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Consider this scenario: a recruiter sends you an email inviting you to interview for that position you applied for a week or so ago. Upon closer inspection of their invitation, you notice that they have requested a 'video interview'. Preparing for a video interview isn't much different from any other kind of interview with only a couple of elements that are unique to the process, namely an internet connection and webcam. In fact, video interviews are being used more frequently during the recruitment process1.
Here are our eight tips for how to get ready for your next video interview.
1. Do your research in advance
It's important that you are prepared and feeling confident before the interview starts. Some interviews are 'one-way' or 'asynchronous', which means the interviewer will give you the questions in advance, so you can record the interview in your own time. In this case, you will have more time to think about your answers than you would if the interview was conducted in real time.
If your video interview is recruiter-facing, you definitely want to avoid googling the answer to a question while your interviewer can see and hear you. The sound of your typing is likely to annoy to the recruiter and it will be noticeable that you're not giving them your full attention2. Make eye-contact, actively engage and aim to make a professional impact.
Doing your research in advance, just as you would for an in-person interview, will allow you to maintain your concentration for the entirety of the interview. If you need extra notes, it's a good idea to keep sticky notes just under the camera so you can maintain eye contact while subtly referring to your notes3.
2. Look the part
Even if you are having a lazy day at home, you still need to make an effort for the duration of your interview. For all intents and purposes, you must look like the ideal candidate. Don't make any less effort than if you were meeting them in person, which means combing your bed hair and dressing for success. Choose the same clothes you would wear for an in-person job interview from head-to-toe - even if they can't see your feet, wear nice shoes - so you can feel the part, project confidence and give a great first impression4.
3. Clean up your setup
Since you are not travelling to an office for your interview, you will need to select an appropriate location yourself. It's not as simple as just setting up your laptop at the kitchen table or ducking into an empty office. Make sure the room is clean and tidy, the lighting is not overpowering and the backdrop is distraction-free. But don't just sit somewhere bland like a dull conference room - a splash of colour in the background is always a great touch5.
4. Drop the digital distractions
Removing distractions extends much further than simply turning your phone to silent mode, although that is a great place to start. By temporarily blocking any websites or apps that are likely to distract you (such as Facebook and Instagram) you will be able to focus on the interview and not incoming notifications. In fact, you might want to consider closing down all other open tabs in your web browser so you are not tempted to take a sneak peek in the middle of the interview. Clearing your desk of paper and anything else that might draw your focus away from the task at hand is also a good idea.
5. Check your network connection
Imagine being in the middle of the interview and your screen freezes, or the internet connection drops out completely. Not only is it embarrassing, but it also gives a sub-par impression. Check your internet connection and make sure your camera works properly prior to the interview to avoid any technical mishaps. If you have time, make a quick video call to a friend beforehand to test the microphone and headphones.
6. Pay attention to submission deadlines
If you are able to do a pre-recorded interview at any time that suits you, wouldn't it be a shame to miss the submission deadline? Making a note of a submission deadline is just as important as noting when an in-person or phone interview will take place. As soon as you find out when your pre-recorded interview is due, add it to your calendar with reminders set to help keep you on track.
7. Change your username
It's commonly advised that you have a professional email address for interacting with recruiters and colleagues. Likewise, having an inappropriate Skype display name can harm your chances of getting a job more than you'd think. The best way to avoid the risk of looking unprofessional is to either set-up a new account specifically for professional means, or simply change your screen name to your full name6.
8. Do a test run
If you're still worried about whether everything will go smoothly on the day of the interview, do a test run! Take the opportunity to ensure that all of your equipment works correctly before the real thing. Ask a friend to watch your pre-recorded test run so they can give you advice on how you come across as a recruitment candidate. Use your friend's feedback to make some improvements and set yourself up for a successful video interview.