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  • Writer's pictureGO2 Team

Video Call and Interview Best Practices

Updated: May 10


Video calls, and even video job interviews, have become increasingly more common in recent years, especially because of the number of people who now work from home since the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

To make sure that these online meetings are productive and professional, it is important to follow best practices. This includes preparing for the call or interview, setting up a simple clean background, and paying attention to your body language. By following these best practices, you can get the best results from your video calls and online job interviews.

 

Stay Focused and Engaged


Doing too many things at one time can distract you from the conversation, and stop you fully engaging with your interviewer or colleagues. By staying focused on the call, you can better understand and contribute to the conversation. Focusing will also help you achieve the goals of your call, and make the best use of your time.

 

But most importantly, staying focused during a video call shows your respect for the other participants. By giving your full attention to the call, you demonstrate that you value their time and are committed to the success of the conversation.

 

Sometimes there are emergencies and we have to step away from the computer. That's OK, but make sure you tell the call host before leaving. This is respectful and shows you can continue to be responsible and polite in emergency situations.

 

Invest in Good Quality Audio-Video Equipment


Using good audio-video equipment is important when on a video call, or in a job interview because it can impact the quality of the call and the impression you make on the person you are speaking with.

 

A good microphone will produce clear and crisp audio with no distracting background noises, making it easier for all call participants to hear and understand each other. This is important in a video call, where the other participants' body language is not as clear as it is in a face-to-face conversation, and its easy to have misunderstandings. Microphones that have noise-canceling features reduce background noise, and you might find more background noise reduction options in the settings of your computer operating system.

 

It is better, whenever possible, to wear headphones or an earpiece during video calls/interviews rather than using speakers, as headphones help to maintain your privacy. This can be particularly useful if you are in a shared space or if you are discussing sensitive or confidential information. Speakers can also cause audio feedback through your microphone, which is loud and distracting, and can cause headaches for everyone else in the call.

 

Test Your Equipment Beforehand


Make sure your webcam, microphone, and internet connection are all working properly before the day of your interview or meeting. You don't want any technical problems during the call. Also, keep your video call software updated. Running a software update just before the meeting could waste everyone's time, and give a bad impression.

 

By taking the time to test your equipment before the call or interview, you demonstrate professionalism and attention to detail. Click here for more detailed information on checking that your technology is working.

 

Tips for a stable internet connection


  • Use a wired connection and not Wi-Fi if possible.

  • If you must use a Wi-Fi connection, make sure you have full signal.

  • You will need a download speed of at least 4 Mbps for a stable video conference call, but 25 Mbps + will get you the highest quality HD video and the most stable screensharing experience.


Find a Quiet, Well-Lit Location


Choose a call location that is quiet and has good lighting as it can help ensure a better overall experience for everyone. A quiet environment reduces distractions and helps you focus on the call or interview. Background noise can be distracting and make it difficult for others to hear you clearly. Good lighting can help you look more presentable and makes it easier for others to see you clearly.

 

Try not to sit with a window behind you, because the light can be very bright on the other participants' screens. It will also make you look like a black outline on a white background. Any body language you use will not be seen, and this could make an interviewer feel unconfident about what you are like as a person. For people with some eye conditions this is also very difficult to look at, and can start headaches or even migraines!

 

Dress Appropriately


Even though the call is online, it's important to dress appropriately; It shows that you value the other participants' time and are taking the call or interview seriously. Wearing inappropriate clothing can make people focus on your clothes and not the topic of discussion in the call or interview.

 

Now it gets a little complicated; you don't want to look too formal! There's a lot of value in just being yourself. So the key to dressing well for a video call or interview is having a good balance of respectful and authentically you. You don't need to wear a suit, you just have to look tidy and presentable.

 

Tips for Dressing Appropriately for a Video Call


  • Choose clothes that are clean, fit you well, and are in good condition.

  • Aim to dress as a formal version of yourself. So, no T-shirts and jeans!

  • Be clean and tidy; brush your hair and wash your face.

  • Wear appropriate clothes on your bottom half! If you have an emergency, you don't want to show everyone your pajamas!

  • Don't wear anything with the name of a sports team, a national flag, a religion or any other group on it. There's nothing wrong with being yourself, but the conversation should be about your work not politics or football.


Click here for a more detailed guide on what to wear for a job interview.

 

Pay Attention to Your Body Language


Body language is an important part of communication, and it is even more important on a video call or interview, where you don't always have eye contact, clear facial expressions, and hand movements. Paying attention to your body language during a video call or interview can help you demonstrate your confidence, openness, interest and kindness, which all make a positive impression on the person you are speaking with.

 

Tips for Good Body Language in a Video Call or Job Interview


  • Sit with a straight back if you can, as this shows you are interested in the call.

  • Make 'eye contact' with the camera if you can, as this helps to create a sense of connection with the person you are speaking with.

  • Use facial expressions and hand movements to match your emotions, and to emphasize important points.

  • Try to relax, it's natural to be nervous in an interview but relaxing shows you can manage some pressure. If you can't hide your nerves in a job interview, say you are a little nervous because the job is important to you. Sometimes this is the best way to calm down!

  • Sit comfortably; moving around a lot can be a sign that someone is emotionally uncomfortable or even lying! Get a pillow for your back if you need one.


Video On, Mic on Mute – As Needed


It is usually good practice to mute your microphone and turn your camera on during a video call or job interview. If you are in a shared space or if there is a lot of background noise in your environment, muting your microphone can help to minimize distractions for other participants. Turning your camera on helps to create a more interactive experience for all call participants, as seeing each other's faces helps to build personal connections, making the conversation feel more natural.

 

Think About Your Background


An untidy or extremely detailed background can be distracting to other call participants, and may reduce their ability to focus on the conversation. A clean, tidy, and uncomplicated background also helps to maintain your privacy, as there are no objects showing personal or sensitive information that are visible to others during the call.

 

Your background also gives a positive or negative impression of you and your workspace. But you don’t need to create a background for a Hollywood Movie, a blank wall is usually good enough! A tidy, bright, open space gives the impression you are organized, comfortable, and ready to work.

 

Keep Your Camera at Eye Level


Keeping your camera at eye level feels the most like real eye contact, which is important for building connections with other people in the call. It could also be more comfortable for you, as it reduces neck strain and other physical discomfort caused by looking up or down at the camera for a long time. Cameras below eye level will show you as a large person looking down on the other participants, and above eye level will show you as a small person looking up at them. You want to give the impression of a respectful equal, so eye level is the place to be!

 

Wrap Up


Good video call practices are important for creating a pleasant and productive experience for all participants. So, remember to:


  • Stay focused and avoid multitasking, to fully engage in the conversation and be respectful of the other participants' time.

  • Use a good-quality microphone to improve sound clarity and reduce background noise.

  • Wear headphones or an earpiece when possible, to improve sound quality and maintain privacy.

  • Mute your microphone and turn your camera on to reduce distractions and create a more interactive experience.

  • Keep your camera at eye level to create the impression of eye contact, and to show you are a friendly equal.

  • Keeping your background clean, tidy and simple to show your professionalism and maintain your privacy.

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