The do's and don'ts of video interviews: How to prepare for success
Travelling to an interview can end up being a costly and stressful experience. Not only do you have to pay for your travel, you have to ensure that you make it to your interview in one piece. If you’re unlucky, public transport delays and weather conditions will warrant an untimely and messy arrival. However, recruiters are increasingly opting to hold video interviews. These are held online via live video streaming platforms, and effectively remove the cost and stress involved with travelling. Skype, Facetime, and VidCruiter – to name just a few – enable long distance verbal and visual communication. These video platforms can be used on numerous digital devices, and are becoming increasingly reliable business tools.
So, how do you prepare for a video interview? How do you ensure success? Despite not having to organise your travel, there are still plenty of things to do in order to guarantee that your video interview runs smoothly. Below, we have compiled a list of ‘video interview do’s and don’ts’ - to help you impress your potential employer over video chat.
Don’t have any noise in the background. This one goes without saying. You wouldn’t have a radio playing in a face-to-face interview, so don’t have any noisy gadgets switched on during your video interview. Remember to ensure that your phone is on silent, and switch off any alarms on your devices.
Don’t have personal belongings in the background. This is all about first impressions. Just imagine, for example, that your interviewer is a Manchester City Fan, and you have a huge Manchester United poster behind you during your interview. Now, personal prejudices should not affect the outcome of your interview, however, the interviewers focus should be on you, and not the items around you.
Don’t have other people in the room. Whether they are quiet or not, other individuals can be extremely distracting during an interview. Not only can they distract you, but they can distract the interviewer. Therefore, make sure that you are alone with no chances of interruption. If you’re going to be at home for your interview, make your family aware of your interview arrangements. Maybe suggest that they go out for the day, so that you can prepare thoroughly and avoid disturbance.
Do have the right lighting. There is nothing worse – when conducting a virtual interview – than not being able to see your potential candidate due to the lighting conditions that they are in. Too light, and the environment washes you out. Too dark, and you’re hidden from view. Therefore, take the time to search for the perfect light source.
Do dress the part. Just because you aren’t attending an interview in person, does not mean that you can dress down for your virtual interview. If your interview has been arranged via a recruitment company, you can always ask their advice regarding what to wear. Otherwise, research the company that you are interviewing for and get a feel for their expectations. Also, keep in mind that it’s always better to overdress than underdress!
Don’t read off a piece of paper. This can look as if you are unprepared for your interview. By all means, have notes to hand just in-case you lose track of your thoughts, however, don’t rely on them 100%. If you show your thought process when answering questions, this seems a lot more natural than reeling off a prepared speech whilst staring at a piece of paper.
Do schedule a mock interview. Many recruitment companies offer interview advice and preparation. For example, Detail2Recruitment run through possible interview questions, so that you can prepare and refine your answers. If you have applied to a company directly, you could always ask a family member to practice interviewing techniques with you.
Don’t display inappropriate usernames or email addresses. It’s likely that your personal email address and online usernames were set up when you were much younger. We all know someone who regrets their teenage email address! Therefore, it’s important to update your visible account settings online, after all, these will be the first things your interviewer lays eyes on.
Do check your technology settings. It’s common sense. If you are having your interview via phone, make sure that you have mobile signal and internet connection. Likewise, if you are using a laptop or tablet, ensure that your internet connectivity is reliable. Always check your audio settings before your interview commences. Do a sound check with a friend or relative beforehand, to confirm that you can be heard and seen using your chosen device.
Do plan for glitches. Even if you have tested your equipment and connection settings, you cannot guarantee that a technical glitch will not occur. Therefore, always have a backup plan. Whether that is another device to hand, or your interviewers phone number. If your interview is disrupted due to technical reasons, they should always be able to contact you.
Don’t act unnatural. It’s common, especially when individuals aren’t used to a certain device, for them to act unnatural during a video chat. Typically, peculiar behaviours - during a video interview - include staring into the camera, and shouting into the microphone. If you have tested your equipment beforehand, you can be assured that the interviewer can see and hear you!
Do express yourself. Remember, non-verbal communication remains important despite not being face-to-face with your interviewer. Don’t completely avoid eye contact, and use hand gestures in order to express yourself. Hand gestures make the conversation ‘active’, and natural.
With technology advancing at an alarming rate, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with these digital processes. By following these essential do’s and don’ts, you're sure to succeed in preparing and completing a video interview.Author: Sophie Booth, Edited by Lois Pickford