Top Tips for Excelling in a Video Interview

02 May 2020

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Even though we’ve left level 4 behind and can hopefully see some light at the end of the tunnel, chances are most interviews will be conducted via video for a while yet. Perhaps now so many companies have got used to video interviewing they are likely to be more popular even once we’re all back in the office and our seemingly endless weeks of working from home are nothing but a distant memory

Video interviews can be harder than face to face interviews for several reasons, including the fact it’s much harder to read what the other person is thinking or to pick up on subtle conversation queues.

Here are our top tips to help you ace a video interview and land your next exciting opportunity.

  • Test the technology before the interview

Ask a friend to call you on Zoom, Teams, Skype or whatever technology you are using for the actual interview to test your hardware and software are running smoothly. Technical glitches can still happen no matter what, but it’s less likely if you check it all beforehand.

If glitches do happen, remain calm and try not to get flustered. Remember, most employers want someone who can stay cool under pressure. Let the interviewer know there is an issue straight away.

  • Practice and prepare

Make sure you spend as much time preparing for a video interview as you would a face to face interview. Research the company, familiarise yourself with the job description and find out as much as you can about the person you will be speaking to.

If you are nervous or have never undertaken a video interview before, ask a friend to call you and practice by doing a role-play of an interview. Maybe record this so you can see if there are any mannerisms you want to work on before the interview.

  • Make sure your camera is on and you are not on mute when you start

This one is pretty explanatory, but it’s easy to leave yourself on mute or not realise that your camera is off. Starting without the interviewer being able to see or hear you will do nothing to help your nerves of their first impression of you.

  • Treat a video interview the same as you would a face-to-face interview

It’s important to look the part for a video interview. Make sure you are well groomed and don’t be tempted to only dress appropriately on your top half. What if something unexpected happens and you need to stand up for some reason? Do you want the interviewer to see that you’re sitting there in your Star Wars PJ bottoms?

Also, make sure the room you are in is tidy, and if that is not possible, select a professional looking background to use. Use a room where you can shut the door and switch your phone to silent.

  • Make sure you have a professional username (ideally just your name)

Remember to change your name back from whatever you used for last weeks online quiz or Friday night drinks. Ideally, this will just be your name.

  • Maintain eye contact and don’t forget to smile

Remember to look at the person interviewing you, the same as you would in a face-to-face interview, and try not to look around the room as this can make you looked uninterested. If you are using two screens, look at the one with the camera or the interviewer will just be looking at the side of your face for the duration, and trust me, this does not a good interview make. Also, remember to smile as this helps to make a good impression.

  • Don’t talk over the person interviewing you

It’s easy to talk over the person interviewing you during a video interview, especially as there can sometimes be a slight time lag. Take your time and make sure they have finished talking before giving your answer to a question. This also gives you time to process the question.