With the Covid-19 Pandemic sweeping across the world you might be forgiven for thinking that this is not the right time to consider your career. But having some enforced time at home might provide the perfect opportunity not only to plan future moves but also to make sure your interview skills and techniques are ready for the world of video interviews.
There is an increasing trend towards conducting interviews through online meetings. The advantages to both employer and candidate are clear – no travel time or expenses and the ability to apply for jobs globally are just a few of the clear benefits. Whether through Skype or Facetime, Microsoft Teams or Zoom, the skills you will need to sell yourself in an online world are the same – but they are somewhat different from a more traditional face to face discussion. Here are our top 10 video interview tips.
10 Video Interview Tips
1. Video Interview Preparation
As with all interviews, you will need to prepare for likely questions. You need to consider your strengths and weaknesses (read more about how to answer the dreaded “What’s your biggest weakness” question), and provide examples of when your skills have been demonstrated. Always try to show your genuine interest in working for their specific organisation, with evidence to show you’ve carried out your research. Worried about what questions are asked in a video interview? Try using an interview questions tool or thinking about what questions you’ve been asked in the past.
2. Practice makes perfect
You may not know the exact questions you will be asked in advance, but you can practice how you look and behave on camera. Record yourself answering example interview questions and watch them back to pick up on any habits you may have, such as touching your hair or tapping your fingers. Ask your friends and family for their feedback as they may notice things you don’t.
3. Select a private location without distractions
As with your appearance, location is crucial. You need to be somewhere quiet, clean and tidy. You can also use lighting to make sure you are clearly visible without shadows being cast on your face. If you’re going to use your own home, make sure you’ve warned anyone else who may be in the house not to disturb you. Also, make sure you’ve turned your phone to silent and closed all other applications on your computer to avoid any unexpected noises.
4. Check that you have a strong, stable internet connection
Make sure that your internet connection is good and won’t drop out during the interview. Ask any other people on your connection to avoid streaming anything at the same time as your interview is taking place. Consider having a backup in place in case your connection fails.
5. Dress professionally
Just like a face to face interview, you will be assessed based on your professional appearance, so make sure you wear something suitable for interview. Look at what you’re wearing on your practice videos – some colours and patterns don’t work well on the screen so make sure you choose the right outfit. Also, consider using some anti-shine make-up – yes, even the men – to make sure you’re not glowing too much!
6. Consider your body language
Body language is just as important on video as in a face to face interview – sit up straight, smile appropriately, look attentive and enthusiastic. Get more tips on body language for video calls here.
7. Look at the camera
When you’re recording yourself it is very tempting to look at yourself on the screen, but not only will this distract you it will also mean that you don’t make ‘virtual eye contact’ with the recruiter. Treat your camera lens as their eye and it will look like you’re looking directly at them.
8. Keep your hand gestures to a minimum
Although hand gestures are great when in a face to face interview, in a video they can be distracting, so try to keep your hands still and out of shot – you could try holding a pen in your lap to keep your hands out of sight.
9. Don’t use too many notes
Many people have been asking, “Can you use notes in a video interview?” Let me ask you, would you use notes in a face-to-face interview? Using notes and reading out written answers will not show you at your best. If you need to, then write some bullet points and leave them propped up so you can glance at them easily.
10. Prepare questions to ask them
You will usually be asked if you have anything you’d like them to address if your application is taken to the next stage or if you have any questions, so don’t forget to think of a few questions for them too. Asking thoughtful or insightful questions could set you apart from other candidates. Not sure what to ask? Have a look at the top ten questions you should ask the interviewer.
What not to do in a video interview
When preparing for a video interview, it’s equally important to consider what not to do.
Don’t choose your bedroom or kitchen for your interview room.
You need to look professional, so it’s best to appear that you are in an office environment or similar. You’ll have plenty of notice for your interview, so if you share a home or office space with others, you can prepare them for your interview and ask that they give you the room you need.
Don’t act too casual.
This is still an interview, so don’t eat or play with your phone. If you would like to drink something, rather stick with water.
Don’t move the camera too much.
Find the optimal position before the interview in a place where you know you won’t be distracted. If you are using your phone for the interview, avoid holding it in your hand as it could appear shaky and distracting for the interviewer. If you don’t have a phone stand, check out these 5 phone stands you can make at home.
Don’t turn your camera off.
They’ve made it very clear that they’re inviting you to a video interview, and will feel uncomfortable and frustrated speaking to a blank screen.
Don’t take the call in a loud setting.
This can be extremely distracting to both you and the interviewer, and you want to ensure that they can hear you clearly. So make sure you switch off any music and try to minimise other background noise.
Good luck with your interview!
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