Lockdowns may be a thing of the past, but the popularity of video interviewing following the pandemic doesn’t seem to be decreasing any time soon.
That’s no surprise though. Remote interviews take up less time in busy professionals’ schedules and are easier to arrange, especially if interviewers work from several different locations. Furthermore, with the rise in remote and hybrid job opportunities, it makes sense to interview from home if you’re going to be working from there anyway.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security though. Video interviews may be easy to get in to your calendar, but that’s only the first hurdle. There are plenty of ways that a remote meeting can go right or wrong, so we’re sharing a few tips, tricks and lessons to be learned from examples we’ve seen on TV over the years.
1. Consider possible distractions
BBC News’ interview with Professor Robert Kelly about South Korea made headlines around the world when his children decided to gate-crash the conversation. While he managed to successfully complete the interview, it was hard for him, his interviewer and the audience to concentrate on the subject discussed while his family were scrambling in the background.
What can we learn from this? Namely, choose a quiet place to do your interview where you and your interviewers won’t be distracted by other people in the house, traffic noise, the doorbell, next door’s builders, etc.
If there are going to be other people in the house while you’re online, tell them the time and approximate length of your meeting so they know not to disturb you. You could even stick an “In a Meeting” note on the door as a last line of defence.
Of course, there’s likely to be an element of understanding from the interviewer if an interruption does happen, but it’s better to avoid it in the first place. You should always try to be as professional as possible at this early stage of the hiring process.
2. Be on the ball
April 2010 gave us a now famous and loved clip from football’s own Chris Kamara. The priceless moment was captured during a live Portsmouth vs Blackburn match, when Kamara was supposed to be following the play and reporting any major events back to the Soccer Saturday studio.
As the studio switched to him to ask who had received the red card dismissal that had just occurred, a bewildered Kamara replied “I don’t know Jeff, has there? I must have missed that.”.
While this clip has provided us with endless laughs for over a decade now, it’s safe to say that being behind the times in a job interview is unlikely to have the same response.
Talking about the latest developments, changes and trends in the market your applying for will demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to that career path which can go a long way to securing you a role in that area, so it is vital to stay up-to-date.
Applying for an accountancy role? Do you know all about IFRS17?
Is the business sustainability focused? Read up on climate risk.
Want to work in data/analytics? Make sure you’re familiar with the latest programming languages (or at least the ones the hiring company uses).
And if it’s a newer area for you, you won’t be expected to be an expert in these subjects. But showing that you’ve started doing your own background reading will be a big plus for your application chances.
3. Check where you’re supposed to be
In May 2006, Guy Goma made a legendary trip to the BBC News studios to interview for a position in the IT department. Unfortunately, due to a name mix-up, Guy found himself on television being asked questions about a trademark dispute in the record industry.
Mr Goma tried to keep calm and answer the questions being thrown at him, likely feeling that he didn’t want to make a scene on live TV. While it’s unlikely that you’ll end up in the wrong remote interview, it’s still important to make sure you have the correct details beforehand and know exactly where you’re supposed to be and who with.
Triple check you have the correct invitation link and the details of who is going to be interviewing you far in advance of the start time. Be sure to download any new software you need, like Zoom or Teams, and check everything is working on your computer – webcam, speakers, microphone, etc.
On the day, sit down in front of your laptop at least 10 minutes before you’re due to start to get yourself set up, ensure you have good lighting, and enter the virtual meeting room a couple of minutes early for good measure.
4. Have the right provisions
Simon McCoy confused the nation in 2013 when he read the headlines clutching a pack of printer paper. Apparently, Mr McCoy picked it up by accident instead of his iPad, but continued to present the news as if nothing had happened.
The lesson here is to gather and prepare all your supporting materials in plenty of time before your interview. During the meeting, you may want to refer to sales figures, market analysis, research you’ve done, notes you’ve taken, etc. so be sure to collate this and have it on the table ready to pick up, rather than scrambling around for it mid-conversation.
It’s also a good idea to have your CV to hand as well, so you can see exactly what the interviewer is referring to when they’re asking questions about it.
5. Always stay professional
In 2015, BBC News invited in Bounce the dog for a segment on whether dogs can understand human facial expressions. As you would expect, Bounce showed little interest in being on TV and spent the two and a half minutes gazing away from the cameras, yawning and eventually lying down to take a nap.
It’s likely that, during your job search, you will discover in an interview that a role isn’t quite right for you. After all, that’s what interviews are for! They’re not just about assessing your suitability for the position, but also for you to understand if it’s the right option for you.
What is important to know here is that when that does happen, you should continue the interview with the same amount of enthusiasm and professionalism as you started with.
Once the interview has finished, politely inform the business afterwards that you don’t feel that it’s the right role for you and you’d like to withdraw from the process.
After all, this job may not be right for you, but there could be another opportunity with this company, now or in future. Or maybe the interviewer is well-known in the industry and will pass on their recommendations to other hiring managers.
If you start acting rude, unprofessional, impolite or generally negative in any way, this will not only thwart your chances with this business, but could hurt your reputation throughout the industry as a whole.
There we have it. Five lessons to be learned from TV interviews. If you’d like more advice and guidance through your job search, get in touch.