Career Corner: Interview Like a Pro: Part 2B – Video Interview Tips
Editor’s Note: This post is a newly written “Part 2B” of a four-part interview guide for pediatric and school based speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and others that work with children with special needs.
This document covers interview tips particularly relevant for video interviews. Important and more general interview tips, pertinent to all interviews, can be found in Part Two A, HERE
To read the rest of this guide, visit our Interview Like a Pro – The Pediatric Therapy Clinician’s Guide landing page.
Video interviews are becoming quite common in the hiring process – especially for contractors and out of town candidates. With rare exception, all the advice to be heeded regarding traditional face to face interviews (see part one of this post), applies to video interviews as well. Personal grooming, dress, eye contact (through your webcam), active engagement with your interviewer, and of course preparedness for the interview itself, are all subjects applicable to both face to face interviews and video interviews alike.
There are many aspects of the interview process however that are unique to video interviews. This document will review all those items as they are absolutely worthy of closer attention, and can make all the difference in how you are perceived by your potential employer.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Choose the right setting/location
The location you choose for your video interview should be free from possible interruptions. You want the employer to know that you have their complete attention. Likewise, you want your interviewer to be able to focus on you, and be free from outside distraction as well. This is the reason we suggest that you avoid coffee shops and other communal locations. Ensure that the lighting is optimal (neither too dark or too light) and you can be seated in front of a solid colored wall, free of clutter, laundry or distracting decor.
Eliminate all possible interruptions and distractions
- Before the interview, turn off ringers, speakers, and popup notifications that might interrupt you during your meeting.
- Disable any apps/programs that might interfere with the webcam or online video meeting software. Close any tabs on your computer or device’s browser that could slow your device down.
- Conduct the interview entirely over both internet video and audio if possible so you can turn your device on “Airplane Mode.” This will prevent incoming calls, texts and and any notifications you may have neglected to silence. A telephone call that arrives during a video meeting – even one that arrives with the ringer on mute – can easily knock you off of Zoom, for example. You can avoid this issue by using the internet audio and interview video settings rather than calling in for audio on your cell phone.
- Secure your pets in another room and alert roommates or family members for your need for privacy and quiet. While there are certainly lots of cat lovers out there, it is not appropriate for Tabby to jump on your lap during the interview.
- If you are expecting a package, leave a note on the door not to ring the doorbell.
Know Your Technology
Participating in a video interview will require some advanced planning on your part. You want to be calm and collected when the interview starts. If you are flustered due to technical issues, you will not present to the potential employer as the best version of yourself. A few days before your interview, make sure all your technology is in order and you are comfortable with all setup logistics, software and hardware needs for the call. This pre-interview prep checklist includes the following important items:
Check Your Internet Speed and Connection Stability. According to LifeWire.com, you need at least 1Mbps (Megabytes per second) for a clear HD Video connection. You can test your Internet speed at www.SpeedTest.net If your personal WiFi connection is not reliable, consider taking the interview away from your home to a setting (a library, for example), with a private room where you can get a reliable, high speed connection. Switching from WiFi to an Ethernet connection will often improve speeds considerably.
Decide which of your devices you will use – desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Take into consideration which one you are most comfortable with, has the best video resolution and the best audio.
Download any apps or plugins you might need such as Zoom, Skype FaceTime, GoToMeeting, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, or other video share platform. Ensure that your user name is professional.
If you are not already familiar with the video meeting platform, avail yourself of the numerous tutorials available on line through the app provider and also on YouTube.
If you will be connected via WiFi, ensure you have the strongest signal possible in your selected interview location.
Test your webcam and your audio.
Make sure the device you are using is fully charged before hand and can stay plugged in during the interview as well.
Have a friend or colleague do a trial run with you. Practice the entire process from start to finish. The comfort of knowing you’ve already gone through the drill once, will serve you well to fend off a lot of potential stress.
Have a backup plan! Even if you plan and practice everything perfectly and follow all of the tips above, technology has before – and will again – go awry at the most inconvenient of times. Make sure your interviewer has your phone number in advance, in the event that the video aspect of the meeting has to be scrapped because of technical difficulties.
IT’S THE BIG DAY…
So. You’ve got all the tech down and found a good location. What else do you need to know? We have already covered general tips in Part Two A: Interview Basics. Detailed advice about what sort of clinical questions you and be prepared for are discussed in Part Three: Nail the Details Let’s review a few things from Part Two that have special importance during a video interview
- Be punctual. In fact, be early! Even if with all the advance prep, you may have difficulty logging in. Better to log in early and step away to take a restroom break right before the interview starts than log in, and fiddle with your controls in front of the interviewer, who may also be early.
- Dress professionally and avoid bright colors. It is almost MORE important to dress well and be professional because you need to “cross the footlights” as it were, since there is physical distance and a screen between you and your potential employer.
- Be Prepared. Practice ahead of time with some of the questions you may be asked. Have a pen, notepad and copy of your resume on your desk. That said, don’t rely on notes or prepared documents.
- Engage! When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged, When speaking, talk slowly and clearly. Occasionally there will be audio and video lag. Extra space between sentences will help ensure that you and the interviewer don’t run over each other trying to speak. Your body language will also speak volumes. Over the wire, it is harder to see so use hand gestures when appropriate to convey enthusiasm and interest.
Bottom Line? If you take time to prepare your tech, your person and your possible responses, you are more likely to score a strong impression, and hopefully, the job!
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PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.