The day before the call
- Ensure you have checked your connection in advance – do a test run, check the application is downloaded and it is working for you
- Make sure you are in a quiet and undisturbed area – warn any family/friends ahead so that they don’t interrupt; no-one hoovering nearby etc!
- Check how the set up looks – what is behind you – is your shot framed. Make sure the background is tidy – I’ve had some interesting video calls with the remains of a party the night before in full view! Check the lighting – are you next to a bright window, do you need the light on?
- Check how long you have for the call – be aware of this as not so much ability to take physical cues on a video conference (i.e. people aren’t going to stand up – no handshake etc.)
Just before the call
- Ensure you look smart – dress as you would for a face to face interview, make sure you look presentable – first impressions count
- Ensure you are sitting in a comfortable chair – do not do the interview standing. Make sure you are ok to be in this position for the whole call – do not walk around. Best to treat this as a formal conversation – not a chat from the sofa – best to put your phone/laptop on a table/desk
During the call
- As the call will be shorter than a normal interview make sure you have a checklist/notes of what you want to address during the call and you can refer to it to make sure you have covered everything
- As there is no handshake in person, be sure to spend a little time at the beginning with an introductory chat about lighter topics, ask how the person is etc. to settle the conversation into an easier tone
- To help build rapport over video conferences – maintain eye contact (practice this with a friend – know where the camera is to look at)
- It’s ok to have notes to look at – might be good practice to check at the beginning or say that you are referring to notes or making notes
- Just as with interviews, pauses are ok – don’t be afraid of them. Try not let your eyes wander to other things – remember although you are not there in person they can see your every move virtually and will be able to tell if you are checking your phone or typing something on the PC!
- As with interviews and possibly more important as you are not in person – don’t forget to smile! It is one of the most powerful physical attributes you have!
This article was written by Claire Douglas, Managing Consultant at The Return Hub
* The Return Hub is an executive search firm that places professionals who want to relaunch or transfer their careers with employers in the financial services sector. They also advise on and implement practical strategies that companies can use to target, assess, hire and support returning talent.