Scheduled in for a video interview in the coming weeks? In this blog Careers Consultant Kathryn Saunders offers you practical tips and points to consider before, during and after your interview.
Choose and check your device carefully: if you have multiple devices, think about which is most reliable and which you feel most comfortable using; make sure your device is fully charged before you start the interview.
Find the right space: you want somewhere quiet, with a neutral background and good lighting; take a video of yourself in advance and watch it back – is it light enough that the employer will be able to see your facial expressions?
Check the app, platform, URL provided: you sometimes have to download an app to access video interview platforms, make sure you check the URL the employer has sent you in advance so you know you have everything you need. If you are using a personal account (e.g. Skype or Google), make sure you have a professional username and photo (or set-up a new one!).
Reflect on the skills they require: review the job description / person specification and highlight the key skills and competencies they are looking for – these are often a good indication of the questions you will be asked.
Be able to demonstrate business / industry knowledge: look at the employer’s news feed and social media channels so you have up-to-date knowledge of what’s happening in the business, also look at sector news and any known competitors to get a good idea of what’s going on in the market.
Know your motivation: your first question(s) are likely to be on your motivation; reflect on why you want to join this organisation, why this role and what you can offer the company – make connections between your own skills and values and that of the organisation to show you are a good fit. Being able to communicate your motivation passionately will be a great start to your interview!
Dress to impress: it’s always better to err on the side of caution and go for smart casual; loud prints can be distracting or strobe on video so plain colours are usually a safer choice.
Think about your body language: eye contact is important, when you are answering questions try to gaze at your webcam rather than at the employer’s eyes – this will help to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. Try to convey enthusiasm through your body language – keep good posture by having both feet firmly on the floor and sit back in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate but try to avoid fidgeting by putting your hands in your lap the rest of the time. When you are listening to the employer, nod and smile to show they have your full attention.
Keep a notebook and glass of water next to you: have a notebook handy in case you need to write anything down. You can also have a few key points in front of you (e.g. key skills and examples you want to mention) – it might be useful to have these on post-it notes around the screen to ensure you are not looking down and away from your device during the interview. Avoid the temptation to write-out and read interview answers, the employer will be able to tell if you are reading and it won’t feel very natural!
Remember to breathe and pause: people typically speak faster during a video interview as you pick-up less physical cues from your interviewer. Record yourself answering an interview question and reflect on your speed of speech, do you need to slow it down? It’s also fine to take a few seconds after the employer has asked you a question; take this time (perhaps take a sip of water) to gather your thoughts so you can provide a clear and concise response.
If things go wrong…:
if you have technical difficulties (e.g. your video is lagging due to low bandwidth), ask the employer if you can continue by phone and agree the best number to speak on
if you are interrupted (e.g. outside noise, your doorbell), apologise about the disturbance and suggest you take a moment until the noise has subsided
if someone walks in, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption
Closing the interview and follow-up: make sure you have at least two questions for the employer; these should be questions you couldn’t find the answers to online. After the interview, send a short email to thank the interview for their time, express how much you enjoyed meeting them, and re-iterate your ongoing motivation for the position / to join the organisation – this will help build a stronger connection with your potential employer.