How to prepare for your video interview
The popularity of video interviews has increased in recent years, but with restrictions put in place due to the Coronavirus, video has become the easiest and most popular way to conduct job interviews. Whether you’ve had no experience or lots of experience with video interviews, we thought it an important time to provide advice on how to make the best impression via video.
Some of the questions we receive from candidates are:
- What should I wear?
Candidates should not scale down their level of presentation for a video interview. We recommend maintaining the same level of dress and presentation that you would adopt for a face-to-face interview. As the saying goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and this is no different with a video interview. For more detail, view our article ‘How to dress for job interviews’, available on our website.
- What equipment will I need? You will need a computer or laptop enabled with a webcam. If you don’t have a computer, you can also use a smart phone or tablet on a stand. You will also need video software such as Skype, FaceTime or Zoom etc. Ask your interviewer what software they will be using before the interview.
- Where should I conduct the interview? We suggest taking the interview in a quiet room with lots of natural light and a neutral background if possible. If you don’t have a neutral background, make sure that things are tidy behind you. Where possible ensure the light hits your face from the front rather than from behind, otherwise you may look like you are in the dark. Phones seem to manage this much better and some laptops automatically adjust for light/darkness, but others don’t. Use the camera on your device to conduct a practice run at the time of day of your interview if possible, to see how you look.
Great tips to remember
- Conduct a practice run with the tech
Ensure you have a username and password set up if required. Work out where you are going to position your laptop or phone and if you need any props to hold them up. Get this working in advance so that your phone doesn’t fall over in the middle of a meeting and the person on the other side is suddenly looking at your ceiling. Browse the internet for some great hacks on homemade phone stands if you don’t have one.
- Allow time to set up
Make sure that you have everything ready to go 10 minutes before the meeting, in case any technical issues occur. Have a copy of your resume with you, a glass of water if you need it and turn off your phone. If you are using your phone for the interview, turn off notifications and call waiting, as it may make the screen on the other end go blank while the notification is coming through.
- Where to look on the device
Remember to look into the camera, not into the middle of the screen, even though this can be hard to do.
- Keep earphones handy
Using a headset, earbuds or earphones can reduce interference and improve the clarity of sound. We recommend keeping some handy in case the sound quality of your video call is poor.
- Practice the interview
Before your interview we recommend recording yourself on a computer or phone answering some mock interview questions. This will not only help you to feel more comfortable in front of a camera but will provide the opportunity to evaluate your responses.
- Voice and body language
Unlike face-to-face interviews, a video interview shows only your head and shoulders, therefore scaling back your ability to use body language to communicate with your interviewer/s. However, you should still maintain good eye contact and can use your hands to express yourself. Your verbal communication is even more important during a video interview, so your voice should be clear, strong and avoid mumbling.
Lastly, let any family members know that you have an important meeting and advise the interviewer if you have family at home, so they understand your situation. If you can’t avoid having kids and pets nearby, remember that you can use the mute button when not speaking to reduce any ambient noise.
We hope these tips help you to prepare for your next job interview and wish you success in winning the role.