8 tips for video call success on Microsoft Teams and Zoom

8 tips for video call success on Microsoft Teams and Zoom

COVID19 has shaped our lives in an unprecedented fashion in 2020. With restrictions on office attendance and travel across the world, video interviewing has become the new norm for businesses to operate, talk to clients and recruit candidates for roles.

Given this situation, it is vitally important to make sure you are prepared and comfortable with using Microsoft Teams and Zoom during an interview or meeting. Here are our 8 top tips to help you excel in this forum.

1 Find the best environment and video background
• Find a private, quiet location where you won’t be interrupted. Switch your phone off, close windows to block out any outdoor noise, and lock the door if needs be – we all know how distracting our partners, kids or pets can be!
• Find a simple, neutral background and ensure that your shot is well-lit. It’s best to have the light source coming from in front of you. Adjust the lighting if required once the shot is set up. Anything behind you is a distraction and detracts from your message.

2 Technology
• Ensure you have a strong internet connection. It’s so important to test this before any interview or meeting that you are holding or participating in.
• Make sure your set up is correct, especially for sound. Ensure you have some headphones as these cut out any background echo and do tests beforehand to ensure you are happy.

3 What to wear for your video interview
• Dress as you normally would for a face-to-face interview. Research the company and decide what is appropriate to wear. Would you wear a t shirt for an interview if it was face to face?
• Avoid patterns or distracting jewellery and ties. If you go for simple, softer colours and dress fully – not just from the waist up – this will help you to psychologically feel ready for the interview, as if it was face to face.

4 Organise your desk for a stress-free video interview
• Clear your desk space, and simply lay out your prepared notes, your CV and the job brief, so that you have prompts to refer to.
• Have a pen and paper to hand for any questions that spring to mind or any key details you want to note down.
• Also make sure you have a glass of water to hand – talking can be thirsty work!

5 Find the best shot for success
• Set up the shot so that you’re positioned in the centre of screen with some clear space above your head, and don’t sit too close to the screen.
• Keep your hands away from your face and sit naturally.
• Raise your camera to head level to avoid looking down on the interviewer, making it more natural – use a laptop stand, or a pile of books.
• Consider turning off the image that shows you within the screen, this avoids distraction, self-consciousness and allows you to focus more fully on the interviewer and the questions.
• Once set up, check again for lighting – coming from in front of you. If you wear glasses, try to position the lighting to remove any unwanted glare.

6 Test!
• It’s crucial to test your set up before the interview. Don’t miss this step!
• Do a dummy interview using Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, with a friend. You can record it and watch it back to identify any adjustments you need to make.
• Test the audio, the video and internet speed. Does the background look okay? How is your positioning?
• What about your body language? Try not to fidget or move your hands too much, this can be distracting, and can interfere with the microphone

7 Back-up plans
• Inevitably, technology can let us down. Be prepared in advance. Ask the interviewer for a number to call, should you run into difficulty. Apologise, but make sure you proactively offer a solution – to call them and continue by telephone, or to reschedule.

8 Prepare, prepare, prepare!
• Video interviews or presentations are no less formal that face to face meetings. So, it goes without saying that preparation is key to your success. Have some notes to hand that you can call upon to evidence how your experience aligns with the role.
• The Candidate Report that you complete for Executives in Africa is a good source of reference, to ensure you stick to the areas that are important for that particular role.

Executives in Africa has worked with companies for roles based in over 40 countries on the continent, totalling nearly 600 Search mandates. If you would like to hear more about the EiA Search Process, please contact Ian Erridge, at ie@executivesinafrica.com and he will connect you to the right person.

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