A picture paints a thousand words, and in the case of video interviews, it could dictate the course of your quality assurance (QA) career. If we were to frame this as a movie plot, here's the plot twist: most candidates, your potential co-stars, flunk their video interviews. You might be among them, but don't get ready for your curtain call just yet!
Stepping away from the cinematic analogy, let's dive into the reality: the digital transformation has stirred up a storm in the recruitment scene. An impressive 60% of recruiters are harnessing the power of online platforms like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime to conduct video interviews, according to a study by Zippia. This simple, cost-effective solution has become a game-changer, connecting QA teams with potential candidates, regardless of geographical barriers.
But, as with every change, there are those who embrace the new order and those who fear it. To some, the idea of a video interview is as frightening as walking a tightrope. Although a first impression can be a deal-breaker, even the most groomed and charismatic individuals can stumble when it comes to acing a video interview. The virtual interview playground is a different ball game, demanding a unique set of skills and tactics.
Fear not, for we've got your back. We've put together innovative tips specifically for QA candidates to help you shine in your next online interview. Dive in to discover how to charismatically command the camera, ensuring you're ready for your close-up.
What is a video interview and how does it work?
Video interviews offer an equally valid alternative to face-to-face interviewing: the recruiter can look at the candidate, ask questions, hear the answers, and perceive their emotions. All that's required is a reliable internet connection and a device equipped with a front camera. You can use the virtual setting to your advantage, showcasing your best self, demonstrating a sense of humor, and standing out to the interviewer. Plus, video interviewing lets you stay in your own space at home – say, chatting in your kitchen over a cup of coffee with your beloved ones.
Despite various seeming benefits, communicating electronically comes with its drawbacks. The internet can be a tricky thing: connection and audio problems seem to always be popping up and yelling "Can you hear me?!" is not the most beneficial beginning of acquaintance. The camera never tells the whole story – it can hide not only imperfections, but also positive features. And adjusting the lighting to look natural in the frame is an art that not everyone possesses. Additionally, virtual meetings don't shorten the conversation time in any way; a digital conversation is still likely to take up just as much of one's time – from 30 to 40 minutes.
As we said before, any application with video calling is suitable for video interviews – Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger. Recently, various platforms for offline video interviews have been gaining popularity, which simplify the interview process for both parties. If you're invited to a live interview, prepare to join an online video session with the potential employer. Once connected, you'll have the chance to interact with the interviewer in real-time.
However, MedDev employers in search for QA talents may use pre-recorded video interviews in certain situations. With this format, you'll be guided on how to join the interview and instead of speaking with an individual, you will be prompted to respond to pre-recorded or written questions.
How it works: the recruiter makes a list of questions, selects candidates, and sends them an invitation link so that they go through a video interview using a special service. The candidate receives notifications and can be interviewed via the link at any convenient time. The screen alternately displays the questions that the recruiter has compiled, with a limited response time.
The video cannot be re-recorded, so it will allow you to get to know you as realistically as possible. For QA hiring managers, this format saves a lot of time: the interview can be viewed several times, paused, or immediately move on to the next one.
Video interview tips for QA Candidates
1. Choose a location
First, ask the medical device HR manager in advance about the duration of the interview. Connecting from home? Alert your family or those living with you that you cannot be disturbed at a certain period of time, and you appreciate complete silence – house chores background sounds may distract and spoil the impression. If you have small children, join a video interview during their absence, nap break or quiet activities.
When you can't conduct an interview from home, a coffee shop might seem like the logical option. However, it's not always the best. Firstly, finding a cafe without a musical background may be difficult. And secondly, you will get a hum of voices and various ambient noises (remember how loud coffee machines can be). At the same time, given the confidential nature of the conversation, you will probably speak in a low voice so that others do not hear you, and as a result, the recruiter will not hear you either. Therefore, when choosing a place, make sure whether it’s not packed with visitors and whether you can ask to turn off the music for a while. Also, make sure there is a reliable internet connection in advance so that your meeting runs smoothly.
2. Visual background check
What will your interviewer see behind your back during the virtual meeting? Kitchen utensils or "creative mess" won't give the impression that you're taking the meeting seriously – after all, you have a business conversation that needs a businesslike attitude. Let it be just a blank wall or window with closed curtains. Many popular video conference programs have settings that allow you to set a virtual background. Choose neutral rather than fantastic views or make your real background blurry so that details are not visible.
3. Play with light
When it comes to lighting, natural light is always better than fluorescent or tungsten lights – those can accentuate skin or body imperfections. Provide frontal illumination that is bright but not glaring, and add some diffused light on the background if possible. This will smooth the contours and create a better picture. Don't sit with your back to the window. The spring sun may warm your back, but the interlocutor will see only a bright light around and a dark spot in the middle.
4. Dress to impress
Since you actually have an official meeting (albeit online), pajamas and other home clothes are unacceptable. You may be tempted to get comfy because it's in the comfort of your own home, but it could send the message that you're not invested in the role. This also applies to pajama pants – you can’t be totally sure that you will only be waist-deep in the frame all the time. What if you need to stand up unexpectedly during a call to take documents or fix the router?
Don't risk it – get a good night's sleep, make your hair, and put on something more solid than a dressing gown. Rocking your ideal attire shows how eager you are for the job.
5. Prepare your technology
Set up your computer so that the camera is close to eye level. If you need to use your phone camera (but better not), place it on the phone stand or at the top of a stack of books. You'll avoid the handshake effect, and the extra height will allow the camera to be positioned at the right angle. If you’re using a laptop or tablet, ensure they are charged to full capacity before the big day. Multiple monitors? Put the one with the camera directly in front of you so that you don't turn around and take your eyes off the interviewer.
Locate a spot with dependable Wi-Fi, reload a router if needed. A good communication headset (headphones with an integrated microphone) can save the day. These tools generally eliminate the external sounds or at least muffle them, while at the same time ensuring that your audio is transmitted cleanly and crisply.
6. Test the software
If you've been away from the popular virtual conferencing programs like Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. for a while, do yourself a favor and double-check them the day before your interview – this way you can fix any issues that may pop up. Not familiar with the platform they'll be using? Take some time to get acquainted prior to your video call instead of wasting valuable minutes during the chat solving technical issues or calling in family members for help.
According to an unspoken rule, the candidate calls the hiring manager of the medtech company at the appointed time, unless otherwise agreed. And this is the case when even a five-minute delay is critical, regardless of whether you are calling or accepting a call. It's in your best interest to be punctual. Most online meeting platforms offer a virtual waiting room function, so there’s no need to try to "arrive" for a meeting strictly on the minute, it is quite normal to enter the waiting room 5 minutes before the start.
7. Basic preparations
Clear away any unnecessary items and set out just what you need to make a great impression during your in-person interview. At a minimum, you will need your resume and job description, as well as a sheet of paper for notes. Make a list of questions that interest you in advance. Collect a “cheat sheet” with information about the health tech company looking for QA experts that may come in handy during a conversation. Keep your phone far away so that there are no earthly distractions like ringing or texts to interrupt your focus.
If you're in a field that demands a portfolio, make sure you have tangible proof of your work ready to send during the chat. Stay organized, remember exactly where those files are located to avoid any delays during the conversation.
8. Maintain eye contact
We all know how important it is to make eye contact with the interviewer during the meeting, but it can be daunting to do so over video call. Your gaze may be instinctively drawn to the person's face, depending on the positioning of the webcam and their face on the monitor - resulting in a side or downward glance. You can avoid this by resizing and moving the "window" with the person's image up, as close to your webcam as possible. These actions will allow you to get closer to real eye contact.
9. Think over your answers
This rule applies to any interview format. You will probably be asked to briefly describe yourself, your last job, what you were responsible for, what you have achieved, your strengths and weaknesses, the reasons for leaving there, your salary expectations and other wishes for work. There are typical questions that are most often asked in interviews, and if you prepare 2-3 minutes’ answers for each of them, you will feel more confident.
10. Control your body movements
Record yourself on video and get a better understanding of what to watch out for during future online interviews. From hair-playing to face-touching, pay particular attention to your hand movements, as they can act as distracting gestures while conversing with someone. Make sure you’re not making any inadvertent mistakes that could take away from the conversation. Get an outside perspective and be one step ahead of the game.
The main piece of advice for anyone going through the video interview is to be yourself. You don't need to think about what the employer expects from you, especially when recording your answers. Your nervous inner monologue is always visible on the video. And most often it becomes one of the reasons for refusal.
Ready to take center stage and ace that QA role video interview? Don't wait for the spotlight to find you. Connect with us at AMG, and we’ll give you the insider tips to turn your performance into an instant hit. So, are you ready to shine? Don’t wait for the credits to roll, your QA dream job is just a conversation away with AMG!