Going Virtual: Smashing your first video interview

If you’ve just been invited to a video interview but you’ve never had one before, you might be feeling a little daunted right now. But you might want to start getting used to them- because it’s unlikely that this will be a one-off.

With the current coronavirus pandemic forcing many organisations to start working from home to prioritise the health of their employees, in-person interviews may not be a viable option for the foreseeable future. Video interviews, however, can help to bridge this gap and enable companies to continue finding the best candidates out there, even during these uncertain times.

While they might be an ideal resource for this current crisis, video interviews aren’t a new phenomenon. Many companies and recruiters alike have been utilising real-time video technology for years, whether to help narrow down candidates for a role or to interview candidates from overseas. With video call technology only continuing to become more reliable and convenient, there’s a strong possibility that job seekers, such as yourself, will see an uptick in the number of employers using video interviews in their hiring process.

So, if you’re a total novice in the world of video interviews, there’s no time like the present to get yourself clued up. To help you, here are our top tips for how to navigate your first video interview successfully.

Always test your tech

Regardless of which role you’re being interviewed for, being tech-savvy is a highly sought after skill that many employers will be looking for from their prospective employees. However, if you spend a large portion of your video interview messing around with the lighting, audio or the position of your webcam, this could lead the interviewer to question whether you’re actually as skilled in technology as you say you are.

This is why it’s so crucial to test all of your technology in advance. Your biggest priorities should be checking your Wi-Fi connection because the last thing you want is to find out that you don't have access to the internet just as your interview is about to start. You also need to confirm that your camera and microphone are working too. Doing this in advance will give you the opportunity to source replacements should you find that you hear an echo or that the picture is too grainy. You’ll also need to make sure your laptop battery is fully charged on the day of your interview.

If you haven’t already, you should also download the specific video interview program the interviewer has asked you to use, such Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom, and do a test run as soon as possible to make sure you're comfortable with how to use it ahead of your interview.

Think carefully about your surroundings

As an extension of testing your technology, you should also consider where in your home will be the best place to take your video interview. Ideally, you want a space with plenty of natural light and with a blank wall that can act as a backdrop. If you don’t have a blank wall available to sit in front of, make sure that the room you’re in looks as neat and tidy as possible. It will be difficult for you to convince your interviewer that you’re organised with a keen eye for detail if they can see a disordered room behind you.

Just before your interview, make sure your room of choice is as quiet as possible and remove all distractions. So, turn off your phone, email notifications and the TV, tell your family or housemates to be quiet and close any windows to reduce noise from outside.

Never Google your responses

The internet is a marvellous thing that can give the answer to practically any question you can think of. However, even though the internet will only be one short click away during your video interview, you should refrain from using it at all costs- unless instructed to by your interviewer. If the interviewer can see that you’re typing every time they ask a question, it won’t take them long to work out what you’re doing. This will give the impression that you’re underprepared and uncertain of how to respond to their questioning – which is not the first impression you want to give.

To show that you’re focused and ready for any question that’s thrown at you, print out your CV so you have it to hand and won't forget any relevant achievements or responsibilities you want to talk about. You can also use Post-it notes to jot down facts, questions you’d like to ask or figures that relate to the company or the role for easy reference. You can stick these around your computer- but make sure they’re out of shot of your webcam.

Don’t forget about body language

Just because you might not be in the same room as your interviewer, doesn’t mean that you can relax your body language during your video interview. Too much slouching in front of the screen or fidgeting in your seat will only be a distraction for the interviewer, whilst also making them think you’re not serious about working for the company. So, if you want to exude confidence, remember to sit up straight and stay as still as possible throughout.

Also, did you know that, according to recent studies, employers are more likely to remember your response to a question if you maintain eye contact? So, to create the illusion of eye-contact, position your camera at eye-level and look at it every time you answer a question, rather than looking at the image of the interviewer on your screen.

Dress like a pro

Quite an obvious tips but an important one nevertheless. For your video interview, you should be dressing exactly as you would for an in-person interview and that means from head to toe. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away with wearing your favourite jogging bottoms with a smart shirt or top just because your interviewer can only see you from the waist up. While you may be more comfortable, it won’t make you feel like the confident professional you’re trying to portray.

When choosing your video interview attire, try to steer clear of any brightly coloured or patterned clothing that could be a distraction to the interviewer. Also, try to avoid wearing any ‘noisy’ jewellery that clangs together. Trust us, your interviewer won’t want to hear that coming through their speakers every time you move. During your tech test run, you should also try out your proposed outfit to see what it looks like on-screen- just in case you need to come up with a backup option.

Always log-on early

To help reduce any feelings of stress or anxiety that you might be feeling ahead of your video interview, it can be beneficial to log on early to the app or program the employer or interviewer has asked you to use. Logging on mere moments before your interview begins could mean you enter the call feeling flustered and stressed, which could lead you to say the wrong thing. 

Just like an in-person interview, punctuality matters and this key piece of interview etiquette still applies when you’re having a video interview. So rather than leaving it to the last second, log on at least 10 minutes before and give yourself some time to become calm and collected before the interviewer arrives.

The goal of a video interview is exactly the same as an in-person interview; you want to leave a lasting impression on the person who is interviewing you. With the help of these videos interview tips, achieving this shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Share this:

26th March

Career Advice