How To Nail Your Next Video Call

Interviewing by video call, key tips and tricks to set you up for success.

Whether it’s a job interview, a sales pitch or even a casual catch-up, there’s a huge chance your next meeting will be happening via a video call.

It’s really easy to be thrown by these, and you’re definitely not alone here.

Firstly, keep these simple rules in mind. They apply to pretty much any professional interaction, but become absolutely critical for a video conference:

  • Be aware of eye contact. We’ll go into how to position your device to help with this later.
  • Don’t be distracted. Close any non-relevant browser tabs, mute all notifications and keep your phone out of arm's reach.
  • Speak clearly without rushing. This will help you project confidence, which can be hard when you’re sat alone at the kitchen table.

Preparing yourself

In terms of your attire, as per usual, think about what your counterpart will likely be wearing and try to match that.

If you’re talking with a bank or financial institution, definitely be suited and booted. If you’re chatting with an agency, still go smart but lose the tie.

I often get asked about body language on video calls. Be as natural as possible here. If you normally talk with your hands, don’t be afraid to get your gesture on. This will look very odd if the person on the other end can’t see your hands however. So if you know you’re prone to jazz hands, position yourself further away from the camera so they can be seen.

Headsets are also a concern for some people. These seem to be the go-to for lots of developers and more technical people. I tend to try and avoid them where possible. if you can’t find a quiet enough space, your laptop speakers are a genuine concern or you have hearing problems then definitely use them.

Choosing a room and setting it up

Your choice of room will effect the lighting, sound and what sits behind you in the shot. Make sure you have a source of light in front of you. Back-lighting creates a lot of shadow and can make you look shifty before you’ve even started talking. If you don’t have a conveniently positioned window, place a lamp in front of you but behind your device to ensure you’re easily seen.

Sound is also a really important consideration.

Close all windows and doors to minimise background noise. Sparse rooms can really echo, so choose a room that’s got furniture and carpet if possible to soften this.

Try not to have a plain white background, it gives off a really clinical vibe, and can be difficult to light. I try and use pictures, bookcases and homeware to break up the space behind me. Never let your bed, couch or T.V. be in the shot. You don’t want people thinking you’re laying around like a sloth all day.

Positioning the camera

The worst place for the camera to be is on your lap looking up at you.

People don’t want to see up your nose, and it can make you look like you’ve got a couple of extra chins. Not good.

Place your device on a box or something stable so the camera sits at eye level. Try and position yourself far away enough from the camera so you can see your shoulders at least (include your hands if you gesture a lot).

Try and not look at yourself, tempting as it is. Make the window that shows yourself as small as possible, and move it to the bottom of your screen, away from the camera.

Minimising glitches

Always do a test call beforehand to make sure your microphone or headset is working properly and that there’s nothing in the shot you hadn’t previously seen. To ensure your internet speed is as quick as possible, pause any downloads and if possible disconnect your other devices from your WiFi.

What if something goes wrong? Even with the best laid plans, there’s so many things that can go wrong with video calls, and often there’s nothing you can do about them.

Before the call ensure you have the other person's phone number and let them know if anything goes wrong you’ll give them a call.

If there’s issues with the connection or sound, use your back up sooner rather than later, as these distractions can quickly derail the purpose of the call.

The Latitude IT team is offering 30 minute video sessions with potential candidates to help with tips and tricks for virtual interviews. Click here to make an appointment

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