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How to conduct productive virtual meetings / interviews

How to conduct productive virtual meetings / interviews

 Amid fear related to the spread of the Coronavirus, companies have started to cancel face to face interviews and resort to remote interviews in order to keep their recruitment process going.

With around 20% of the global workforce are now working remotely full-time, and half of the remaining employees working from home at least one day per week, the art of virtual communication is more critical than ever.

Amid fear related to the spread of the Coronavirus, companies have started to cancel business trips and even whole conferences. Because of that and the advent of 5G, a host of startups emerged, trying to re-create the live meeting experience through the means of modern communications technologies like VR, AR, holograms, and advanced video conference apps.

Virtual reality is now commonplace in nearly every branch of the gaming industry, but similar technology is also extremely useful in the business world, where it can save hundreds of hours of billable time. Instead of traveling for thousands of miles to a business meeting, you can now chat live online with your clients and people from your company.

Video job interviews are an increasingly common part of the hiring process. These interviews can take several forms. If you have one coming up, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the variables so you can be prepared.

 Remote video interviews
Some video interviews take place outside of the potential employer’s office. In this case, you’ll be responsible for finding a quiet location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Specifically, you’ll need:

  • An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second.
  • A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option.
  • Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.
  • A quiet, private and well-lit place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions. Avoid coffee shops and other communal spaces.

If you don’t have these resources already, you may want to consider the following:

  • Explore the resources available at the public library in your area. Some libraries have private rooms you can reserve and may be able to loan you the equipment you need.
  • Ask friends if you can borrow equipment.
  • Rent equipment.

What to wear for a video interview

For your video interview, you should dress professionally—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Research the company culture before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate.

To look your best on camera, avoid bright colors and patterns and opt for softer colors instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid color rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centered on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.

Video interview body language

Eye contact is very important during an in-person interview, and you want to convey that same level of connection during a video interview. Here’s how: Avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, you want to direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen.

Throughout the interview, keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism with your body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk.

When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you’re giving them your full attention. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate and keep your movements close to your body. Avoid fidgeting or letting your gaze drift away from the device.

 Practice and tech set up

To get used to the technology and the body language of a video interview, it’s useful to do some practice video calls with friends or family members. Ask them to give you candid feedback about your appearance and eye contact. Run through it a few times until things start to feel natural.

This practice can make all the difference in your interviews. Set aside time in your schedule in the weeks and days leading up to your interview—you’ll find your confidence growing as you become more comfortable in front of the camera.

On the day of your interview, review this checklist as you’re setting up:

  • Ensure that you won’t be interrupted, either by locking the door or by alerting others that you can’t be disturbed (a note on the door of the room as well as the door to the outside may be helpful).
  • Clear the desk space, except for a notepad and pen/pencil for you to take notes.
  • Have a copy of your resume and any other notes ready for you to reference.
  • Set out a glass or bottle of water for yourself.
  • Check that your webcam is working.
  • Check that your audio is working.
  • Close any windows, tabs or applications on your computer that you’re not using.
  • Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background.
  • Set your phone to silent.
  • Check that the background behind you is neutral and free from clutter.
  • Adjust the lights in the room. If things appear dark or dim, you may want to bring in an extra desk lamp to brighten the space.

 If things go wrong

With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case.

  • If your video or audio stops working
    Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.
  • If noise interrupts the conversation
    If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologize for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
  • If someone enters the room unexpectedly If family members, housemates or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologize to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.

As with any job interview, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time. Send a follow-up thank you email later that day (or the next day if your interview was in the evening). This message may help build a stronger connection with your potential employer and help you progress to the next step.


How To Job Search During The Coronavirus Lockdown

How To Job Search During The Coronavirus Lockdown

With the coronavirus effectively putting the world on lockdown, job seekers now face a new challenge – how to search in times of uncertainty. What can be done to keep a job search going strong during this time?

Keep applying to jobs.

Your job search should continue as usual. Keep sending in your applications and polishing up your resume and cover letter. Even if the company needs to temporarily stop their search, chances are once things resume some sense of normalcy, they’ll still need to fill that position.

Don’t worry if the position doesn’t mention remote work.

New listings may reflect the changes many companies have made to transition their workforce to remote work, but existing listings won’t get updated. At this point, it’s very possible that even if the job listing doesn’t mention remote work, it’s a definite option. In states and cities with shelter in place orders and group gathering restrictions, many companies’ physical locations are closed, so remote work is the only option right now, whether or not the job posting mentions it.

Build your network.

Now, more than ever before, is the time to lean into your network and continue or start to build it. If you don’t have an active LinkedIn profile, you need one. LinkedIn is a goldmine of connections, advice, and job opportunities. Take advantage of that by not only updating your profile but engaging with your network by messaging people, joining in on discussions, and sharing content. Never be afraid to ask for help or advice – that’s what your network is there for.

Engage with people.

With millions of people working from home, engagement in online communities has increased. Offline events have moved online, creating new ways for people to connect. There are hundreds of options to network virtually every day ranging from educational to social, so take full advantage of them. Find a balance between professional events and fun, social ones. A virtual happy hour can do wonders to boost your mood and help reduce stress during these tense and uncertain times.

Get comfortable with talking on the phone.

Video and phone calls are now the way that most companies will be conducting interviews. Expect the initial correspondence to be through email, then by phone, and as you progress, by video. If you aren’t comfortable talking on the phone, enlist a few friends to help you run through a few practice calls. Be sure that your voicemail is set up you’re using a professional voicemail greeting.

Ensure you have a clear spot to video chat from.

Video interviews will replace in person interviews, but they should be treated the same. Prepare the same way for a video interview as you would if you were meeting the hiring manager in their office. Dress professionally, be ready to go five minutes early, check all of your camera and audio settings ahead of time, and use headphones to you can both hear and be heard clearly.

The most important thing is to have a clear background. Hiring managers will allow for some leeway during this time since not everyone has the luxury of having a home office to work out of, but be sure to choose a spot in your home with an uncluttered background. Some platforms allow you to use a virtual background, but be sure to test it out before your interview to ensure it works properly.

Allow yourself to be frustrated.

These times are frustrating and stressful – that’s a fact. Allow yourself to be frustrated, but don’t wallow in that feeling. Step away for a few minutes and exercise, meditate, call a friend, or whatever calms you down. Then get back to work.

In short, job seekers should absolutely keep applying to jobs during this time. The most successful people are the ones who persevere during a challenge.

During this uncertain time, SUMMIT Africa Recruitment are diligently working with quite a number of our clients to ensure that business processes are taking as little strain as possible!
The recruitment process that many of us are used to, like everything, is at the brink of transformation!


Is it tolerable to be late for an interview? This is a tough question, but let us explain here.

Is it tolerable to be late for an interview? This is a tough question, but let us explain here.

You have landed that interview you have been hoping for through your partnered recruiter whom you trust. You can say that this is your ideal job, the job you have fantasised about for years.

Your interview is scheduled for Monday at 10:00 am. Behind the scenes, the recruiter had to jump through hoops to get all parties involved to shift their diaries to meet with you. These parties include people such as the CIO, Senior manager from the IT department and senior manager from the finance department and the list goes on. The day of your interview has finally arrived, you are dressed to impress and feel confidence is your best friend. You get into your car and as you turn on the highway your worst nightmare comes true. It is pouring down from the rain, traffic is backed up for kilometres and to top that, no one knows how to drive in the rain.

You may have found yourself in a similar situation before. When you get invited to a birthday party or any event actually by friends, the time given is just a guideline and no one is ever on time. However, an interview is completely different.

Without any question, the most valuable thing any person can give you is their time and undivided attention. When you are not on time for a meeting you are disrespecting the other person time. We know that life happens and that you do not have control over unexpected events. In the case of an interview, it will be critical how you handle such a situation and it will tell your soon to be employer a lot about your character.

Being late can make or break an interview process. Below are a few tips and suggestions on how to prevent being late for your interview.

  • Transparency is key. Be transparent with your recruiter, do not feel like you have to say yes to the proposed time. If there is a chance that the prosed time can be comprised due to an emergency rather ask for a time that you will make comfortably without feeling too stressed.
  •  Never assume. Look up the address beforehand, make sure you know the most reliable route and how long it will take you to get there. If you are too nervous ask a friend to assist you or take a drive to the building beforehand.
  • Always prepare for the worst, we all know unexpected things happen, like traffic on the highway, unexpected roadblock or even an accident. Being prepared can help you be on time. If you leave too early for the interview, maybe consider visiting a close-by coffee shop.
  • Make sure you the correct time.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress and find out where you need to park. Struggling to find parking space might make you late for your interview.
  • Don’t be too early. If you are too early you might throw your interviewers of their game since they might be occupied with something else when you get there. Make sure to arrive a few minutes early than given time and know whom to ask for.
  • It does not matter what your current position is or how senior you are anything can happen at any given time so prevention is better than cure. Should you find yourself in a predicament and think you might be late, call your recruiter or interviewer immediately and apologise. Stay calm and give them an accurate estimated time you will be there.

In conclusion to the above, remember that we cannot control all situations around us. Things happen but the way you handle the obstacles is entirely up to you. Should you be late and you handle it within an utmost professional manner you might just land your dream job after all!

Happy job hunting from us here @ Summit Africa Recruitment.

How to conduct productive virtual meetings / interviews
How To Job Search During The Coronavirus Lockdown
Is it tolerable to be late for an interview? This is a tough question, but let us explain here.