How to succeed at a video job interview

Job interviews via video are the new norm, especially with a record number of people working from home. And our prediction is that won’t change in the foreseeable future. Although it’s not a new concept for some organisations, it can be daunting as a candidate if it’s your first time. Here are some tips to help you prepare and succeed at your next online job interview.

How to prepare for a job interview via video

There are many platforms used to conduct video interviews.  The most common are:

So your first step is to familiarise yourself with the medium.

To begin, you may be asked to create an account or alternatively you will receive an email link to access the day of your interview. If the interviewer asks you for your Skype Name (for example), remember to tell them your email address and phone number too. You may think you have a unique name but chances are there’s someone else in the world on that platform with the same name.

Next, we recommend you do a trial run with a family member or a friend. Test your camera, sound and microphone to ensure you can be seen and heard properly. Head-sets with microphones will give you a better sound quality (easy if you’ve got kids who are into gaming – borrow theirs!).  Choose an appropriate room with adequate light and space and take note of what can be seen in the background and directly behind you. Ideally, your space should be neutral, clutter and distraction free. So, remember to hide the washing before your interview!

On the day of your interview, set up your device well ahead of the interview to ensure everything is working properly. Take your phone ‘off the hook’ so it won’t ring unexpectedly during your interview. If possible, mitigate the risks of your doorbell ringing loudly. Have a glass of water near you, pen and paper to take notes and a copy of your resume. When dealing with technology, be prepared for the possibility of things going wrong. It is important to have a contingency plan between you and the interviewer if things do go awry, like switching to your mobile, so the interview can proceed.

Body Language

Effectively building rapport, engaging your audience and forming a connection with the interviewer can be challenging over a video. Here are some points to keep in mind.

  • Eye contact When you are speaking, look into your webcam or camera. This way your eyes will align with the interviewer’s eyes more closely. When listening it is okay to look back at the screen rather than directly at the camera but avoid letting your gaze drift.
  • Good posture Sit up right in a supportive chair. Avoid slouching over your device. Ensure you sit centred to the screen so the interviewer can see you clearly. Avoiding moving or fidgeting as this will shake the screen.
  • Gestures To show engagement nod, smile and use hand gestures when appropriate. Limit movements so they are close to your body and don’t fall off the screen.

What to wear

Dress for your video as you would for a face-to-face interview. This will help you for a couple of reasons:

  • Mindset Get yourself out of ‘home zone’ and into ‘job zone’. Dress the part to feel the part. Even though it may be tempting to wear your pyjama bottoms, you’ll feel better about yourself when you look professional.
  • Make a great impression. Look professional, neat and tidy. Signal to your future employer that you’re a professional who is ready to engage.

Final note

Use the same etiquette for a video interview, as you would an in-person interview.  Thank your interviewer for their time and ensure you hang up or end the meeting before you switch out of interview mode.

Then pour yourself a cup of tea and slip on something comfy. Job well done!

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