With the rise of startups and remote working culture, video interviews are becoming more common. While they can be easier than in-person interviews because you aren’t exactly in the presence of the person, they are still feared by many.
Last week, I talked about what interviewers are looking for, so I thought writing about tackling the dreaded video interview was the natural course for me to follow. Here are 19 steps that will help you ensure that you have a stress-free video interview or even a client call anytime.
1. Research the Company
Researching the company is the starting point of preparing for an interview, a video interview is no exception. Because you don’t get to have a first impression of the company as you would if it were a physical interview, you need to familiarize yourself with the way it works in addition to the information about the market the company works in.
This gives you the confidence needed because you feel a sense of familiarity with the company and also feel prepared to answer questions in relation to the market and can also ask intelligent questions to the interviewer based on the information.
2. Know Who Your Interviewer Is
When a video interview is scheduled, you will usually be told who your interviewer is. It is a great idea to look them up – read their employee information on the company’s website and go through their LinkedIn page – look at the posts they engage with on LinkedIn.
It will give you an idea of the person behind the name and will help you connect with them on a more personal level because then you can spin your answers in a way that works for them. This in no way means agreeing to things you don’t believe in, this just gives you a way to find things in common that will make your case stronger.
3. Practice Behavorial Questions and Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked interview questions have a way of cropping up even into the most casual of interviews. It is a good idea to have some answers prepared, don’t try to wing it. There’s no need to memorise answers word for word, but having a structure prepared is the best way to answer with confidence.
Companies have started evaluating the person more than their skills because you hire the person hence there are a lot of behavioral questions that the interviewer can ask. Be prepared to talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, what you would do in a difficult situation, how would you react to working in a team, and so on.
4. Choose a Plain and Neutral Background
Position yourself against a plain and neutral background for a professional feel. Choose a quiet place so that you can better hear your interviewer and also focus on the questions and your answers. Avoid going to cafes or public places for your interview unless you know that it isn’t going to be crowded and won’t interfere with your interview.
5. Elevate Your Laptop
Place your laptop at eye level to make it easier for you to look into the camera. Avoid staring down into the camera, place your laptop at a desk. Your laptop should be in your line your vision when you look straight ahead. This helps you have a proper posture and maintain eye contact during the interview.
6. Test Audio and Camera Quality
Test your audio and camera quality beforehand. You don’t want to be testing the audio with the interviewer and connecting and disconnecting again and again. It will stress you out even before the interview begins and also will show a lack of preparedness on your part if your mic doesn’t work and you didn’t check it before.
7. Check the Lighting in the Room
Even if you have the best quality camera, poor lighting will do no justice to it. Make sure you are in a well-lit room so that the interviewer can see you.
8. Dress Professionally
Just because you aren’t meeting the interviewer in person is no reason to not dress professionally. The interviewer can still see you, so make sure you dress professionally. Don’t forget your pants, just in case. Even though they can’t see your bottom half, if you have to get up to get something, it can get awkward, so be prepared to be on the safer side. It will also give you the confidence to get through the call.
9. Close All Other Applications On Your Laptop
You don’t want your laptop’s memory engaged running various apps and the one that matters the most at the moment to start hanging up. Close all the other applications so that your laptop can function smoothly without glitching from being stretched thin by supporting many applications running simultaneously.
10. Put Your Phone on Silent
You don’t want your phone creating a disturbance during your interview. Calls and notifications can be distracting and don’t exactly provide a professional look. Make sure to silence your cell phone and also disable vibration alert because that will divert your attention away from your interview, making you break your chain of thought.
11. Ban Your Family From the Room For the Duration of the Interview
Like putting your phone on silent and not giving video interviews in public places, it is important to let your family know not to disturb you during your interview. You don’t exactly want your kid running in asking for a snack when you are explaining how tactful you are at handling difficult clients or your dog barking and crying for your attention when you are talking about your professionalism.
Make sure to ban your family – kids, pets, and even your spouse from the room for the duration of the interview and also let them know that they are not supposed to make any noise during the interview.
12. Have a Pen and Paper in Reaching Distance
It is important to be prepared. You don’t want to leave the interviewer hanging and staring at an empty screen while you fetch a pen and a paper to note down something they are telling you or to show them something. Try to keep everything you might need within your reaching distance on your desk, around your laptop.
13. Have a Glass of Water Next to You
Have a glass or bottle of water at hand so that you can take a quick sip if your throat feels dry from talking or you feel nervous. Taking small sips during the interview helps keep you talking smoothly and also helps calm your nerves.
14. Have the Phone Number of the Interviewer Ready
Having the phone number of the interviewer at hand is a smart move in case the video connection breaks due to some reason. You can call them up immediately to figure out what the issue is or to finish the interview over the call.
15. Have a Hard Copy of Your CV/Resume Ready
While you can always look at your Resume on your laptop, it is a good idea to have a hard copy at hand if the interviewer wants to discuss something from your resume. This gives you a chance to see what they are talking about exactly and not panic about your answers.
It can sometimes get difficult to recall what you put on your resume exactly when in an interview, so having a hard copy is a big help.
16. Stick Post-its Around the Laptop Screen
Because the interviewer can only see what is in front of the camera, use all the things you can to your advantage. If you are nervous about remembering all the things, then stick post-it notes with prompts and questions you wish to ask your interviewer on your laptop, around the screen.
You can color coordinate them to further simplify them. Stick one color notes on one side with things you want to say, answers to questions, and another color on the other side with questions to ask and doubts to clear. This will help you put yourself out there without fumbling over sentences and trying to remember what to say next. You will also not miss something important that you wanted to let the interviewer know.
17. Speak Into the Camera
When not talking in person, maintaining eye contact can get tricky. We are automatically drawn to the screen and can’t help looking at the interviewer. We forget that looking at the camera will help us make eye contact because that is the focal point of your video screen. Remember to look into the camera when you talk and not on the screen.
Keep the laptop at a considerable distance so that even though you are looking in the camera, the screen is easily visible for you to gauge the non-verbal cues of your interviewer. Keeping the laptop too close will not give you distance enough to take in everything and you will end up switching your gaze between the camera and the screen, which can be taken as fidgeting or nervousness.
18. Practice With a Friend
Like with a traditional interview, practising a proper video interview with a friend or family member will give you the preparation you need. Set up the video interview like you would with your interviewer and tell them to ask you questions. It will also help you get used to talking to the camera and help you practice looking at the camera and not the screen.
19. Send a Thank You Email Within 24 Hours of the Interview
While this isn’t mandatory, it is a good practice to email the interviewer within 24 hours of your interview to thank them for their time and efforts. This helps put you on the radar. If they are interviewing multiple candidates, then it will help you stand out. Showing politeness and gratitude doesn’t hurt.
Having a proper setup will help you go through your interview smoothly without constantly worrying about things. Keeping things you might need within reach is another of the great tips for a stress-free interview. To finish it off, practising is the final touch. These are the three main things in a nutshell that will help you ace any video interview without sweating buckets.
How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map
In today’s times, social media is a life-changing tool for small businesses. The plethora of platforms available at our disposal to use – to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible earlier – offers huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of cost.
The key, however, is targetting the right audience and then coming up with resourceful ideas to pull them in. This is where influencer marketing comes in. Influencers are people who have a community of people following them with same interests.
“Influencers are people. People (or maybe personas) with a brand and an audience. What makes them attractive to advertisers is their ability to speak to a very defined group of fans. The way the ecosystem is maturing looks a lot like the internet in the early days.”
You don’t have to go out there to look for individuals with same interests, you can look for influencers that work with your field and have millions of potential customers ready for you to convert into leads.
This practice has made marketing so much more lucrative and easier. You will be a fool to not use social media to its full potential when it comes to affluential marketing. The success of a good social media marketing campaign is in its ability to reach out to the audience and engage with them, rather than to sell stuff.
Simply running your social media accounts on autopilot or pushing content only to put your products out through Twitter, Facebook or other social media accounts to a huge number of fake followers is simply not the right way to do it.
This is when you can use influencers to do the work for you. Though it’s kind of a new landscape for a substantially large number of people even in the marketing industry, influencer marketing has been around for quite a long time. What people don’t realize is that they exist and function within a nuclear testing ground of marketing strategies and yet, for the most part, is unaffected by it.
Influencer marketing was a concept spawned out of this idea – It’s not what is being said that’s important, it’s WHO says it that makes it count.
What is an Influencer
In essence, brand marketers “inspire” or reward strategic “influencers” to get the sales pitch out to the target customer base instead of doing it themselves directly. Influencers are basically entities (people or enterprises) who have a definite large number of followers who appreciate the content put out by the influencer.
This credibility is built over years of research, building networks, and regular engagement with authoritative figures. This is largely evidenced through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Over time, the influencers garner a fan base. This fan base could also be supporting an idea or philosophy that the Influencer represents through his actions or body of work, such as published articles online, political/non-political campaigns, video content, podcasts, or other multimedia content.
Corporate marketing personnel utilize social media and content marketing to drive the message across to a target audience. Influencers are expected to spread these specially crafted content through their personal social media channels and blogs.
In some scenarios, the content is created by brand marketers. But most of the time, influencers create their own customized content.
So how exactly does this all work out?
“Influencer marketing is the first real consumer-driven marketing channel. It’s real people talking to real people. If you look back, consumers have really only had a voice for about the last 10 years. As that happened, people started to talk about things they were passionate about, building audiences and providing real valuable content to people.”
In today’s setting, an influencer can work by reaching out to your target audience and persuading them to pay attention to your business through the following techniques:
- Writing blogs about your business, reviewing products and services.
- Posting information or updates about your products and services through social media accounts.
- YouTube review videos on products and services.
- They can provide you permission to guest post on their portals, which is subscribed to by your target audience.
Influencers can do any one of the above or any combination of the above to help your business brand make an impact on your target audience.
But how exactly do you set this in motion?
Influencing the Influencer
One thing to keep in mind is that influencers are running a business themselves. They are not going to be helping you just for the sake of it unless you have a pre-existing relationship with them. Make sure to research the market value for the niche and approach the influencer with a proposal based on their influence and work. Making use of influencers essentially translates to the two following scenarios:
You will need to cultivate relationships with some of these major influencers so they end up subscribing to your blog and/or start following you on your social media channels. To make this happen, your existing content needs to be relevant to their content and needs to have solid verifiable credibility. If these influencers link to your content from their sites or share it on their social network channels, you have scored major points for your business.
You get in touch with influencers directly and persuade them to publish your content on their personal social media platforms, thereby getting an audience of their followers. Of course, for that to work, again you need to have established credibility in the first place. In this scenario, you score points as soon as your content gets published on their platforms.
Your interactions with influencers need to be based on genuine rapport and common interests. You have to prove that you are happy and capable to add value to whatever enterprise or campaign your influencers may be running. You have to show that you have a genuine interest in developing a favorable network while facilitating authors of quality content to gain exposure online.
With the influx in the influencer marketing business, it is smart to invest in people who can bring you targeted leads. You have to be thorough in your research because it is a numbers game, some influencers are not above using fake followers to show a big number to you. Along with their following, be sure to check their engagement activity – the huge number of followers isn’t going to be buying your products but the people taking the time to engage probably are.
“Any influencer can get a ‘one-night stand’. Trusted social influencers leverage data and help the brand define success to get a call back the next day.”
7 Steps to Make Your Dreams See the Light of the Day
Every person who has ever thought of starting a start-up and hasn’t seen it through has started with an idea and somewhere along the line stopped at the idea. What makes a business idea work is the persistence to see that idea be converted into a sellable product.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
It takes time and hard work to bring an idea to fruition. Growing a business will need more work than a job ever would, which many people transitioning do not realize. You will need to sacrifice more than you bothered to consider, you will have to work more hours, you will lose sleep, but in the end, it will be all worth it.
If you plan everything properly and keep your vision set on the goal, it becomes easier. Keep moving forward and keep taking baby steps. Here are a few things you can do to finally make your dreams see the light of the day without you feeling overwhelmed and ditching your ideas before they even take their first breath.
1. Document Everything
Whenever an idea strikes, putting it all on paper is the best way to go. Having everything laid out will give you a clear idea as to what is needed to make that idea become a reality. You will get to see all the pre-requisites right in front of you and it will give you a pretty good clue of the amount of effort you will need to put in.
“Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is better than nothing.”
You will not be moving forward with an unrealistic approach toward the project. Making a mission statement or writing down your vision in a document and keeping on visiting it from time to time will help you stay true to your dream. Whenever you feel like you are losing track of things, you can revisit this document to remind yourself what your goal was.
2. Research Your Idea
Once you know what all you are going to need or want to get to the starting point of the action sequence, to get the ball rolling, pull all stops to gather information. Information gathering is a crucial phase of any project.
A preliminary check on your target market, manufacturing and distribution costs, comparing the costs of similar products, studying the demand, etc. is a no-brainer. This is important to know that there is a profit to be made before you invest a great deal of time and money developing your dream into reality.
3. Find a Mentor
Now you have an idea and you have spent considerable time researching the market and the product, but you don’t know where to go from there. If it is a field that is completely foreign to you then the hurdles are at every corner and even if you are quite familiar with the technicalities of the field, the experiences of someone can give you invaluable insight.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”
-John C. Maxwell
Find a mentor who can help you guide through the process, someone who has been there and done that, or someone who has bright ideas as to how you can proceed and can provide you with a logical argument to whatever you have at your disposal.
4. Design a Prototype/Working Model
Having a real-life example of how your product is going to work or how it is going to be received in the market makes you ready to deal with the real deal before it even becomes a reality.
It also helps you make a more informed pitch to your investors. Having everything ready to be explained and showing how much thought and research has been put into every decision is a great way to show investors how serious you are. It also helps you discover all the flaws or kinks before your idea can be patented or the production can be started.
5. Find the Right Investors
If you do not have the capital to invest, chances are you don’t, then you will have to find an investor who believes in your vision and is willing to invest in it. This is where thorough research and having adequate documentation comes in.
Knowing the market of your product inside out will help you sell your idea to investors. Finding the right investor is important because when both the parties are on board with the idea and have the same vision, working becomes that much easier and there are fewer decision clashes.
6. Marketing and Distribution
Marketing is when you create a business plan and figure out how you would bring your product to the market. It includes decisions like whether you want to manufacture and sell the product all by yourself or you want to license another company for sale.
Distribution channels need to be figured out. Comparisons need to be made to decide what option will help you make the most profit and what fits in with the vision of your product, of your company.
7. Marketing Channels and Advertising
You might have a great product but if people don’t know it exists then there is no point of it existing. You have to put your product out there for people to discover it and try it. You have to figure out what channels are the best for the product you are planning to launch.
“Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.”
Learn about the tools at your disposal. Use social media to create a brand presence and to generate leads. Social media channels are also great to track customer feedback and get suggestions. It helps you make a direct connection with the customers and reach out to potential customers.
Having an idea is just not enough if you want to see your dream turn into reality. Steps are meant to be taken not stared at. No matter how good your idea is, if you don’t do anything about it, it is as good as not existing.
If it feels overwhelming, take one thing at a time. Go through the process one step at a time. Focus on developing your idea, then focus on researching – not everyone can multitask and manage different phases of the process together. It is okay to work a phase in isolation – as long as you don’t stop working toward your goal, it is okay to go as slow as you like.
How to Make the Most Out of Different Social Media Channels
Social media is a powerful tool that we have at our disposal to use it to benefit us and our businesses in ways that didn’t seem possible earlier. It has made marketing so much more lucrative and easier.
While I am an advocate of reducing the number of hours we spend on it as individuals, I strongly believe that they should be used to their full potential when it comes to businesses.
For small businesses, the social media platform offers huge opportunity to engage with a community of prospects at a fraction of cost. The key, however, is picking topics that matter the most to your target audience and then coming up with resourceful ideas to pull them in.
Solicit opinions, ask questions, and appreciate helpful comments- everything is important. The success of a good social media marketing campaign is in its ability to reach out to the audience and engage with them, rather than to sell stuff.
Simply running your social media accounts on autopilot or pushing flowery or sales-y content through Twitter, Facebook or other social media accounts to a huge number of fake followers is simply not the right way to do it.
1. Say Yes to Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are a great way for your marketing team to connect personally with any community. These chats allow small businesses to exhibit their human side and forge new relationships with their community.
So, whether joining or hosting a Twitter chat, remember the possibilities to build loyalty and enhance engagement are endless as long as you contribute to conversations with helpful advice and tips.
Keep an eye on trends related to your business, and tag your followers with unique hashtags so every tweet you post goes through their feed. It’s time to get chatty.
2. Embrace Instagram and/or Pinterest if Not Already
It is a wonderful platform for small business mainly because it allows marketing teams to visually build a brand and create awareness about the business. The beauty of Instagram is that your followers can quickly and effectively consume whatever you are publishing without having to invest time.
If you are a small business that wants to take the time to understand the pulse of the market, you can gain huge exposure for free on Instagram or Pinterest, which is why they are both an impressive means to build your brand online.
3. Network Online, Offline, Wherever Possible
It is a no brainer that networking is a pretty good way to build relationships that can lead to valuable partnerships, new business opportunities, fresh talent and the latest updates on almost anything that you are tracking.
Hosting a community event or presenting ideas in a workshop is a spectacular idea to gain credibility instantly, and urge people to take a closer look at your business.
If you are a small business owner looking to get different segments of your target audience together, look at online tools like Meetup that can drive a great number of people to your event.
4. Give Podcasts a Whirl
Podcasts are just the right thing for small businesses looking to dig in and find an appealing niche. Even though they have been around for a very long period of time, they have become a fad just recently.
Over the years, they have gained the approval of a number of marketing coaches and are still ripe with opportunity to enhance customer engagement and brand awareness.
5. Host an AMA
Using Reddit as a medium to promote content or your small business can cause a sharp spike in traffic in as short a period as two hours or so – or as long as a day when done appropriately.
One of the effective and trendy ways to gain exposure through Reddit is to host an Ask Me Anything event, also known as AMA. It is another great way to go about marketing your small business online.
As the face of your business, there are a few things to be wary of.
- Make sure you are ready to spend a few hours answering the majority of questions you are asked if not all. Just so you know, some AMAs really get flooded with tons of questions.
- Be as honest and open with your questions as possible, and your followers will appreciate it.
- Do not go overboard promoting your small business. Drop a link to your website in the post (description), and refrain from including it in every answer you post.
- While it may seem a little easy to post details of your AMA in the main AMA subreddit itself, it is recommended that you narrow down to the niche and find a relevant subreddit in your industry. All designers can use /r/design. Similarly, writers can try this out:/r/writing.
- Get in touch with the moderator of the subreddit about the day and time you will be getting on with your AMA so they can plan things out and get the message through to the audience
While I have talked about the importance of knowing ways to stay away from social media to increase your productivity, I still acknowledge the fact that it is an essential tool in building a business. We have so many amazing channels available to us to reach out to the customers and making the best use of these channels to cultivate a loyal customer base directly correlates to the success of the business moving forward.
Understanding your customer base and attracting the right customer base is important to start a business and keep it running. Social media provides valuable feedback from real users and also helps you lead your target audience back to your products. It helps your business make a one-on-one connection that has a huge impact on the overall standing a brand has in the market.
Don’t hesitate from putting efforts into learning these channels, try to build a genuine audience and business will follow.
How Influencer Marketing Helps You Put Your Business on the Map
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