Chef Job interviews used to be straightforward, it was all about time and place. Well Chef Job interviews are still about times and places, as are all job interviews, it’s only that the variety of places has now swollen to include the telephone and online video interviews. If you’ve an online interview in the pipeline the following is for you. However to avoid repeating ourselves we’re going to confine our advice to considerations specific to the online interview. By this we mean you should first check out our general chef job interview advice and once you’re through there it would be a good idea to check out what we have to say about chef job phone interviews too. There’s very little in the following piece which obviates anything in those articles and plenty in those articles which apply equally to job interviews conducted online via video.
Photo by Aksa2011
Online Chef Job Interviews
Rather than focus on any specific online job interview technology we’re concerned here with giving you, the chef, some best practice in how to handle online job interviews. There are some pitfalls specific to online interviewing you’ll want to be aware of and some solutions as to how to avoid or ameliorate them; you’ll want to know these too. But first, why is this a concern of yours anyway, and why now?
Why The Online Interview?
Companies with an eye on the bottom line know they can save time and money by screening job candidates online. An online interview is the closest substitute to having a candidate present in the room, it’s cheap, even free, and allows both candidate and interviewer to be anywhere. This means the only fixed nonnegotiable is interview time. Eliminated is the need for either candidate or interviewer to be restricted to the one place. This liberates both parties and creates efficiencies which only a few years ago were the stuff of science fiction. In a world of open labour markets this also facilitates the employer in making more “adventurous” hires than heretofore. While video interviews are more common in industries like tech and digital media they’re beginning to make their way into hospitality and catering and you should be ready for them, because if you aren’t somebody else will be.
Can You Hear Me? Can You See Me?
First things first and the first thing is to make sure that your “rig” is in good shape. By that we mean that everything necessary for the online interview to take place is working properly on your end. So make sure you’ve got a good connection, especially if you’re connected to the internet wirelessly. Make sure that you’ve no other processes running on your computer, so no concurrent downloads or streaming, no zipping or unzipping etc. In fact unless you’re running a very powerful computer shut down everything not needed for the interview, even if you have a very powerful computer shut down everything else anyway, it can wait till after the interview.
If it’s at all possible do a dry run. If, for example, you have a Skype account then try to hook up with a friend on Skype and get their feedback on how you look and sound. Now’s the time to find out if you have any problems and to put them right. The important thing is to check that your internet connection, and computer, are transmitting and receiving good quality video, so even if you can’t check out the specific service the interview will be conducted on (they don’t always happen on Skype) at least you’ll know that you’re capable of handling the signal.
If they didn’t then this online chef job interview would be happening over the phone and not via your webcam. In a regular face to face job interview the only appearance you had to take care of was your own, not so in an online job interview. Here both you and your surroundings count, and aesthetics aside, there are several other things you’ll need to bear in mind, we’ll deal with both.
Take care with the setting you broadcast from, it should be neat and tidy, that probably rules out your bedroom. In fact even if your bedroom is neat and tidy don’t use it unless you can avoid appearing as if you are in a bedroom. The other aspect of your environment you need to control is sound. So if you have dogs, young children or appliances likely to make noise now isn’t a good time, make arrangements to ensure you have peace and quiet. Those are the basic elements of ensuring that the setting for the interview is right. Now you need to make sure that there’s no bright light, natural or artificial, behind you. If there is it will only darken your face, which you don’t want.
We’ve covered the importance of paying attention to your appearance in our general interview tips section and even, believe it or not, in our phone interview tips section and it’s every bit as important here too, in someways more so. Certainly there’s a couple of things you’ll need to take into account, which normally aren’t of the least concern, and are specific to how video cameras handle colour and patterns. In short avoid wearing a patterned shirt or, for that matter, a white one. The former will cause distracting visual artifacts and the former draws more attention that you’ll want. We tend to notice white spots to a disproportionate degree on screen, you’ll want your interviewer paying attention to your face and not your shirt. Those considerations aside revert to our general interview tips section for more on attire.
On Camera Behaviour
Again different rules apply here than in the off camera world. If you’ve done as we suggested and conducted a dry run with a friend you may have noticed a couple already and have decided how best to correct them. For those of you yet to test out your on camera appearance this is for you.
First on your list is “framing.” You’ll want to avoid sitting flush to the screen with a plain white wall as a backdrop, unless you want your interviewer to imagine you in a police lineup or mugshot. Angle your knees to one side of the screen and turn your head back, slightly, to look at the camera. Make sure that you’re sitting tall in your chair, good body language is as important here as anywhere else. Be sure to check that you’re visible to the first three buttons of your shirt upwards, or at least where the first three buttons would be if they weren’t hidden by a nice tie. This ensures a good consistent head and shoulders frame, you don’t want to be a floating head.
Avoid bobbing about in your chair and certainly don’t lean forward too far without good reason. Off camera leaning forward might appear entirely innocuous, sometimes it communicates engagement, but that’s not how it comes across on screen. Worse than appearing to be overly assertive it can, if you’re particularly careless, give your interviewer a fisheye view of any nasal hair.
When your interviewer is talking it’s fine to look at the screen but remember when you’re talking to look mostly at the camera. That’s the video interview equivalent of good eye contact. Remember when you’re not looking at the camera you’ll be perceived as not looking your interviewer in the eye. You don’t need to overdo this but keep it in mind, good, but not constant, eye contact is what you’re looking for here.
Now you just need to remember that you’re in an interview like any other you’ve ever done. So make sure you’ve got your normal preparation done, researched the job and make sure to have a copy of your CV to hand. Best of luck.
To learn more about TOPCHEFS and to obtain full and up-to-date information on the wide choice of jobs – whether in Galway or anywhere else – we have on offer call us on (01) 633 4053. In the business of managing your career, it’s the only number you’ll ever need.