By Jazzmine Smith
What’s new, what’s the same, how to get to the next step in your career.
Do you remember your first time preparing for an interview? It probably involved picking out the right suit, getting a haircut that was professional (but made you stand out!), and triple checking GoogleMaps to make sure you wouldn’t be late.
Now flash forward to your most recent interviews—and factor in a pandemic that has society practicing social distancing: Your interview instructions from a prospective employer are more likely to go virtual. Video interviews that involve recording your answers to questions delivered by actors or employees are now common. In the field of education, some schools now have an endearing student ask you, “Why are you interested in teaching?” You’ll record your response—and submit it to the employer.
This new approach can present an ideal opportunity; you can do it from anywhere and stage the perfect interview! But before you dive into your first appearance on the big screen, we urge you to read these five tips to turn your computer into the best interview you have ever had.
A home interview might have you dreaming of pajama bottoms and the cozy spot on your couch. Think carefully, though, about where you stage your interview. Choose the space in your home with the best lighting, away from noise and other distractions. This may sound like common sense, but with most video interviewing interfaces, once you start recording or connecting with others —you cannot stop! Find a space where you will face zero interruptions for at least an hour.
Test your tech before you begin your interview. The moment you begin your interview is NOT the best time to check if that weird dot on your computer is actually a camera. Record a few test videos and watch them back. Does it look clear—or pixelated? Ask your recruiter for a test run of the video conferencing software you’ll be using. Does the microphone work right? The last thing you would want is to begin your video interview and have a tech glitch throw you off of your game.
For many, the experience of conducting an interview with…yourself is not too common. Unless you’re a Youtube influencer, watching ourselves on tape is not something we do regularly. So try it out! Record yourself answering some practice questions. You can talk about yourself, your interests, your accomplishments and goals. Watch it back and pay attention to everything. Do you trip on certain questions? Do you take long pauses? Do you use filler words? Even for a virtual interview practicing by recording yourself can increase your awareness of how others might view and perceive you. Whatever the interview medium, practice makes perfect.
If you’ve landed an interview, it means recruiters believe you possess some of the qualities they seek, so it is your job now to confirm their beliefs. Re-read the job description before you begin. Think about the position’s responsibilities and how your past experience lends itself to you being the right person to carry out those duties. Highlight tasks or anecdotes from your work history that mirror the duties of your desired position.
The recruiters who watch your video interviews are likely reviewing a massive number of interviews every day. So be sure that you bring a flare and enthusiasm that is not already reflected in your résumé. Though you want to practice, try not to come across as overly rehearsed and inauthentic. Don’t forget to have a little fun with this—after all the ball is your court.
Jazzmine Smith is a leadership recruiter at KIPP New Jersey. Connect with her on Linkedin, here.