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Videoconference interviews: Image at its best!


Video conferences have been present in our environment for a long time. The tools were numerous, and we all already knew many of them… but were underused.

Since the start of the pandemic, reality has literally changed overnight. In fact, without these communication tools, the relational and operational impacts would have been much greater on our lives and on businesses.

Recruitment is therefore no exception to this new reality, and videoconferencing may replace some face-to-face meetings in the future, modifying the recruitment process substantially.

Several advantages are brought by this tool: smoother, more efficient recruitment process – especially when people are at long distance, adapting better to everyone’s agendas, being able to group several people over the same session.

On the other hand, like any change, we need a certain period of adaptation. Because who was comfortable at the first meeting with this means of communication?

Here are some practical tips to make this transition easier. Many of these tips are for candidates, and some also for employers … because this change affects us all!

Thanks to Jean-Alexandre Demers, partner and senior consultant of Jump! Recruiters, for participating in this week’s article.

Learn about the employer

The more you know about the company, the more you show an interest, your professionalism, and your rigor, and helps you in your thinking for the proposed position.

There are many sources, the main ones being the company’s website,  Facebook and LinkedIn pages, publications and press releases, industry sector, competition and their positioning in the market, LinkedIn profile of the person you will be talking to, discuss with people around you who know or work for this company, external sources (eg iCriq, business publications, etc.).

Review job description and CV

Study each of the points in the job description, responsibilities, skills sought, working conditions, and identify the skills you have that align with what the employer is looking for. Do not neglect transferable skills and experiences, while being able to point out why and how they are!

It is important to have a few questions ready to ask, especially for the end of the interview, demonstrating interest in the position and validating if it meets your professional objectives. If you have diligently followed the 2 previous tips, you should already have at least 2 or 3 questions in note.

Asking what the next steps are is just as classic, but an important question to ask.

For the employer, this step is also important. Review candidates’ CVs beforehand, prepare interview questions (I recommend structured, more objective, and effective interviews). Failure to prepare may not project the image desired by applicants to retain from the organization.

Neat image

Wear a dress style identical to what you would wear if you were asked to attend an in-person interview, as it is an in-person interview. You want to project a professional image and demonstrate the importance you have for the job (or the candidate if you are the recruiter / employer). It is in fact a mark of respect for the interlocutor.

Adequate environment

Choose a quiet place, which promotes your focus and avoids background noise. Make sure you have an internet network with adequate bandwidth to avoid network loss.

Particularly at this time of confinement, you must warn the people who live with you not to disturb you.

Finally, avoid distractions such as pets, sounds made by electronic tools, computer, and cell phone notifications, etc.

A sober background should reveal a part of your personality, without being a distraction for your interlocutor. Note that some videoconferencing software offers customizable backgrounds that can be very practical.

Adapted lighting

Lighting is a crucial aspect and can become a source of distraction, even an irritant for the caller. A predominance of lighting too much at the back of the subject makes the face darker, and too strong at the front can dazzle. Before the session, make sure you have balanced the lighting so that it is adequate.

When a window is in the background, there may be glare created – adjust with blinds, curtains or the angle of the computer and camera to reduce this unwanted light effect.

Ideally, test it the previous day, at approximately the same time, to have similar lighting conditions if there is a window, or at least a few minutes before the virtual meeting.

Become familiar with the software in advance

Have you ever arrived late (or your contact) for a video conference because of technical problems or lack of familiarity with the software used?

For recruiters or managers responsible for conducting interviews, Jean-Alexandre provides this crucial recommendation:

 

“They must make sure that they send the link in advance, validate the platform that will be used, the people who will be involved and their role during the interview. Clear communication of the details of the interview will put the candidate at ease and facilitate the whole process. “

 

For applicants, to avoid unnecessary delays and stress for you and your contact, make sure you have installed the software beforehand, tested the camera and the microphone and have tested it with someone one of your entourage.

If software, widgets, applications or other must be installed on the computer or tablet, you can thus ensure that compatibility is checked and, if it is impossible to have the software installed, notify the advance your contact to find an alternative.

Punctuality

Take your place at the interview location approximately 10 minutes in advance, as if you were going to an in-person interview.

Make sure you have the job description, a copy of your CV, the issues identified in front of you. With a pencil in hand, you can take notes during the interview.

Be natural, and smile!

Consider the videoconference interview as a business discussion, being yourself and above all smile! Because smiling gives a different dynamic to voice and intonation and helps reduce stress.

 

“Body language represents 55% of communication in an interview, and will come out even more,” emphasizes Jean-Alexandre Demers, who demonstrates the importance of being as natural as possible.

 

Jean-Alexandre suggests that the interviewer take the time to chat a bit with the candidate at the very beginning of the interview to make him feel comfortable. For example: Are you okay? Good weekend? Is this the first virtual interview for you? Have you had time to look at our website?

Employers: make a good first impression!

Jean-Alexandre raises the importance of the first impression that the host of the interview must give.

 

“This person represents the company and conveys the image, the first impression, that the candidate will retain following the interview.”

 

He specifies that since this meeting is not at the company premises, it is difficult to share the company culture and the work environment. It is therefore important to describe to thecandidates what they can hope for, the values of the company, to give concrete examples sothat the candidates can get the best idea, as precise as possible.

Conclusion of the interview

Ask permission to ask the employer / recruiter a few questions. If the ones you prepared were answered during the discussion, perhaps others appeared. This is an opportunity for you to validate points that are important in relation to the professional choice you will make soon.

Send an email demonstrating your appreciation of the discussion including a short summary of your understanding of the position, as well as the main points that make you an ideal candidate. If you do not have the person’s email address, you can send them a note via LinkedIn.

The note must be concise, carefully written to avoid spelling errors and sent within 24 hours of the interview.

The recruiter / employer also has a duty at this stage, says Jean-Alexandre.

 

“You have to explain the next steps in the process, and make sure to answer any questions that this person may have.”

 

Candidates, recruiters, and employers, if you have other tips, I invite you to share them so that everyone can benefit and make the experience as rewarding as possible!