Everything You Need to Know Before Your Next Video Interview

Everything You Need to Know Before Your Next Video Interview

Video interviews used to be just one tool in a hiring manager or recruiter’s toolbox. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, they might have become one of the most important ones. That isn’t going to change any time soon. If you’re looking for a job, give yourself the best chance of success by preparing for your online interview ahead of time.

The most common type of online interview is the video call, where the interviewer uses Zoom, Facetime, Skype or a similar platform to interact with you just like they would during an in-person interview. Some companies also might ask you to make a recorded video of yourself answering a series of questions.

Either way, candidates are sometimes caught off guard by how their stress level skyrockets during a video interview. Something about a camera makes you feel under intense scrutiny, even more “on the spot” than you would be during an in-person interview. Like with any other type of interview, preparation is the key to minimizing nerves and showing yourself at your best.

Preparing Your Video Interview Background

Choose a quiet spot you can completely close off from noise and distractions. Make the background as plain as possible.

With an in-person interview, the person you’re talking to is familiar with the surroundings so they’re not a distraction. However, through video you expose your interviewer to a completely new environment. You don’t want them to be distracted by what’s in the background. Instead, you want them to focus on you and what you bring to the table.

Everything You Need to Know Before Your Next Video Interview

If there’s a lot to look at in the background, their eyes are going to roam all over the screen instead of looking at you. It’s harder to make a strong first impression and harder to keep their attention. Your décor could prevent them from recognizing your skills.

To keep that from happening, seat yourself against a blank wall or other monochromatic backdrop. Then, let in as much natural light as possible and turn on the other lights in the room to ensure your face is brightly lit. Consider placing a lamp on either side of your monitor to minimize dark shadows and harsh lines.

Avoid sitting in front of a window, or you’ll just be a dark silhouette on the screen. Sit in a chair with a straight back, not on the couch or in a recliner. Put your computer or phone with camera on a desk or table instead of holding it on your lap. It’s hard to look enthusiastic while lounging, hunched shoulders or a double chin.

Everything You Need to Know Before Your Next Video Interview

Remove These Distractions

Ask someone else to watch young children during your interview and turn off everything that makes noise. Silence notifications on your phone and computer.

Make sure your cat or dog can’t wander through. Even your goldfish shouldn’t be on camera, he or she is guaranteed to do something to try to steal the limelight. Turn off your overhead fan so shadows won’t flicker and your hair doesn’t blow. Make sure the dishwasher and coffee pot don’t kick in on delay start.

Don’t sit in front of anything with text. You might think your library makes you appear well-read, but it could also have your interviewer trying to read all those titles sideways instead of focus on your answers. Family photos or dishes in the background are visual clutter you can do without.

Take mirrors down temporarily so you don’t have to worry about what they might reflect during your interview. Then pre-adjust your camera so only your face, torso and a small amount of plain background are visible.

What to Wear for a Video Interview

Dress for a video interview in the same type of professional attire as you would for an in-person interview. During your company research, watch for images of employees at work and wear something similar or slightly more formal.

Just like with regular interviews, avoid loud colors and prints. If you wear jewelry, stick to just a few simple pieces. And, just like with in-person interviews, wear pants or a skirt. If you just dress from the waist up, you’re sending yourself the message it isn’t a “real” interview. You also might end up showing your interviewer more of yourself than you intend.

Best Colors to Wear for Online Interviews

Black and navy are almost always a safe bet. It’s also flattering to wear a soft, light colored shirt. White, cream and soft blues and greens can be flattering, but red, yellow and orange don’t always look good on camera.

Video Interview Makeup Tips

If you are interviewing on Zoom, Bluejeans, FaceTime or any other platform, your goal is to highlight what is best about you. If you wear makeup, aim for a natural, healthy look. Evening skin tone and darkening lashes are fine but avoid heavy or dramatic shades in your eye shadow and lipstick.

How to Prep Your Technology

If you haven’t used the meeting client, you may need to download it. Here are links for accessing some of the most frequently used video interview tools:

Google Meet doesn’t require a download, just click on the link and follow the prompts to start a meeting. GoToMeeting has a 14 day free trial, but there are a few steps to signing up. Facetime is a feature on iPhones.

Your interviewer will send you a link to find your meeting room when it is time for your actual interview, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the software before you get to that point. Ask a friend or family member if they’ll pose as your interviewer and schedule a practice session with them over the technology you’ll use when it’s time for your real online interview.

Testing 1-2

Use a desktop or laptop computer if possible, not a cell phone or tablet. A computer is more stable and will likely have a more reliable internet connection.

Video uses significantly more bandwidth than web browsing. For video conferencing, you need a stable connection of 1-4 Megabits per second. Google will run a free speed test on yours here. During your interview, ask other family members to stay off the Wi-Fi so they’re not using your bandwidth.

If you won’t be connected to power, make sure your device is fully charged. Access your camera, first and make sure you are centered in the middle of the screen.

Content Preparation

Get your mind ready using the interview tips on our resources page. Then schedule that practice video interview with your friend or family member.

Once you’ve established your connection with them, ask them how the background looks on their end, whether or not the sound is clear and how and if you appear on the monitor. Make adjustments as needed.

Provide them with these seven common interview questions and have them pose as the hiring manager. Treat it like the real deal and you’ll uncover areas you can improve and build confidence for your actual interview.

Acing Your Online Interview

If you completed the above steps, you’re ready to make a good impression during your video interview, but there are still challenges ahead. When you meet with someone face to face, it’s often easier to establish rapport than it is when talking through a screen. Before you connect, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and connect with your most positive, confident self.

Establishing Rapport

Start with a friendly greeting and by thanking them for the opportunity. Sit up straight or lean slightly forward to express attention and interest. Mirror their talking speed, volume and energy levels. If appropriate, nod when they do, and occasionally repeat back to them or paraphrase what they say.

Eye contact matters, and it’s a little tricky to maintain it during a video interview. Because your interviewer appears on your screen, that’s where your eyes go. However, for most people, the camera is located at the top of their screen. If you focus in the middle of the monitor, you appear to be looking down.

Put a sticker behind your camera as a reminder to frequently look at the lens, essentially making eye contact with your interviewer. Don’t be put off if they don’t do the same.

If You Make a Mistake

Sometimes the unexpected happens, and if it was caught on camera mistakes can seem insurmountable. If it happens to you, don’t over-analyze while your interview is still going on or you’ll have a hard time concentrating on the remainder of the meeting. If you made a simple mistake and you can correct it, just explain you may have miscommunicated and you’d like to provide additional information.

If you’ve finished your interview and you fear it’s a make or break blunder, include a concise statement providing correct or omitted information in your follow-up email. If the problem relates to a technology malfunction, follow up with an email request to reschedule.

Wrapping Things Up

It’s common for managers near the close of an interview to ask if you have any questions. Prepare a few that show you’ve been listening during the interview, you did your research and you’re excited about the possibility of a job offer. It’s also a good idea to ask about the next steps in the process.

When it’s clear the interview is over, express your appreciation and sign off. Follow up with a thank you email and any additional information they requested.

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How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

A job interview can tie your stomach and your nerves in knots. How nervous you get is often directly related to how badly you want the job. The better the opportunity seems, the more you worry about saying or doing something that will blow your chances.

Our East Texas staffing firm does quite a bit of interviewing. We have decades of experience identifying the perfect candidate for each position. We’ve also heard responses that have us disqualifying candidates. Here we share common interview questions and advice for formulating answers that show who you are and what you know.

Interview Questions Do’s and Don’ts

Before we get to the list of interview questions, you need to know how to use it. There are countless articles online that tell you questions and what to say. It’s great to do your research, but you don’t want to just memorize a script.

Don’t just pull up what Monster or Indeed say about how to answer interview questions and parrot that back to an interviewer. Those resources are out there for everyone. Your interviewer has likely heard them from some of the applicants they met with before you. If you bring the same canned response, it says you’re either lazy or ingenuine.

Do look over the list of interview questions and make them into a mental exercise. Picture yourself in the interviewer’s office. Come up with your own answers and connect them to a work experience you’ve had in the past. Offer real-life examples to show you have hands-on experience with what they’re looking for.

Don’t stop at the end of the list. Here we’re providing common interview questions for the general portion of your interview. It’s always better to over-prepare than to under-prepare.

Do research the company and position requirements. Every profession has skill and job-related questions specific to their industry. If you’re searching online, be specific. For example, you might search for “Interview questions for accounting job” or whatever title is appropriate for your interview.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself. Succinctly outline your most recent role. Highlight past accomplishments or contributions.

Why do you want to work here? Your interviewer wants to know whether or not you did your homework. Prepare an answer that relates to company values or how your skills pair well with their specific products or services.

Why are you leaving (did you leave) your current (or previous) job? Don’t trash your old boss or complain about your previous employer. Prepare a response that mentions how you learned new skills there and are looking forward to contributing in your next position.

What are your biggest strengths? Look at the list of job requirements. Offer examples of skills and character traits that make you a good fit.

What are your greatest weaknesses? Your interviewer isn’t looking for huge personal failings. Think where you would like to improve professionally and answer candidly. For example, a teacher might say, “I plan to work on giving students more detailed feedback this year” or an office assistant might say, “I’ve realized I’m better at number crunching and data collecting than I am at writing. So I’ve started using grammar apps to make sure I don’t miss little mistakes in email and office documents.”

Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it? Your interviewer wants to know how you solve problems and deal with personal conflict. Think back through your employment history and share an example that shows your human side.

What are your salary expectations? Have an idea what’s normal for your profession and experience, then just answer frankly. Try not to overshoot or undershoot on desired salary.

Why should we hire you? Again, look over the job requirements and prepare a related answer.

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What Not to Wear to Your Next Job Interview

What Not to Wear to Your Next Job Interview

Your resume got you in the door, and you’re already thinking about how landing the job will make your life better. The next step is the interview. The person you’re meeting with will be watching everything you say and do to evaluate whether you’re the right fit for the job. If you wear any of the following, the first impression you make might not be what you hope.

Wild and Flashy Attire

When you select your interview attire, stay away from loud colors and wild prints. No cheetah or tropical print, no neon colors, and no large logos or slogans. It’s better to stick with simple and classic.

That goes for accessories as well. Avoid big earrings and chunky necklaces and bracelets. Nothing you wear should jingle when you move.

Don’t put anything flashy on your head. Big hair bows and beanies are distracting. Also, leave your sunglasses and headphones in the car.

Makeup can be wild and flashy too. It’s better to wear light, neutral colors so your interviewer remembers your intelligence, not your eye shadow.

Strong Scents

Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne. If you’re not sure how scented you are when you apply your favorite fragrance, ask someone you trust or skip it altogether when you go for your interview.

Tight or Baggy Clothes

How your clothes fit matters. If you have to struggle to get into any part of your outfit, choose something else. You’ll look much more professional if you avoid attire that’s form-fitting. Also, stay away from clothing that shows cleavage, your midriff or tattoos and body piercings.

You can go too far in the other direction as well. Baggy pants and oversized tops can make the wearer look sloppy. The interviewer could infer your work might be sloppy too.

Uncomfortable Shoes

Flip flops are too casual, but they aren’t the only type of shoes you should avoid. Choose something simple, professional and basic. You can’t predict how much walking you’ll do before, during and after your interview, so it’s best to avoid new shoes or tall heels. If your feet hurt, it’s harder to focus on the interview.

Anything Transparent

Don’t wear clothing that has material you can see through, no matter how trendy it is. Undergarments should never be visible when you go for an interview. Also, don’t wear clothing that has holes in it.

The best idea when planning interview attire is to research the company you hope to work for. Check their social media pages to see if they have pictures of employees at work, or drive by the parking lot a few days before your interview. See how current workers dress, then choose attire that’s slightly more formal than what you see.

At Brelsford Personnel, we want candidates to have all the tools they need for success. For more on typically acceptable attire, visit our resources page.

What to Do When Your Mind Goes Blank During an Interview

What to Do When Your Mind Goes Blank During an Interview

It’s probably the experience interviewees fear most. The recruiter or manager asks a question, you open your mouth and take a breath to answer, and suddenly your brain has nothing but white noise.

You wonder if that rushing noise in your ears is the sound of all your positive expectations going down the drain. For many, the degree of their feelings of panic seems directly proportionate to how badly they hoped things would go well.

The Best Prevention

The best way to keep it from happening is to prepare ahead of time. Research the company interviewing you so you have a good idea not just of their products or services, but also their values and culture. Read common interview questions for positions like what you’re applying for and practice your responses.

However, the brain is unpredictable. Let’s talk about what you can do if you walk in prepared and still find yourself fumbling for words.

Take a Deep Breath

A brief silence isn’t going to ruin your chances of getting the job. Take a deep breath and focus just a second on releasing the tension you’re holding.

If it makes you more comfortable, say something to the interviewer like, “Oh, that’s a great question. Let me think about it for just a minute.” Often releasing some of the pressure and providing a response will help you relax enough you can think clearly again.

Clarify

Ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Sometimes he or she will phrase things differently so you better understand what they’re asking. Another option is to repeat back what they said and ask if you’re following their train of thought. Both choices give you precious seconds to think and possibly additional clues.

Check Your Notes

The information might be right in front of you on your resume or notes, so don’t be afraid to use it. Be honest and show you can keep a positive attitude. Say something like, “My mind just went blank, let me have a second to double check.”

Use What You Know

If you give yourself a break to relax, you’re sure you understand the question and you still don’t know the answer, draw from what you know about the job description, the company and your skills. Give the best response you can. If you can relate your answer to your key skills and how they transfer to the job you’re applying for, that’s better than panicked silence. If you still aren’t sure, ask to come back to the question later.

Find additional information on preparing for your interview in our article on interview tips and on our resources page. For your next employment opportunity, see our online job postings.

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Job interviews are stressful. The more you want the position, the more pressure you’re going to feel. Practicing helps settle your nerves, identifies your areas of weakness and helps you be your best when you sit down with a potential employer. Find a job in Tyler when you follow these tips.

Enlist Help

Ask a friend or family member to act as your interviewer. Your spouse or best friend might have trouble remaining objective, so select someone else if possible. If you’re a student, your advisor or career services department might give you an unbiased view.

Set up a time for your practice interview so you can test drive your answers to common interview questions. A mock interview will help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety and help improve your confidence.

Choose someone you can trust to be honest with you. Give them the job posting and any information you’ve gathered about the company. Let them know ahead of time you want their constructive feedback and that their contribution might be the difference between landing your dream job and making mistakes that cost you the position.

Ask them to evaluate not just what you say, but your body language. Do you make eye contact? Do you fidget? Are your answers thorough without being too long? What could you do to more clearly showcase what you’re capable of? When they give you that feedback, really listen.

Find a Job in Tyler With These 3 Interview Tips

Make It As Real As Possible

You may know exactly where your new blouse or your best blazer is hanging in your closet, but that’s not enough. You don’t want to find out your shoe has a broken buckle five minutes before you have to leave for your interview. Get dressed like you’re actually meeting with your interviewer to avoid any surprises and the stress that goes with them.

Print or gather any resources you’ll take to the actual meeting. Refer to them when you practice as you would at your real interview to re-familiarize yourself with their contents.

Start the interview like you will in real life, with a handshake and a greeting. It feels strange to begin that way with someone you already know, but the first few seconds of your real interview can be stressful. It’s easier if you’ve walked through it before.

Practice Common Questions

Some interview questions are common in any industry. Spend some time preparing to answer questions like, “What can you tell me about yourself?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Other questions are industry specific.

Create a list of common interview questions for your industry and give that list to your friend or family member. Even if they aren’t the exact questions your interviewer asks, you’ll gain experience answering similar ones.

Be specific in your answers. Employers don’t just want to hear you’re good at your job, they want to know specific situations where you’ve handled difficult personality types, overcome challenges or developed new solutions that increased profit.

For more on writing your resume, dressing for interview success and communicating effectively, see our resources page. Start looking for your next job when you check our online East Texas job listings today.

Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/job-interview-practice-how-to-rehearse-for-an-interview-2062803

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-do-a-practice-interview-thatll-actually-help-you

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/Practice-Makes-Perfect

Are You Making These 5 Common Phone Interview Mistakes?

[Courtesy of MurrayResources.com]

Gone are the days of the initial interview being a face-to-face one. Most employers today first conduct a phone screen. These are usually shorter and less in-depth than a full in-person interview. But they give the employer enough to go on to decide whether a candidate should move forward in the hiring process. We see some candidates make the same common mistakes in phone interviews, which impact their job search success. What are they – and how can you avoid them? Here’s a look:

Are You Making These 5 Common Phone Interview Mistakes

1. Not setting aside a quiet, private time to talk.

When it comes to successful phone interviews, it’s important to schedule them at a time when you can focus and will have total privacy. That means doing phone screens while you’re driving, or while your kids are all at home isn’t a good idea. Nor is it wise to schedule one while you’re at work, sitting at your desk. Keep in mind, if the environment isn’t quiet and distraction-free, you’re not going to be able to focus and provide the best answers.

2. Not preparing.

Just as you would for an in-person interview, it’s important to prepare for a phone screen. That means researching the company ahead of time and developing a list of questions you’d like to ask. That also means reviewing the job postings again ahead of time so it’s fresh in your mind and thinking through how your background and skills are a good fit for the position.

3. Eating and drinking during the interview.

It’s ok to keep a glass of water next to you in case your throat gets dry. But other than that, don’t eat or drink during the interview. Nothing makes a worse impression in a phone screen than the sound of chewing or slurping.

4. Using call waiting during the interview.

If another call comes in during your phone screen, ignore it unless it’s an emergency. You should never put a hiring manager on hold, unless you want to send the message that you don’t really want the job.

5. Talking too much or too little.

It’s up to you to persuade the hiring manager that you’re the best fit for the job. That means providing persuasive answers that showcase your strengths and proven record of success. That does not mean droning on, or giving one-word answers to interview questions. If there’s a pause in the conversation, don’t jump to fill it with mindless chatter. Let the hiring manager take control.

Phone screens are the new interview. So, avoid the mistakes above so you can ace yours – and move onto the next step in the hiring process.

 

Your Ultimate Interview Prep Checklist

Your Ultimate Interview Prep Checklist

[Courtesy of Glassdoor.com]

So you applied for a job online, and just got a call from the recruiter asking if you can interview with the hiring manager. You are super excited until you hear that the interview is happening in 48 hours. 2 days. OMG!

Don’t panic; just prepare. Complete with timing and strategy, we’ve complied a comprehensive list of essential ways to gear up for your interview and knock it out of the park. Ready, set, prep!

As soon as you hang up with the recruiter:

1. Study for your interview like it’s a final exam.

  • Find as much information as you can on the company or organization, and commit as much of it to memory as possible.
  • If the job you’re interviewing for requires knowledge in a certain field, do all the learning and brushing up you can on information that will be relevant to your interview.

2. Generate a list of potential interview questions (and their answers!) beforehand.

  • Base your list of questions on both what you expect them to ask and the real-life experience of others
  • Reach out to people who worked in similar companies and positions as you are interviewing for and ask them about their interview experience
  • Use tools like Glassdoor’s interview question database to look up real interview questions and their answers.

36 hours before the interview:

3. Write out answers to every question you anticipate, and practice delivering them out loud.

  • Even if you don’t remember your responses word for word, you can fall back on certain key points and phrases.
  •  Write your own list of questions for the interviewer, and be prepared to ask them when the time arises.
  • Make sure your questions are nuanced and well-researched. Never ask for any information that can be simply found online.

4. Compare your skills and experience to the job description.

  • For each component of the job description, brainstorm your relevant skills and experiences, and think critically about how you want to present them.
  • If there’s a preferred skill or experience you do not have, be able to demonstrate you’ll be competent without it.

12-24 hours before the interview:

5. Be rested and healthy for the big day.

  • Before getting good night’s sleep, try to imagine yourself acing the interview.
  • Eat wholesome, healthy meals for the days preceding the interview.
  • If you are prone to anxiety, try breathing techniques or meditation the morning of the interview, and even directly before.

3-6 hours before the interview:

6. Dress for success

  • Keep your fashion choices subdued and classic – don’t wear clothes that will distract the interviewer.
  • If you’re unclear on what type of clothes to wear, don’t be afraid to reach out to your interviewer and ask.
  • Wear clothes you feel confident in. Don’t be afraid to invest in an “interview outfit” or two that you feel your best in.

7. Empower yourself

  • Practice a firm handshake, strong posture, and attentive body language in advance.
  • Think of a mantra you can call upon for self-confidence, like, “no matter what, I will do my best.”
  • Think of a mantra you can call upon for self-confidence, like, “no matter what, I will do my best.”

8. Don’t leave any unnecessary unknowns.

  • Plan what to bring (extra copies of your resume!) and even what transportation you are taking to the interview way in advance, so there’s no added uncertainty the day of.

During the interview:

9. Keep an interview journal

  • During or even after your interview is over, take a few minutes to jot down what parts you felt you aced, and where you could have shone brighter. These notes can serve as a valuable guide for your future interviews.

6-12 hours after the interview:

10. Follow up.

  • Extending the conversation shows that you’re passionate about the job. Don’t call every day asking if you got the job, but a simple thank you note can speak volumes about your commitment to the position.
  •  And if you didn’t get the job? Let them know if you’re still interested, and ask what you can do to be a more attractive candidate in the future.