Guide: How to prepare for a video interview
27th Apr 2020
In the current pandemic, many companies have had to learn how to operate remotely. This also means when bringing on new staff, many must recruit remotely. For candidates who are currently looking for a job and planning to be interviewed remotely, we have put together this guide to ensure your interview is a success.
Most likely the interview will be on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts but there are dozens of other video software tools which could be used. Ensure you know the process of joining the interview before you need to be on camera. Essentially, don’t be virtually late! Most likely, the invite will be a link which you need to click and there may be a password you need to enter which will be given to you prior to your interview. Remember, this is just like a regular interview, try to treat the conversation as you would a normal interview, build rapport with the interviewer.
Usually pre-recorded videos are a short introduction about yourself or a way to answer set questions. This is less personal as you would be recording these videos of yourself to be viewed by the employer at another date. The recruiter or employer should give you instructions on how to do this. This would usually be a part of the application or screening process to help you stand out amongst the crowd.
Top tips to ensure your video interview is a success
Set up your camera in a quiet area of your house, where you will not be disturbed by other family members or pets. Whatever device you are using for the video interview call, try to make the camera eye level with you. This could mean creating a makeshift phone holder or a few books to lift up your laptop to eye level.
Pro tip: Ensure you are not straining to look down or up at the camera.
Try to sit somewhere which has a plain and less cluttered background. I know this cannot always be possible, but it will avoid any distractions during the interview.
Your lighting can be one of the most important factors to ensuring the video is clear. Sit facing a window for natural light or bring a lamp close to you and try to direct it towards your face to allow more light onto your face. If you wear glasses, try different light settings to reduce the glare from your lenses.
Before the interview, test out your microphone quality on your phone or laptop. It would be preferable to not wear headphones, but if you need to wear them to ensure you are easily heard, do it. Ensure other tabs on your laptop are closed and your phone is on mute to avoid any unnecessary noises during the interview.
If you are sitting in a room with windows, ensure they are closed to avoid noise from outside.
Even though the interview is at home, this is still your first impression with a potential new employer. Wear the same outfit you would have chosen when meeting face-to-face.
Pro tip: Think about your outfit against your background. If you are sitting in front of a white wall, try not to wear a white top as this will wash you out.
Your body language is as important as a face-to-face interview, if not even more important.
- Maintaining eye contact
Consistent eye contact throughout the interview is important to show interest and confidence. A lack of eye contact can present a range of conclusions, you’re unprepared or shy. Try to maintain the correct amount of eye contact, listen to the interviewer and try to understand when the social cues switch the conversation topic, or when it could be acceptable to look away from the interviewer.
Pro tip: practice making eye contact with the camera rather than looking at the screen
As we can no long part-take in a handshake, it’s important to smile. Smile when it feels natural throughout but smiling at the beginning of the interview can be positive body language to start the interview off.
- Control fidgeting or obvious signs of nervousness
Even though the interview is at home, it will still be noticeable if you’re fidgeting with your hands or feet. Try to stay calm during the interview. You can still use hand gestures when appropriate. Ensure your hands are kept by your side or kept on your lap, it can be distracting when you’re constantly moving them. Try to avoid crossing your arms, this is defensive body language, however, try to nod your head when you agree with something.
Body language is something which can be practiced so ensure you are aware of your bad body language habits while under pressure. Sit up straight, sit in a comfortable seat and keep your camera at eye level.
Don’t overlook body language as something you shouldn’t practice before your interview. Nonverbal communication can be extremely important for psychological reasons, so it shouldn’t be forgotten. In the remote interview setting it could be argued as more important. Use this opportunity to leverage your body language to your advantage and create a strong, confident persona. It will improve your self-awareness and may even improve your confidence for the job interview. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of body language in an interview, check out our blog on ‘ Why is body language important in an interview’
When you’re ready for the interview.
- Make sure you have done your research on the company and have your reasons why you want to work there and questions for them prepared for the end of the call.
- Alert everyone else in the house you’re having the interview to avoid distractions
- Have a copy of your CV in front of you
- Set out a glass a water
- Check your camera and microphone are working
- Put your phone on silent
- Check your internet connection
- Adjust your lighting to ensure you’re
- Have a notepad and pen & paper on your table, it may come in useful if the interviewer says anything you need to remember.
In conclusion, remote recruitment is how companies must recruit during this pandemic. Be prepared, set up your equipment to practice before the interview and remember, everyone is in the same boat – this will be new for many companies too!
If you’re a job seeker ready for your next opportunity or need some career advice, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 028 9091 8529.
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