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Lights, camera, action: how to impress in your video interview

By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance

Video interviews are now a necessity and they need to be taken seriously if you want to impress a prospective employer and secure a new role. For some, the perceived lack of real interpersonal interaction during a video interview can be a cause for anxiety. Body language accounts for a large part of communication, and without it the ability to express ourselves decreases significantly.

It’s important that you counter this and other unconventional aspects of a video interview by making all the necessary adjustments to your interview style. Here are three tips for you to follow:

1. Have everything ready in good time

Technology is a consideration that is mostly unique to video interviews. Make sure you don’t have any embarrassing technical difficulties by installing the necessary programs and software in good time – and that you also know what to do if it goes wrong.

Test your connection and video software plenty of times beforehand by making some practice calls to check sound and picture quality. Your interviewer will likely have a busy schedule and won’t be very impressed if you have to keep re-dialling in. A good recruitment consultant will help you prepare for the interview and advise you on the kind of questions you are likely to be asked, but it’s really up to you to make sure the technology doesn’t falter.

For video interviews dress formally, even if you are doing the interview from your living room; you should dress as you would to go to an employer’s head office. Find a tidy, uncluttered place to do the interview; you want to make sure that you’ve removed all non-pertinent objects from the frame.

2. Get comfortable with the technology

It’s important that you’re comfortable looking into a camera and speaking into a microphone. Looking into the camera is important to make eye contact with the interviewer, while speaking clearly into the microphone is helpful for avoiding repetition. Remember also to avoid the temptation of looking at your own image on the screen! Don’t forget to smile too. Smiling goes a very long way to building rapport and, while you may not think it, can even be recognised down a phone line.

Listen carefully to the questions your interviewer is asking you. There may be a delay over video calling or network connection and if you get stuck on a question, ask if you can move on and come back to this when you have gathered your thoughts. Silences can be difficult when you aren’t in the same room so try to avoid them. You can help minimise awkward pauses by rehearsing with a family member or friend; this will help you predict possible delays that the technology might have.

3. Project confidence and stay calm

During a video interview, it can be difficult to show the usual body language that demonstrates you are listening and shows you are interested and enthusiastic, so be sure to also convey this in what you say, while remaining aware of your movements. Asking questions is always positive so make sure you have some up your sleeve.

Remaining professional, staying relaxed and keeping calm will help you to answer the questions accurately. Where video interviews may cause a delay in the flow of conversation, it is best to wait and ensure your interviewer has finished their question to stop any confusion and keep your interview on track. You can help with this too, by ensuring your answers are clear and concise. If your interviewer wants more information, they will ask you to elaborate.

Confidence is even more of a decisive factor in video interviews than it is during regular face-to-face interviews. Without the encouragement of your self-assured body language, the interviewer might have difficulty getting a read on you. Leave them in no doubt about your belief in your own ability by communicating confidently at all times.

A final thought

However well prepared you are, remember that there may be factors beyond your control when using technology and video calling software which can disrupt the call, break signal or lose connection. In this instance, it is best to regain connection and restart the call, and quickly contact your interviewer to update them so you can all continue with the interview as soon as possible. They’ll understand it is out of your control so try not to worry and keep your composure.

If you’re considering your next step, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about the career options available to you. Alternatively, check out our latest career advice.

About this author

Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.

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