I have been a civil engineering recruiter for so long that we didn’t even do video interviews when I started. Heck, we didn’t even email resumes to our clients back then! The fax was a new thing when I started so a lot has changed in the past 25 years! Some things haven’t changed and that’s how to conduct yourself in a professional interview whether it’s in-person, on the telephone or via a video call. Here are 3 short tips to keep in mind when you do your next video interview:
1. Dress as you would if you were going in-person.
The medium has changed, but the fact that this is an interview has not changed. In the civil engineering and architecture world, this means a collared shirt and sport coat for men and a blazer and plain colored blouse or shirt for women. Architecture may have a little more flex in this area, but starting out conservative is never a bad thing. Most interviewers do not expect a tie anymore, but a sport coat or blazer adds a level of professionalism.
2. Check your background for clutter.
This is one of the most common things I see when I video chat with candidates. Do a dry run with someone to check what they see in your background. You can always put on a filter for your Zoom or Teams, but we all know the ‘Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak’ magic that happens as your head disappears when you move around the camera. It’s more authentic for the interviewer to see you in a natural setting.
3. Don’t forget to make eye contact with the actual camera.
As you are talking with the interviewer, it feels natural to look at their face on the Zoom screen. However, it doesn’t appear to them that you are making eye contact with them. My trick is that I talk with them and I look at the camera and listen to them and I look at their face when they are talking. If you alternate between the two, it gives a more natural presentation and helps you connect with the interviewer.
This is getting easier living in a video world since the Pandemic, but it’s still amazing to me how many people don’t follow these simple steps when preparing for a video interview. These same tips hold true for the interviewer as well! YOU also need to make a good impression with the candidate. The person you are interviewing has mostly likely taken time off from work to meet you and learn more about your organization so put your best foot forward as well. Doing so will give you a better chance at landing these elusive candidates!