Video interviews have become a popular choice for employers as they seek new, fast ways to assess candidates, certainly in the early interview stages. For professional roles within industries such as Finance, Marketing and HR, shortlisted candidates will often progress to a face-to-face interview further down the line but first, you need to impress via camera.
We have a lot of experience in preparing candidates for video interviews and often, the best advice is simply to think of it as a normal, face-to-face interview but there are a few more ways to ensure you look cool, calm and collected on camera.
Know how to use the technology
Stumbling (albeit virtually) into an interview room, late and flustered is not a great start. Not just because of the impression it gives but also because it can take quite a while for you to calm down and refocus. If anything is going to be tricky it will be technology so don’t skip this step.
You will usually be sent a link via email to join the video interview at your allotted time. Depending on which programme the employer is using you may need to download some software such as Skype, Microsoft teams or Zoom. If the information has not been provided, make contact to request it in plenty of time.
Practice using the video function on your computer or mobile device and test the sound level on the microphone to see how much it picks up; for example, clear speech, cars outside or shuffling in your seat.
If you’re doing the interview at a company’s office much of the technology prep will be done for you but don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
Dress to impress
It can be tempting to dress more casually for a video interview, but every sense this is just like a normal interview and so your clothing should be what you would wear to a face-to-face interview.
Dressed smartly, you will not only look professional but more importantly, you will feel more confident too.
Be aware of your surroundings
When choosing where you will sit for your video interview, it is important to think about noise and if you will be disturbed. Will anyone be walking around you in view of the camera? Will your dog be barking at the postman?
Also need to consider what else the camera will pick up - are there paintings or posters in the background? DVDs and books? A cluttered table? Ideally, find a naturally lit spot in front of a plain wall in a quiet, private room.
Think about your body language
We often behave differently when the record button is pressed but it is important that you try to behave naturally, just as you would in a normal interview.
- Position your computer or mobile device so that your head is positioned in the middle of the screen. Being too far above or below the lens can look strange
- It is important that you don’t slouch, so sit at a table or on a stool not on a sofa.
- Don’t take notes on your keyboard, this can be quite noisy for others on the call. Use a pen and paper.
- Be natural, use expressive gestures as you normally would and avert your gaze occasionally.
- It can be tempting to look at the screen to see the faces of others on the call but be sure to look at the centre of the lens when you are answering questions to simulate eye contact.
- Have a practice run to pick up on anything you do physically that you might not have noticed before.
Don’t script every word
If you’re at home, it can be tempting to plan all your responses in detail and have them written down out of view of the lens. But over-scripted answers are difficult to camouflage and can prevent you from showing off your charm and charisma.
The interviewer wants to see your personality, how you think and how you react to challenges. They already know your experience from your CV so give yourself the chance to be spontaneous.
Preparing for an interview of any sort can be daunting but we have a lot of experience in preparing candidates for interviews so get in touch if you’d like to learn more.