Coronavirus & Video Interviews: Creating a Professional Setup

April 27th, 2020
Adam Love
Tips & Tricks,
Video Interviewing
work from home set up

Improve Your Video Interviewing Abilities Without Expense

The working world has changed significantly over 2020. It’s no secret that remote work is rising. But now, taking all of our interactions digitally is the new normal. With the coronavirus pandemic growing across the globe, digital communication is now required for the majority of companies to function. Companies needing to fill hundreds (or thousands) or roles quickly are turning to video interviewing for quick, reliable hiring solutions.

However, finding enough quietude and the right spaces for video interviewing might prove tricky for many. Also, let’s face it: not many of us are as focused on our professional attire as we try to juggle our multiple responsibilities. So, what can you do to ensure a professional setting while completing a video interview? We’ve identified five essential tips for you to adopt as working from home becomes the new standard.

1. Optimize Your Camera Angle

While there are not any hard “rules of thumb” when it comes to proper camera angle, it’s always best to ensure your webcam is as close to eye-level as possible. If you find yourself prepping for a video interview, there are some easy ways to improve your digital appearance.

  1. If you’re working on a laptop, or if your monitor/device is too low, it provides a less-flattering view of your face. Stack books or boxes on a desk or counter space and place your computer on top. This allows your device to film more closely to your eye-level.
  2. If you use a USB webcam, make sure to position the camera above your nose or eyes. On average, webcams provide more flattering angles from higher angles rather than low ones.
  3. It’s always a good idea to test your footage before going live. Make sure you feel comfortable with the angle and distance from the camera. In fact, Zogby Analytics found that most people are annoyed by video calls where presenters sit too close to the camera.
  4. Most importantly, be confident and be yourself!

2. Find the Right Background

Depending on your living situation, finding a suitable “professional” background might prove to be impossible for a video interview. That’s okay! We’re living in a challenging time and nobody expects you to be in a polished conference room. However, below are some steps to ensure your background and general space offer quality video.

  1. Find a well-lit room or space without too many distractions on the walls--or in the background. Neutral-colored walls without clatter are your best bet, if possible.
  2. If you have windows, make sure to face towards them to avoid shadows and odd back-lighting.
  3. Try not to wear distracting patterns or stark colors like black and white. These types of clothing can conflict with your background or become jarring for viewers.
  4. Take the video interview with a neutral backdrop, such as home office or bedroom walls. As long as nothing distracting is behind you, you should be good to go. For the creative types, there are even portable green screens available to attach to your office chair!

3. Quick Hacks for Better Lighting

Lighting can make or break your on-screen presence. Whether you’re in a bedroom, home office, or even outside, make sure you’re somewhere that makes you shine. We’ve found the following tips to be very helpful:

Overcoming glows from screen light. 

Screen light, whether from a smartphone, tablet, or computer, is always a challenge for live video. The blue light glowing from the screen illuminates faces with an odd tinge of color. Make sure you have neutral lighting in your space to overcome blue light aspects.

Make use of natural light.

It’s best to get your camera situated in front of soft lighting. However, you don’t need to buy an expensive (or affordable) lighting source to combat this dilemma. Instead, put your computer, laptop, or device in front of a window with blinds or shades slightly drawn. Natural light is a great (free!) resource that provides front lighting for your camera.

Clever camera placement.

You can make a world of difference with some quick adjustments. Avoid placing your computer or device in a dimly-lit area. Watch out for overhead lights. They capture an odd “halo image” hovering above you. Make sure your camera is stationed at eye level if using a USB camera. Or, stack your laptop on books or boxes, as mentioned above.

4. Know Your Audience

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, nobody expects you to be completely polished with video interviews. We’re all in this together, living/working fully at home, during a very unprecedented time. Many of us have our kids at home. Perhaps your dogs have just as much pent-up energy as your kids and spend their time running laps in the hallway. It’s okay: we’re all human! Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on connecting with your audience.

Here are five things you can do to make your best effort. Let’s not forget to cut each other some slack during these trying times.

  • Smile and make eye contact with the camera.
  • Offer your potential coworkers (or boss) the same professionalism you’d offer in person.
  • Prepare your environment (be conscious of your background, find a neutral camera angle, let people know you’re going on a call, let dogs outside).
  • Dress and look as the situation dictates.
  • No distractions: give the situation your full attention.

If something unexpected happens, apologize and move on; just go with the flow. Remember: we’re all facing the same challenges in this situation and nobody will think differently of you.

Bringing It All Together

Not everybody has the benefit of a home office space. That’s okay: nobody expects you to have one. However, it’s relatively easy to create a makeshift workspace for a video interview or for work:

  • Find a well-lit area in your living space.
  • Make sure to avoid walls with lots of clutter or distracting backgrounds.
  • If your company (or prospective company) has specific dress code policies, do your best to follow them.
  • Make sure your hair (and/or facial hair) is presentable, as well.
  • Most importantly, have headphones nearby to quickly fix any sound issues.

Many headphones (with chords or bluetooth) offer great video conferencing benefits. Even if your internet connection becomes a bit shaky, having a solid audio connection will make a massive difference. Not to mention, better microphones tend to drown out unwanted noises from roommates, family members, or energetic dogs.

During this uncertain time, interviewing proves to be a challenge for anyone seeking employment. When you can’t personally attend interviews, you need to adapt to technological avenues to decide which company and which position is right for you. Video interviewing and virtual hiring are key solutions that allow you to maintain professional growth.

HireVue is the leading, global provider of virtual interviewing through live and recorded video interviews. We’ve successfully conducted over 14,000,000 interviews across the globe, helping job-seekers like you prepare for video interviews.

Curious how else you can prepare? Watch this instructional video and learn how you can take your interview at an ideal time, on any device. Let’s stay safe and take care of one another!