Tips on how to succeed in a video job interview

video job interviewThe coronavirus has changed our lives in many ways, including how we interview for jobs. Although unemployment numbers have soared, some companies are still hiring. They are, for the most part however, using a technique not usually employed in the past – the video job interview.

Tech companies, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, were onboard early with the practice, and many others have followed. It’s impossible to know what will happen in the future, but video interviewing may go on for months to come.

How to prepare for a virtual interview

A virtual interview requires the same preparation as a regular interview. You need to:

  • research the company and the hiring manager.
  • put together a list of questions that you will ask.
  • study a list of potential questions that you may be asked and practice them.
  • get a good night’s sleep beforehand, etc.

There are, however, different requirements for these interviews that you should be aware of. Here are some of the things you need to do in preparation and during the interview:

What you need to do differently

Learn how to use the video conferencing software. If you’ve unfamiliar with the video conferencing software the hiring manager will use, look for some online tutorials on how to use it and go through them a few days before the interview

Make sure your technology works. First of all you’ll need a computer with a working camera and microphone. Make sure you have the bandwidth that can accommodate video streaming. Although a computer is preferable, if you don’t have one, you can use your smart phone or tablet. But be sure that whatever you use is propped up and doesn’t need to be held.

Choose a place with no distractions. Choose a quiet place for the interview. This could be a home office, if you have one, or the kitchen table or another quiet place at home. Make sure no one else will be around, and if you have a dog that barks, it might be best to put it outside or ask a friend to take care of it for an hour or two. It’s best to have a blank wall behind you so there are no distractions, and the hiring manager will concentrate on you instead of what else is in the room.

Make sure there’s plenty of light. This could be natural or artificial light, but it’s important that the hiring manager can see you clearly.

Dress professionally. Yes, you’re at home, but you still need to make a good impression. Wear the same sort of outfit that you would if you were going to an in-person interview. Avoid bright colors and elaborate jewelry, however, because these may be distracting online. 

Get there early. This is just as important as when participating in a face-to-face interview, maybe even more so, since it may take a while to sign in.

Look into the camera. This may take some practice, maybe with a friend beforehand, but make sure you’re looking into the camera on your computer rather than the face of the hiring manager on the screen. Looking directly into the camera means you will be making eye-contact with the person interviewing you. And if you’re using your smart phone or a tablet, make sure you’re centered on the screen.

Speak carefully. When video conferencing, there can be lag time between what you say and when the person on the other end hears it, so speak slowly (but not too slowly to sound unnatural), and enunciate clearly. Also wait several seconds after the interviewer speaks to make sure you don’t interrupt them.

Don’t forget the importance of body language. Sit up straight with feet planted firmly on the floor. Make proper eye contact by looking into the camera on your computer. Don’t forget to smile.

Show enthusiasm. You won’t be able to start off the interview with a handshake, but you can show your enthusiasm when you first connect. Begin the interview by saying that you are happy to meet the hiring manager, and thank them for taking the time to talk to you.

Try a power pose. Right before the interview, you may want to try a power pose, but not in front of the computer or with the microphone on. Researchers have found that assuming a power pose for two minutes before an interview gives people the confidence they need to make a favorable impression.

Send a thank you note. Don’t forget to send a thank you note after you finish the interview. Since this can be an email or hand-written note, make sure you have the hiring manager’s email address or physical address, depending on which type you choose to send.

 

Vera Institute of Justice and Root & Rebound issue coronavirus advice to prisons, parole officers and others

coronavirusThe coronavirus pandemic could explode within the walls of prisons and jails. And it could spread even further among those on parole. Although some states and facilities are taking action in these areas, it may be too little too late.

But there are still many things that officials can do. And they may want to follow the lead of two nonprofit organizations – Vera Institute of Justice in Brooklyn, NY, and Root & Rebound in Oakland, Calif. – which have put together excellent practical advice for them to follow in dealing with the prevention or spread of the coronavirus.

Vera Institute of Justice offers advice

Vera Institute of Justice has created a series of guidance reports for use by everyone from prison and immigration detention facility employees to parole and police officers. Each one provides nearly everything that can be done – within reason – to help prevent or contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Prisons, jails and immigration detention and youth facilities 

Among actions for prisons, jails and immigration detention and youth facilities, Vera Institute of Justice recommends that they:

  • Release as many people as possible, especially inmates with a high risk of infection – those who are older, pregnant or have compromised immune systems. And those states that don’t allow discretionary releases should change their policies.
  • Screen everyone entering the facility.
  • Provide free hand-sanitizer and antibacterial soap, and wash clothing, sheets and towels more often.
  • Use videoconferencing and email for staff briefings.
  • Continue classes, jobs and recreational activities, but reduce group size.
  • Create comfortable housing to separate those with symptoms of the virus and the actual disease, rather than put them in solitary confinement cells, which should not be used.
  • Develop a staffing plan to handle employee shortages, and ensure that essential tasks will continue to be performed.
Parole and probation officers

Among recommendations for parole and probation officers:

  • Don’t re-incarcerate those on parole for technical violations, such as missing a parole meeting or not passing a drug test.
  • Terminate probation as soon as possible.
  • Substitute in-person reporting with phone calls or videoconferencing.
  • Suspend all supervision fees to account for lost wages.
  • Create an individual emergency medical plan for those under supervision to prepare for the possibility that they may become infected.
  • Train staff on how to respond if someone under their supervision has coronavirus symptoms or the disease itself.
Prosecutors, defenders and courts

Among recommendations for prosecutors, defenders and the courts:

  • Don’t prosecute minor offenses, including drug possession and theft.
  • Convert as many charges as possible to non-arrest charges.
  • Reschedule court appearances for at least six months in the future.
  • Create a website to resolve cases online instead of through in-court appearances.
  • Judges should determine those on their detained dockets who can be released and make sure they are released.
Root & Rebound recommends changes in parole and probation practices

Meanwhile, last week Root & Rebound sent a call-to-action letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Ralph Diaz and Division of Adult Parole Operations Director Jeffrey Green, as well government officials, all California county probation offices and county boards of supervisors.

The letter urges recipients to “modify parole and probation conditions, policies and practices during this public health crisis in order to protect public health and reduce unnecessary contact between people, which will save lives by slowing the transmission of COVID-19.”

Root & Rebound recommends that parole and probation:

  • Suspend all in-person meetings, except in the case of an emergency. Telephone or videoconferencing should be used instead.
  • Suspend all required classes or groups. Instead offer these on a voluntary or virtual basis.
  • Suspend drug testing and other in-person requirements.
  • Permit people under supervision to leave transitional housing and live with family members, thus reducing crowding and ensuring space for those with nowhere else to go.
  • Create an emergency infrastructure that covers housing, financial assistance and community resources.
  • Help people being released from prison and those under supervision find safe and healthy housing.
  • Provide medical planning pre-release, and help ensure access to healthcare and prescription medications.
  • Provide early termination of probation and immediate discharge from parole for those who meet specific requirements.
  • Cease enforcement of technical violations, and release those already imprisoned for technical violations or inability to pay bail.
  • Not issue violations to people who don’t charge their GPS/ankle monitors, since those who are homeless often use libraries and public spaces to recharge them, and those places are now closed.

Note: We are impressed by the lead that these organizations have taken and would love to hear about actions initiated by other nonprofits. If you are aware of any, please contact us.