Congrats, you’ve managed to get an interview in this toilet-bowl of a time.
You have my sincerest wishes of luck (the good kind) and now have to deal with the fact that it's been a year or two since you’ve done an interview. Before, you were doing perfectly well in a hospitality gig when the government decided that your workplace was ‘non-essential’ despite it providing jobs for 100s of employees and a place for people to celebrate milestones, from birth to death and beyond.
Here’s some common sense for when you just need to know what to do, cause we all know that half the fun of working hospo is that you don’t have to use your brains all that much when the rush comes on.
1. The Bottom Half - Please Wear Pants
I know, I know. This may be stating the obvious, and then again, this may not be. Studies show (no studies have actually been conducted by me) that when videoconferencing takes effect in a workplace, 9/10 participants think that their bottom half will not be on display due to the placement of the camera and the fact that it cuts off typically at the bottom of the ribs. This is a dangerous choice to make, as often times, participants may have to reach or get up from their seat to get a document or a drink (only have water during the interview please), thus exposing their bottom half to the camera shot.
Don’t be the idiot that shows pyjama pants, or worse, no pants at all, during an interview. If you were at an in-person interview, would trakkie daks be acceptable? Most likely not. Wear actual bottoms- this does not include leggings or yoga pants. If you are wearing a dress/skirt for your interview, please be aware of the camera angle to avoid the upskirt shot.
I will allow you to wear Uggs or bunny slippers if you feel like being particularly rebellious and/or comfortable. Unless your camera has way more range than expected, no one is going to see your feet.
Pro Tip: No one’s looking at your socks, wear fuzzy ones.
2. The Top Half - Not a T-shirt
Odds are, you’re more likely to properly dress your top half than the bottom, so go with your lucky interview top or collared shirt. I’m hoping you know how to dress yourself, but don’t forget a tie if it’s an office job, or if you’re feeling extra fancy.
Don’t be that person wearing a cropped shirt, please see the reasons listed relating to the wearing of pants.
I would recommend that you have a shower well before your scheduled interview- 2 hours prior. In this shower, although you don’t have to expose your future employer to your terrible B.O. just yet, please focus on your hair and face(s). Not only does clean hair look better on camera, but its also scientifically proven (even though I have no sources) to make you feel better and more confident. Wash your face as well to get that pizza sauce off your cheek from when you fell asleep eating it, and to remove that milk moustache. We all know you like Baileys, but you shouldn’t be broadcasting that to your future employer, unless you’re interviewing for Baileys- (Baileys, please hmu as a product tester.)
Make sure to dry your hair and style it in a simple ‘do prior to your interview. I can recommend for longer hair a ponytail, plait/braid or bun, and for shorter hair that you get out that hair wax and make 2015 Connor Franta proud.
Pro Tip: Don’t put so much product in your hair that you look like Old Mate Snape.
3. Dress Your Space - The Importance of Staging
First Step: Pick your space.
Consider having natural light, as this lights you up the easiest and best (I’m not talking about direct sunlight blinding you through the window). Pick a spot that has a semi interesting background (a bookcase or shelf) and try to avoid personal photos as your private life is not the one being considered- your work life is. Try to avoid choosing to do an interview on your bed. Apart from the fact that the bed is where you sleep at night and should be a safe space for you that is away from work and responsibilities, if you shift your sitting position ever so slightly on your bed, your laptop/phone will move as well, showing that you didn’t listen to the first section of this article and now your pyjama pants are showing. Also, the only place a pillow should be in your interview is on your chair, underneath your butt, and out of view of the camera. Please consider NOT picking a communal space to have your interview, like a living room or a background that ends up looking down a hallway. The odds are not in your favour of having an event free interview. Someone will most likely walk by and distract you or provide distraction for your interviewers. A communal space is also a large space for you to have as your background, and although you will be commanding attention, so will the space that you’ve selected, and a communal space is a heck of a lot harder to compete with than your home office or nook you’ve selected and are going to prepare. Pro Tip: Secluded cabins in the woods offer little to no rush hour traffic noises.
Second Step: Prepare your space.
No one (including your friends) wants you to dial into a video interview and show everyone that you’re a slob and have eaten your way through five boxes of Roses because a Tinder date didn’t want to meet you in person during this most recent apocalypse. Now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor and found your bookshelf is a good background showing you are a learned and varied individual, you need to neaten it up. Take off those double stacked extra books, and put them to the side of your messy room. Take off all the shelf clutter like notebooks, beer stubbies, Toblerone bars and spare Libra Pads. I’m talking about having the neatly shelved books seen and the shelf clutter GONE! You may now pick a few items to place back there. This may be a mug with your university/education provider or something non-offensive (Not the BAH-HUM-MUG you got from your aunt for Christmas), a candle, a pencil holder filled with various writing implements to show you are organised and prepared, and ONE item of a personal nature (fandom related knick knack or a model airplane) to show that you are human and have interests outside of being the best goddamn professional worker you can be. My personal tip would be to do a dry run of your interview with a friend and mark with post-its where the camera ends. Mark the position your laptop and phone will be in for your interview. Work out that the chair you selected for your interview is too short or your camera angle is terrible with someone who can provide feedback and social connection. Pro Tip: Ditch the Bugs Bunny curtains.
Third Step: Camera shot.
Just how we as a generation have worked out that selfies are best taken from above, and that lighting is important, don’t make your camera angle look up to you. No one wants to see up your nostrils, same as you don’t want to see up anyone else’s.
Try for a level mid-shot, or a shot that is a fraction higher angle than a mid-shot. It gives you the chance to show that you know how to look professional, and that you put thought into this interview, and that your nose holes are not for display.
If your natural light is not strong enough, please try some tricks such as angling a desk light away from you, opening a curtain or replacing a yellow bulb with a white one.
Pro Tip: Don’t wear sunnies and upon being asked ‘why?’ answer “Cause my future’s so bright I gotta wear shades”
4. Ad-dress your current co-workers (cats, kin, and kids)
Please make it known to your family/flatmate/friend that’s living with you cause the state borders are closing, that you have a job interview at ‘X o’clock’. Explain to them how much you would appreciate having no distractions and require them to have quiet play or silent study during that time. Having a job benefits everyone, and unless the house is literally burning down, no one is to interact with you while the interview is being done. If you have a pet, please feed them before your interview, and close the door to your interview space. The cat and dog think differently than we do and may not understand you telling them “I need you not to meow or woof or jump on my laptop between the hours of 11:30 and 12:30”. Then again you might have a fish, so no worries there. Perhaps the job interview is the perfect time for your family or friends to go for a long walk (remember 1.5 metres apart) and just avoid the problem of unexpected noise or crying at home altogether. If you think you won’t be affected by your family during your interview, remember the infamous video interview from 2017 (see here)