remove anything overly distracting from the background. You do not want your interior decor to draw attention away from you, so make sure that you do not have any distracting items within your camera frame.
  • Test the lighting conditions to get them just right. Once your interview space is set up, test out your camera to make sure the lighting looks correct. Is there any glare or shadows covering your face? If so, you may need to readjust the furniture or window coverings; make sure to do this around the same time of day that your interview will take place, so that your setup will reflect the actual lighting conditions.
  • Test the position of your camera. Make sure you are not too close or too far away from the camera and that your head and shoulders are visible. Try facing the camera as well as sitting slightly to the side to find the best angle. You might need to raise or lower the height of your computer screen or your chair so it is best to test all this out ahead of the interview.
  • Make sure you can provide a quiet environment for the interview. Your interview will go poorly if your interviewer cannot hear what you are saying, so it is vital to set yourself up in a quiet part of your home, ensuring that nobody will disturb you and that you are away from noisy pets, appliances or sounds from the TV.

Double-checking your tech setup

Getting your video interview space ready also means taking the time to set up and test out your tech setup in advance, ensuring that your conversation will not be delayed or disrupted by any technical glitches.

  • Get the positioning of your computer and webcam right. When speaking to your interviewer, you will want to be framed just right by your camera. That means positioning the lens at the right angle and distance to get a good view of your head and shoulders, making sure the image is not too high or low, or that you are not too near or too far from the lens.
  • Check the sound quality and iron out any problems. Are you certain you can be heard clearly during your call? Is there an echo in your chosen room? Will you need to wear noise-cancelling headphones? All of these are questions that you should be able to answer well before the interview starts.
  • Ensure you have the software installed and test it out in advance. Whether your interviewer wants you to use Skype, Zoom or some other video platform for the interview, it is vital to get the software installed and set up well in advance. If you have never used it before, take the time to learn all of its key functions, potentially by holding a test call with friends or family.
  • Make sure your internet connection is strong enough. A patchy or temperamental wifi connection could make it impossible to hold a coherent conversation. As such, you will need to make sure you are holding the call from a location with a strong connection, or else use a wired connection for the duration of the call.
  • Check that your device is fully charged. Nothing will end your interview faster or more unceremoniously than a depleted battery! Make sure your device is properly charged before the interview starts, or keep it plugged in throughout the call to be on the safe side.

Dressing to impress

It is clear that many of the rules for making a positive impression on a video call are quite different from a traditional in-person meeting – but when it comes to getting your personal image right, many of the familiar old considerations will still apply.

  • Dress appropriately for a professional meeting. When interviewing from home, it is still important to look the part. That means wearing a washed, ironed, smart and professional-looking outfit, avoiding anything too loud or overly casual.
  • Do not wear anything distracting for the video call. Some clothing items and accessories may create unnecessary distractions during a video call, such as shiny buttons that cause a distracting glare, or jewellery that rattles against the desk or keyboard. If you notice anything like this during your practice calls, make sure to avoid these items for the interview itself.
  • Hygiene and grooming are as important as ever. As with an in-person interview, you will want to look fresh, well-kept and smart, so make sure you take the time to shower and style your hair. The interviewer will notice and appreciate the effort you have made. 
  • Pay attention to your body language. Body language is almost as important on a video interview as it would be in person. Make sure you maintain good posture, avoid slouching, maintain eye contact and smile where appropriate – otherwise, you may risk coming across as disengaged or bored.

By taking the time to make the right preparations, you can create the perfect conditions for a smooth interview experience, giving you the best possible chance of securing the role you are seeking – without even having to leave your living room.

If you would like some additional support on getting ready, get in touch with the experts at Sellick Partnership today. Alternatively, you can check out our latest live jobs here.