9 tips to help you prepare for video interviews
We did some research to help you put your best foot forward when you virtually walk into the room for a video interview. Here are 9 tips to help you make a good impression:
- Do your research: Don't forget the basics. Apart from shaking hands, everything you know about traditional interviews is relevant. That means you should Google the practice to get a feel for its style, learn about the demographics of the area, check if your interviewer has a LinkedIn profile, have a chat with one or two doctors who work at the practice and generally do your homework.
- Decide on your equipment: Avoid using a mobile phone or tablet camera if you can. Preferably use a laptop with a built-in camera or a desktop with a tried and tested camera set up. Try out different sound scenarios. Many people achieve better results with the computer's speaker and microphone than with headphones. Remember that each additional piece of equipment is an extra point of potential failure during the interview. Tips: Check that your laptop is fully charged or connected to a power outlet and turn off notifications during the interview.
- Choose a setting: The rule of thumb is that your interview station should be quiet, bright and private. You don't want distractions like a pet walking into shot or a child asking for a snack. It's best to keep your background as plain as possible. A blank wall is excellent, but a neat bookshelf is also OK, as are tasteful pictures on the wall. Some video programs allow you to insert a virtual background to protect your privacy but resist the temptation to show off your individuality.
- Lighting: Make sure your face is well lit. Natural light is best, but ensure there will not be bright sunlight shining into the room, especially not from behind you. If natural light isn't an option, you can use strategically placed lamps in front of you or to the side. You can also achieve good results with overhead ceiling lights. Don't forget to experiment before the interview.
- Camera angle: Ensure the camera is parallel to the floor and pointing straight at your eyes. You might need to place your laptop on your copy of Murtagh's General Practice to achieve this. You also want your face to be in the middle of the frame, vertically and horizontally, and to take up at least half the space. Tip: Look at the camera rather than at the screen when you are talking to ensure you are making eye contact with your interviewer.
- Make-up: Consider using some face powder to remove camera shine, and that includes men. Nobody's going to know if you are wearing translucent powder. Tip: If you are using Zoom, you can click on the video settings button and click to activate the “touch up my appearance” button. This will soften your face slightly.
- Clothing: Choose a colour that contrasts with the background, but white, bright red and all-black outfits are contraindicated for the camera. Also avoid busy checks, small polka dots, paisley, houndstooth, chevron and sequins. If you wear a necktie, choose a single colour or one with broad stripes.
- Remind your household: If you live with other people, let them know when and where you are interviewing. Remind everyone before the interview starts and put a do not disturb sign on the door. Remember, that you may be expected to conduct video consults from home in the new role and the interviewer will want to be reassured that you have a private space in which to work.
- Test: Test your equipment and set up a mock interview with a friend, preferably at the same time of day that your interview will take place. Also, practise using the teleconferencing program chosen by your prospective employer. Each one has its quirks, and you don't want to be distracted by technical difficulties on the big day.