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How to nail a video interview

25 Mar

In the current climate, it may feel odd to even think about job hunting and interviewing. But for many of us, work life must go on. Businesses continue running, roles need to be filled and people will always be looking for new jobs. That’s where virtual interviewing comes in. As of 2019, up to 60% of hiring managers and recruiters were using video technology during the hiring process, and we can expect to see this figure rise dramatically in the coming weeks and months.

As people around the world hunker down and self-isolate, there’s still plenty of recruitment activity happening in nearly every sector. However, with in-person interviewing largely out of the picture, attention has turned to technology to help make connections between candidates and careers. There’s every possibility you’ll be invited to a video interview if you’re currently applying for new roles – but how do these types of interviews actually work, and how can you ensure you make a good impression?

Here’s everything you need to know to nail a video interview:

Getting the technology right

Technology can make or break a video interview experience. If the interview is going to be conducted live, the recruiter or hiring manager you’re interviewing with should provide you with a link to join the interview, which may take place on Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or another platform. Sometimes you may be invited to participate in a pre-recorded interview, which acts as automated screening for candidates before hiring managers interview them directly. Sonru, Hirevue and Sparkhire all offer this type of technology, which usually involves recording yourself answering pre-selected or pre-recorded interview questions within a set time.

Before the day of the interview, practice using this platform in the setting where you’ll conduct the interview. Set up a call with a friend so you can test out your internet connection, camera and microphone, as well as the lighting and backdrop of the area you’ll be interviewing from.

Make sure you’re using the latest version of the video software and close any unnecessary programmes and windows to ensure your computer or device can run at optimum levels. Headphones with a built-in microphone tend to work better than speaking into your device’s microphone, but test this out to see which sounds best.

Despite all the preparation in the world, there is still the slight chance that some piece of technology may fail you on the day of the interview. Make sure you have your interviewer’s phone number handy in case the video cuts out and you need to call them back. Finally, make sure your device is plugged in to a power source at all times.

Practice makes perfect

As well as trialling technology before your interview, you should prepare just as you would for any physical interview by running through potential questions and practicing your responses. Ask a friend to feed back on your responses as well as things like your body language, eye contact and how natural you seem on the video. Use hand gestures where it feels appropriate and nod to show you’re listening – these visual cues can sometimes get lost when you’re not talking in person, but with some practice they will come naturally to you. The more you practice doing this type of interview, the easier it will feel.

Putting your best foot forward

One of the most common questions candidates have about video interviewing is about what they should wear. A good rule of thumb is to dress appropriately for the role you’re applying for, just as you would for an in-person interview. Consider the culture of the business you’re applying to work at and align your outfit accordingly. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear a suit, but you should always look tidy and well-groomed.

In addition to your personal appearance, consider the appearance of your environment. Set up your interview station in a well-lit area, free from clutter and distractions and with no movement in the background. You may want to ask your family or housemates to avoid this area for the duration of your call.

Remember it’s a job interview!

Outside of the technological element of this type of interview, it will likely still be, at its core, a traditional job interview. That means you should prepare for standard interview questions, have examples of positive and challenging experiences ready to explain, and have thoroughly researched the company and role you’re applying for. Jot down any questions you have and remember to be an active participant. The video element may make it feel easier to sit back and wait to be asked questions, but a natural interview will feel more like a conversation.

Don’t be on time, be early

Finally, make sure you’re ready for the interview at least 10 minutes before it begins. Test your equipment, be settled at your workstation and dial into the call early to ensure there are no last-minute connectivity issues.

Pre-interview checklist:

  • Test the interview software you’ll be using
  • Are the microphone and camera working?
  • Is your internet stable? Shut down unnecessary programmes
  • What do you look like in the frame? Are you dressed professionally?
  • Have you got everything you need with you? Keep a pen, notepad and your CV nearby
  • Turn your phone onto silent and shut your door
  • Have you prepared questions to ask your interviewers?

For more interview and job hunting tips, take a look at our blog.

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