The COVID-19 pandemic has altered just about every aspect of our world, and job interviews are no exceptions. Face-to-face interviews are no longer an option, so FaceTime interviews and other online interviews are the only options. These video interviews can be a bit intimidating, so don’t grab your phone or laptop until you’ve perused our list of online and FaceTime interview tips.
It’s important to note that, typically, you probably will not be interviewing via FaceTime, as this is a phone app and can be difficult for long interviews. These FaceTime interview tips are truly meant for anyone using any type of video format such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or something else.
1. Dress In Appropriate Attire
This might seem obvious, but as we navigate our time in quarantine, it’s definitely tempting to spend your days in sweatpants and pajamas. However, this is a terrible idea for an online or Facetime interview. You should wear work-appropriate attire for the interview, so dust off that suit jacket.
It’s not easy these days to get a haircut or head to the dry cleaners, but do your best to look professional and tidy. There’s no reason for you to show off a holey t-shirt and a three-day growth of beard. If you don’t have an iron or steamer for your work clothes, this might be a good time to order online and invest in one, as you want to look as crisp as possible. Typically, wearing darker colors, such as dark blue, dark gray or black is recommended for video interviews.
To be honest, we highly recommend that you get up each morning and get dressed and groomed. Even if you won’t be going outside or working, keeping a stable routine and taking care of your appearance can boost your mood, so resist the urge to spend the day in PJs as much as possible.
2. Create A Backdrop
If you have a home office, tidy it up and give it a good polish as this will be the ideal spot for your FaceTime interview. Use your computer camera and take a look at exactly what will be in view during the interview. Remove any personal items, such as photographs or anything that isn’t professional. Basically, you want the backdrop to be tidy and bland and well lit, so that the hiring manager is focused on you and not something distracting in the background.
Of course, we know that many people don’t have a designated home office. Clear off a space somewhere in your home or office and bring in a desk or table to set up as a faux office. It’s might a good idea to use a room such as the bedroom as you can close the door and ensure that you are not interrupted, just make sure the backdrop isn’t a messy bed or a cluttered dresser.
No matter what room you choose, it is essential that you know exactly what will be viewed on camera. Again, you want the background to be clean, as professional as possible and not distracting. Keep in mind, when you are in a professional-looking area, this will make you feel more professional and confident, so this tip isn’t just to impress hiring managers.
3. Insist On Silence
The rest of your household needs to be as quiet as possible during your interview. If you just live with one roommate or your partner, this shouldn’t be too difficult, but if your household includes children or teenagers, this can be a bit tricky, especially with very small children.
If possible, the interview time would be an ideal time for your partner to take them on a long nice walk (maintaining proper self-distancing, of course) or perhaps to play in the yard. If you’ve been trying to restrict screen time, this might be a great time to ease those restrictions. Noise will distract you as well as the person conducting the interview, so cajole your family and roommates into a period of near-total silence for the duration of the interview.
4. Ensure Your Technology Is Working
One of the first questions you’ll want to ask about the online interview is what software program will be used, as there are many options beyond the basic FaceTime app that you could use on your phone or tablet.
It is crucial that you truly understand how to use whatever online platform the hiring manager will be using – Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and HireVue are a few options that might be used. If you’ve never used any of these tools, go online and look for a tutorial and play around with the program a bit so that you feel comfortable.
If you will be using your computer and not a phone or tablet, it is also crucial that your computer or laptop can handle the challenge. Make sure your camera and microphones are working perfectly.
We also highly recommend that you use an Ethernet connection for job interviews. Wi-Fi can be spotty, and video conferencing can use up a decent amount of bandwidth. We also recommend using a headset with a microphone if possible as this can help you focus and block out any background noise, such as a car alarm, the trash truck, a police siren or the crying infant in the apartment next door.
5. Get Prepared
Whether you are meeting in-person or interviewing remotely, there is no excuse for not being prepared. Don’t simply depend on notes, you need to do some research about the company and the job position and compose thoughtful answers to common interview questions.
These need to be memorized, just as you would for an in-person interview. After all, during an in-person interview you can’t really look at notes and you don’t have time to glance at notes during a video interview, either. Spend some time learning about the company mission statement, some recent company news and a bit about the hiring manager if possible.
Compile a list of questions to ask the hiring manager. These might include a discussion about what will be expected of you during the first weeks or months on the job. Perhaps you would ask the company culture and why the hiring manager enjoys working at the company. You might ask about a typical workday or how many people will be on your team. Resist the urge to ask about benefits, vacations, pay and other similar aspects of the job. Those types of questions will be addressed later on in the hiring process.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
Connect with a friend or family member and practice your video interview. If possible, use the same software program that you will be using for the actual interview so that you can become more familiar with the software.
We recommend that you engage in two or three practice sessions, and ask your friend for feedback. Was the picture too dark? Did you look awkward? Was your voice clear enough? Did you speak too quickly or pause too often? Practice several times until you feel confident about your skills.
7. Log In On Time
Get in front of your computer and log on a minute or so before the video interview is set to begin. If you are doing an actual FaceTime interview on your phone, have it set up and ready to go and make sure your phone or tablet is fully charged and on silent mode. If you will be using your laptop or computer, turn your phone off or leave it in another room to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
You can log into your video meeting a minute or two early, but you don’t need to be five or ten minutes early. A couple of minutes is ample. Be sure to take a big breath and let it out before you log on. Interviews can make even the calmest person feel a bit nervous, but if you are well-prepared and look your best, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Another Tip: You Need To Update Your Resume, ASAP
These days, it is truly essential that you have an updated resume and an updated LinkedIn profile. We know that many people have lost their jobs or been furloughed. While many employers are sure to rehire some employees, there’s just no guarantee and you need to be fully prepared for any new opportunities that might arise. Ensuring that you have a dynamic, updated resume on hand is crucial.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you need to get that started today. LinkedIn is a powerful tool, used by many recruiters and hiring managers. You can even upload your resume in this account, making it as easy as possible for hiring managers or recruiters to fully understand your qualifications.
We’ve Found The Best Resume Writers!
While there are plenty of free resume templates out there (beware these aren’t always actually “free”) and plenty of companies and freelancers offering cheap resumes, we highly recommend that you use a professional resume writing company to produce your resume.
With a resume template, you still have to do all of the writing, and this can be tricky, because crafting a resume takes some skill and strategy and pros are your best bet if you want a resume that attracts the attention of hiring managers. With a cheap resume service, you are likely to end up with a resume that is lackluster and may even contain errors. Many of these cheap services use freelancers from outside the United States to save money, and the quality is poor.
We’ve reviewed resumes from many professional resume writing companies, and have chosen Resume Writing Group as our top pick. They provided a job-winning, error-free resume and they also provided excellent customer service. Their resume was well-designed and strategic, and their work is guaranteed.
Our top pick Resume Writing Group is still going strong and working with clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, they are still honoring their unique guarantee. If you use their resume and follow their advice, but are not hired in 45 days or less, they will refund your money and pay you an additional $100.
If you’ve lost your job or were furloughed, we highly recommend that you let Resume Writing Group polish up your resume and perhaps even your LinkedIn profile. Then, follow our online and FaceTime interview tips. We know these are difficult and stressful times, but a great new opportunity truly could be just around the corner.