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Video Interviews

Preparing for a successful video interview

Hatty Blue

If you have been invited to a video interview, you might be worrying that this could put you at a disadvantage.

But what are the real differences?

The truth is that a video interview should not put you either at an advantage or a disadvantage – both have their benefits and their drawbacks.

Let’s take a closer look.

Video Interview – Advantages

·      Be interviewed from the comfort of your own home

·      Ability to draw on notes

·      Increased flexibility of time

·      Travel cost, time, and stress of both of these are eradicated

Video Interview – Disadvantages

·      It can be harder to connect and build rapport with the interviewer

·      Your body language is restricted

·      You often have a more limited time

Any candidate can learn to improve their video interview skills with better knowledge and understanding of the recruitment process.

Familiarise Yourself With the Tech

There are a few things you must check before your video interview to ensure that everything goes as smooth as possible on the day.

The first is to check your internet speed, there are plenty of speed tests available, such as this one by Which?. For a smooth video, a connection speed of at least three megabits per second is recommended.

If the internet is slow where you live, consider asking a friend or relative (tier dependant) if you can use a space in their home if they can accommodate you and it is safe and socially distant for you to do so. If your video keeps freezing or buffering, it will make it very difficult to impress the interviewer and can even lead to interviews being rescheduled.

There are a few different platforms employers use to conduct video interviews, with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype being the most popular.

Some recruiters use specialist software too and if this is the case, make sure you have a practise session with them ahead of time. If you are completely new to video technology, it is a good idea to test out the platform with a friend or relative first.

You might need to download the latest version of the platform or practice sharing your screen for presentations – check with your interviewer as soon as the interview is confirmed which software or programme you will be using and have a run-through a couple of days before to check that your webcam and microphone are working.

Despite mobile phone and tablet technology improving significantly in recent years, we would always advise that you use a laptop or PC for your interview. This way, you get a bigger image of yourself and your interviewer on screen, the camera will be in a better position, and the image will be more stable than when using a tablet stand or propping up your phone.

On the day of the interview, make sure you switch your computer on ahead of time, and check you can get in the invite beforehand; the last thing you want is to have Microsoft inform you of an impending update!

Choosing Your Setting

As well as having a run-through of the technology, before your interview, you should also have a good think about where in your home you want your interview to take place.

Choose somewhere well-lit, but avoid anywhere with a light source directly behind you, as this will cause you to appear as a shadowy figure. Video experts Wistia have produced a guide to looking great on webcam, which you can view here.

Not everyone has a home office, but for your interview, you will need somewhere you won’t be disturbed by other members of your household. Make sure pets are out of the way or taken care of by someone – your nosy dog scratching at the door or crying for your attention can derail you.

Choose somewhere with a neutral and tidy background to conduct your interview from, try to avoid the interviewer seeing overfull wardrobes or messy coat racks, as these can also be distracting. You can also blur your background or set a different one that is more neutral on many platforms.

Remember to turn your phone off or on silent and don’t have a pinging email inbox tab open on your computer.

Presenting Yourself

Consider your clothing choice carefully, some items such as bold patterns and stripes can look busy on camera. However, bright colours can help when it comes to your video, standing out positively to the hiring manager.

And remember - don’t just dress for what the interviewer will see.

Most of us have been guilty of dressing smartly from the waist up and leaving the bottom half casual for a video call. But doing this could impact subconsciously on the way you feel, which can then lead to poorer performance. Dress head-to-toe in what you would typically wear, yes, including your shoes, to fully get yourself into ‘interview mode’.

If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean! I know that sounds strange and first impressions and attention to detail count.