The best tips for a video interview
1. Dress appropriately
As much as we try not to judge by first appearances, it is in our nature to do so. Therefore, it is crucial we make an effort to dress appropriately for the interview. You should wear the same outfit as you would for a normal job interview, so, for example, a male may wear a shirt with a tie and smart trousers. As tempting as it may be to wear joggers or even no trousers, it is important that you feel the part and you are in a professional mindset as opposed to a relaxed one. I would recommend maybe even wearing smart shoes to affirm your mindset and determination to get the job. Also, avoid wearing any busy patterns or stripes as this may distract the interviewer. A smart, minimalistic shirt or dress would be ideal for a professional role.
2. Notes on screen
One benefit of having a video interview is that you can put stickers or post-it notes around the screen without the interviewer seeing them. This can remind you of any key points that you want to mention or any facts about the company that you want to remember. However, do not put too many around the screen as the interviewers can still see your eye movements and it will be obvious if you are not looking at them.
Also to make sure that you are looking at the interviewer directly, move the interviewer's video window close to the position of the camera. This will make it more personal as opposed to having them in the corner of the screen where it would look awkward like your eyes are focusing on something else.
3. Good lighting
This determines how you will appear to the interviewer so it is important to make sure that you have strong lighting so that you are bright and glowing. Avoid having a bright light in the background as this will be too contrasting, ideally, you would want the light shining on you from the front.
4. Good webcam
A sharp and clear image can make you look more presentable and professional to the interviewer. Ideally, you would want to use a webcam that is up to date, however, most modern laptops contain one that is sufficient. If possible, avoid using tablets and phones as their quality generally isn’t great and their smaller screen sizes can allow you to be distracted easily.
5. Speak clearly and calmly
Nerves can get the better of us in an interview and make us rush through what we’re trying to say. Keep your voice calm and clear as speaking too loud or too fast can make your sound cut out. Practice this as much with your friends and family so you can refine this skill and be prepared for whatever the interviewer throws at you.
Using earphones that come with a built-in mic is a good way to improve your sound quality and avoid most issues, however, you would want to consider if this may come across as unprofessional for the role. If unsure, you may ask the interviewer if it would be appropriate to wear headphones. Doing vocal exercises can help warm up the vocal cords prior to your interview and allow you to speak clearer and more confidently. This can be as simple as humming at various pitches or singing at the top of your lungs.
6. Practice in the mirror
This may seem unnatural at first, but practicing in front of a mirror allows you to get a different perspective you how you present yourself. You may notice some unconscious movements or actions that you make when you are nervous and may want to avoid them in an interview. This exercise will also help you gain confidence in your speaking and will benefit you greatly when speaking to others.
7. Clean background
Having a clean and neat background shows that you are an organised person. It also allows the interviewer to concentrate on you and not get distracted by anything. Try to have a light-coloured background to ensure that you stand out against it.
Make sure that there is nothing potentially embarrassing in the background such as silly photos or a mirror that could reflect something that didn’t need to be seen. Having books in the background can also make you appear more intellectual and portray yourself in a good light. If you notice, this is a tactic that many professionals use for interviews on various news stations.
A feature that is useful on Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom is the blur background option. This defocuses the background and allows the interviewer to concentrate on you. This can be done in a call or through the settings of the platform by going into the background options.
8. No distractions
You need to be focused and attentive during your interview, so a quiet and distraction-free environment is essential. Make sure your phone is on silent and not vibrate as that can distract you.
Close any windows in the room you will be interviewed in as well so there is no outside noise. Also, alert any family members in the house and tend to any pets to make sure that they don’t disturb you.
9. Be yourself
This is easier said than done but it is nonetheless important to remember. You want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression and you won’t do that by being like every other candidate. Make sure to smile and laugh in agreeance when appropriate. It is good to show you have a humorous side and that you are a human and not just a robotic worker.
You are always going to be asked if you have any questions at the end of an interview so it is important to have some prepared. This shows that you display genuine interest in the company and can see yourself there. Some questions that can be good are:
- What is the next stage in the process?
- How did you get involved with the company?
- How do you find it working there?
- What is the company culture like?
Try to avoid asking any questions that are related to finance as it can make you appear greedy, and you can sort out any finance-related issues in the later stages of the interview or even if you are successful.
11. Check username
Make sure your username is professional on your personal account if you are using one. If in doubt, make a new account for the video interview just in case. You would not want to have any unnecessary reasons for the interviewer to make a judgment about you.
12. Pre-recorded interview
As we have discussed before, you may be given a pre-recorded interview question as opposed to a live conversation with a person. You’ll record your answer to each question and then the interviewer will review the recording later. Your preparation will be useful for this setting so make sure to have answers at the ready. Normally there is a time limit and you may be given more than one chance to record an answer so use this to your advantage.
Video interviews are currently more prevalent than ever and it seems that they are not going away any time soon. It saves time and money for the employers and candidates and is more efficient than the traditional methods of face-to-face interviews. The time to adapt to this new age is now so why wait to learn?
Have we missed anything? Are there any tips that you have used for your own success?