One criticism candidates sometimes have about video interviews is that it is harder to strike a genuine connection with your interviewer or panel. But there are a few techniques you can use to help combat this.
Even with the fastest of internet connections, there will be a small delay between you and the interviewer. Remember to let the interviewer finish what they are saying, and pause for a second or so to make sure before you start to give your answer.
Nodding is a great way to maintain your engagement level without the risk of interrupting. Nod while the interviewer is speaking at points where you want to show you are communicating without interrupting their flow. And remember – a genuine smile goes a long way to communicating friendliness and approachability, critical attributes which can help differentiate between candidates and help swing the decision in your favour.
Eye contact is key, as is the position of the microphone. In your practice sessions, you will be aware of where the camera is and where to look. There is nothing worse for the interviewer than thinking you aren’t looking at them.
When it comes to audio if you have one use an external microphone or alternatively make sure you are speaking directly into whatever audio input you have.
Without physical and interpersonal cues, in a video interview, candidates can sometimes speak for longer than they normally would, as the interviewer might be wary of cutting you off mid-flow. In most interviews, you can expect some amount of conversational cross-talk, but if your interviewer is unwilling to interrupt you, there is a chance you will run on with your answers.
You want to ensure this doesn’t happen, so aim to keep your answers as concise as possible.
Remember to breathe deeply and pause for a moment before answering questions; try not to speak too quickly – speak clearly and deliberately.
Video Body Language
We often forget just how much of an interview relies on interpersonal communication and body language.
We communicate with our hands and bodies as much as we do with the things we say, and these signals can be lost on video.
Because of this, it is a good idea to try to remember to emphasise your hand gestures and body movements slightly more than you would in a regular interview. The key is to not go over the top but to place extra emphasis on what you are saying so that it connects with the interviewer.
Sit up straight and lean into the camera when it feels natural - enough that you look engaged and not pushed back in your chair.
Try not to stare at yourself – as we mentioned earlier look into the camera for maximum eye contact, which will help you strike a better connection with the interviewer.
You might exude nervous energy during your interview – this can be common – but remember to keep nervous movements under control. Try to avoid leg twitching, touching your face or hair or tapping your finger or pen. Being in the comfort of your own home can sometimes make you feel too relaxed – remember to keep your posture professional.
Using Notes and Reminders
Using notes is becoming more acceptable during video interviews – the key is to use them as handy prompts, but do not rely on them too much.
As a general rule; it’s ok to use a cheat sheet. You can take advantage of the video interview by posting handy reminders around the screen for anything you particularly want to communicate. These can be particularly useful for the end of the interview when you are invited to ask any questions you might have. As an interviewee, it can be nerve-wracking, and sometimes candidates forget to bring up points that they want to speak about.
Make a list of a few key bullet points you want to talk about – at the end when questions are invited, you can glance at your reminders to help prompt you. But be careful – do not make it evident that you are reading from notes, as this could make it look as though you have not adequately prepared or could make you look overly-nervous.
Signing off appropriately is essential, as it will shape the interviewer’s last impression of you. You don’t realise how important the handshake at the end of the interview is until it is missing.
Instead, you should sign off with a positive comment, a ‘thank you’ and a smile. Practice ending your video call promptly, to minimise the amount of time spent at the end of the interview in an open window that you are having trouble closing.