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Acing your next video interview

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author: Adele Blaikie

​Video job interviews are fast becoming a significant part of the hiring process. Originally a pivot due to the current global situation, we’re confident that they will become a permanent part of our new>normal.

Initially, it felt a little unnatural, but the benefits are fast becoming clear. Businesses – and candidates – are saving both time and money - but it is also giving interviewers a chance to filter through more candidates, evaluating them based on their abilities, not just their CV.

So, as the job market is becoming more and more competitive, it’s crucial to be able to adapt to change when looking for a new job.

Location, Location, Location (and technology)

You might have heard that expression in the past, but, the real estate market aside, picking the right interview location, and having the right equipment, can make or break the interview.

The room

Interviews are stressful. Choosing a quiet, private place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises will make you more comfortable and focused.

To further improve the quality of your video, find a well-lit spot and use a neutral background that’s free from distractions. That way, it’s all about you.

The technology

Choose appropriate technology and test it a day before and on the day of your interview to avoid surprises. The interviewer will likely determine what technology you require, and with so many out there, it may not be one that you’ve used before.

Here’s what you need to check before logging in and starting the interview:

  • Make sure that you have a good internet connection (it’s maybe worth asking the family to turn off their video games or streaming platforms for the duration of your interview).

  • Try and use a computer or a laptop with a webcam. If this isn’t possible, don’t worry, try and source a webcam. Or, as a final resort, prop your phone onto something, so you’re not looking down or having to hold the camera.

  • Use headphones with a built-in microphone to help you to minimise any external noise.

  • To avoid interrupting conversation or slowing down the internet connection, close other apps and tabs, and set your phone on silent before you begin.

With technology, there is always a possibility that something will go wrong. Here are some tips for when the unexpected happens:

  • If you test your hardware and decide that it will not be suitable, ask your friend or a family member to lend you the equipment.

  • If you are worried that your audio or video will stop working, ask the interviewer for a contact number before you start your interview. That will give you another means of contact should you experience any technical difficulties.

  • If noise interrupts your conversation apologise and ask for a few moments. You can mute your microphone until the noise has subsided.

Interview types

There are two types of video interview - live and pre-recorded video. In the live interview, you will be connected with an interviewer, probably over video conferencing technology such as Teams, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. Whatever the platform, make sure that you can easily access it and that your username is professional.

With the pre-recorded video interview, instead of engaging in a conversation with an interviewer, you will be required to follow the employer’s instructions and record your answers. The employer will review this at a later date. Even though this format may feel unnatural to some people, it often allows you to record your answers more than once. The trick is to act like you’re having a live conversation and make use of all your prepared answers.

Dress code

No matter the interview set up, you should always dress professionally. If you are not sure what to wear, researching the company and the current employees will give you an idea of what is appropriate.

Try to choose neutral, soft colours avoiding strong patterns and bright colours, for example, avoid anything with a stripe, as it can often be very distracting and fuzzy on camera.

Despite the interviewer only seeing your upper half, we’d recommended ditching the pyjama bottoms for something a little more professional – just in case you need to get up. It will also help you get your mind into your professional mode. *Professional mode on*

Body language

One of the most important elements of good body language is eye contact. Try to convey the same level of connection during your video interview as you would in person. You can do that by directing your gaze at the webcam when you speak and only look at the screen when the interviewer is speaking.

When you’re listening, make sure you are nodding and smiling, but also try and make humming noises while you do so. That will show the interviewer that you’re giving them your full attention but avoid accidentally cutting out their sound by making noise.

Try to maintain a good posture throughout the interview, sit in your chair with your back straight and shoulders open. Remember to keep an upbeat mood and convey optimism with your body language.

Practice makes perfect

Practice can make all the difference in your interviews. Before your meeting, get used to the video set up. Schedule trial interviews with your friends and family and practice until you feel natural in that setting and ask them for their honest feedback. Then practice some more.

Your interview checklist

  • Choose your location

  • Make sure you won’t be interrupted (communicate when and where your interview will take place, put a note up on the door)

  • Clear you space leaving only a notepad, copy of your CV, any relevant notes and a pen

  • Test your webcam and microphone

  • Close other unnecessary tabs and windows on your computer

  • Check your internet connection

  • Set your phone to silent

  • Check the background behind you and the room set up

  • Check the lighting in the room.

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