10 tips for video interview success
9 min read | Thea Watson | Article | Interview advice
Find out everything you need to know about succeeding in video interviews.
The recent shift to remote working affects the way companies talk to candidates. While in-person interviews are still common, video interviews are increasingly popular – especially for remote jobs or companies that work from home. In this day and age, don’t be surprised if your prospective employer suggests a virtual meet-up ahead of a face-to-face interview.
So, what’s the best video interview advice for candidates? First, it’s important to remember that video interviews are still interviews. Many of the same rules still apply, so remember things like eye contact, confidence and politeness. With that mind, here are ten ways to make your interviewer love you.
But for some, the 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.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to have a successful interview over video.
Video interviews at a glance
The key to a successful video is in the preparation. Not only should you prepare as you would for any other interview, but you should also make sure your technology is ready.
For example, check that you have the link to open the meeting, and that your program is set up – many a video interview has been delayed by unexpected software updates.
Below, we’ve outlined 10 video interview tips to make your job hunt a roaring success.
1. Set the scene
First and foremost, think about where you are going to have your interview – your home office? Your bedroom? Your kitchen? Wherever you choose, the lighting must be right. Try to avoid direct light sources or bright objects behind you as this will create a shadowy silhouette.
Also think about what the interviewer will see in frame when looking behind you. The background needs to be clear and not distracting. The interviewer’s attention should be firmly on you. Find a tidy, uncluttered place to do the interview.
Once you have set up your ‘interview room’, make sure you’re not risking family, friends or even pets walking in when the interview is taking place. Let them know ahead of time that you have an interview, and then close the door to keep out any external noise.
2. Test it out
The day before your video interview, have a test run. Organise a test call with a family member or friend – this will ensure that the camera and microphone both work. Run through some interview questions and answers and ask the family member or friend to provide you with any feedback.
It’ll probably feel strange doing this. However, video recording yourself speaking your interview answers out loud is a great way to check your body language. It also gives you a final opportunity to test the lighting and sound quality. You won’t want to suddenly become aware of these issues during the interview itself!
It’s important that you’re comfortable looking into a camera and speaking into a microphone. Looking into the camera is important in order to make eye contact with the interviewer, while speaking clearly into the microphone is helpful for avoiding repetition.
4. Prepare your platform
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.
There are lots of different potential platforms you could use for interview; WhatsApp, Teams, Zoom etc. In most cases, the first thing that your interviewer will see is your profile photo and username, so ensure both are suitable and depict you in a professional light.
5. Keep notes off screen
Before the interview, print off your CV and prepare questions to ask at the end. Make sure your notes are out of shot but clearly visible to you to use as springboards or prompts. This will help limit the risk of being tempted to look down and simply read from your CV, thus not maintaining eye contact with the interviewer.
On interview day…
6. Get in early
Act as you would a conventional interview – turn up early. Have everything in place at least 10 minutes before the interview start time. This will ensure you are ready and waiting when the interviewer dials in – the last thing you want to do is keep the interviewer waiting.
7. Dress for the job you want
Whilst you may be taking the video interview from the comfort of your own home, you should still dress as you would for a face-to-face interview – even on your lower half (you never know if you’ll need to stand up!).
Getting fully dressed up for the interview makes you look professional. It also helps to put you in the right mindset for a formal conversation with a potential employer.
8. Be engaged
Try to forget that you’re talking to a screen. React to your interviewer as you would in person, by nodding and agreeing, keeping your body language positive and engaging. Don’t overdo it however and be careful not to come across as unnaturally animated.
Listen really 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.
9. Keep calm, carry on
Even if you’ve done all the above perfectly, you’re still at the mercy of the machine. Tech problems or issues with your internet connection may occur at any time. It’s important in these situations to stay calm.
How you react when things don’t go as planned will reveal to your employer your ability to calmly and proactively tackle difficult situations. Have an alternative contact detail – a phone number or email address – on standby in case things go awry and you need to continue over a different channel.
10. Follow up
After the interview, send a quick email via your recruiter to say you enjoyed meeting, talking and learning about the role. Reinforce your interest in the position and say that you look forward to hearing from them soon. This sets you up nicely for future conversations.
What you need to remember about video interviews
Video interviews will become even more popular, so it’s useful to remember these video interview tips. Use them to establish your own way of interviewing comfortably over the internet. Through dedicated preparation and planning, you can ensure your interviews are always the most successful they can be.
Considering the next step in your career? 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
Thea Watson, Marketing Director of Hays UK & I and UK Board member
Prior to her current role she was the Vice President of Marketing for the Hays Americas business, joining the business in 2012. Under her management she built the marketing function from general support to a strategic driver of sales, establishing a central marketing unit supporting Canada, US and four Latin American countries.