Tips on Video Interviewing

We're living through unprecedented times, and social distancing is the one thing we can all do to help. Video calls are the new normal, the hiring process is changing, and it might never change back.

Your next interview might well be a video interview. So, how do you make yourself camera-ready?

Here are eight video interviewing tips that will help you advance to the next round.

You may love interviews (yes, some people really do), or you may find them nerve wracking (whether it's your first time or not). But be reassured: video does not need to add any extra stress. As with face to face interviews, there are just certain nuances to understand. 

1. Preparation and testing

Make sure your computer is working! I know it sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many interviews we have conducted where the candidate's IT is failing them, from their speakers not working to their webcam being broken.

Test everything a few days early and do a dummy run with friend or family member. This is a must, as you need to position your webcam, get the sound right and the sitting position in your house/flat. Download any plugins you may need. Check your volume controls.

If you are using Skype or another platform, do make sure you have a username that is professional.

2. Power up

If you can, try to NOT use a smartphone for video interviews. If you are using your desktop or laptop, make sure it is plugged in and make sure you pick a spot that has strong Wi-Fi. You do not want to keep dropping in and out. If you use a tablet, find a stand for it so it does not appear shaky and you can focus on the interview, and not holding your tablet!

3. Dress for the occasion

You may be at home, and they cannot see your bottom half, but we always recommend dressing with care from head to toe just as you would for a face to face interview. This will make you feel so much more confident.

Top tip: do be sure to try your interview outfit out on your technical dummy run ahead of time.

4. No distractions, no clutter

Set your meeting up away from any distractions: children, pets or housemates. Place a sign on the door to notify deliveries if you are expecting one.

Make sure that your surroundings are clutter-free, neat and tidy. You do not want your new potential employer to see your dirty laundry piled up. Set yourself up in a position that has good lighting: but not too bright or harsh. Natural light is the best.

Lots of people forget to turn off their phone (call and text) and any alerts or notifications from email or social media. You do not want any interruptions, and it's just as unwelcome to have devices making noise as it would be in a physical interview.

5. Be prepared & early 

Would you turn up to your face to face late? I hope the answer is no! So, do not do the same on video. Log in 5-10 minutes early. That way you can be calm and prepared that all the above steps you have taken are in place. Have the job spec next to you and a copy of your CV, also have a bottle of water you never know how long you might be! The great thing about being at home is you can have all your questions at the side of you and any hints or tips you might need so you can jog your memory if needed.

Expect to field some common interview questions, including:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?

We have more about interview questions here, and specific advice for interviews in PR here.

6. Body language

Do not look at yourself on the video. Focus as you would normally: on the face of the person that is talking to you. Hold eye contact, and do not let your eyes wonder around your room. Have good posture, keep your back straight, and when talking trying not to wave your arms around. Remember that your interviewer is seeing less of you, and almost all gestures will be missed.

7. Projection and pace

You should have already checked volume for speaking and listening, and know how to adjust quickly. Do not shout, just speak clearly and normally as you would in an interview.

One thing to get used to is the slight delay that you might experience. Be sure that the interviewer has finished their sentence before you respond. It is OK to pause to think about your answer. Unless you are incredibly calm, then things will actually be happening a little faster than you perceive them to be.  

8. Thank them!

As you would with any interview, thank them for their time at the end. I always think it is also essential to follow up with a thank you e-mail. In this note you would re-iterate why you are interested in the job and why you think you would be a great match for the company.

Top tip: think about adding something that you and the interviewer discussed in the meeting, to make the message personal.

If you need to know more, get in touch

Over the last few months we may have got more used to this interaction, I know this is how I have been hanging out with work colleagues, business associates, friends and family. It's  the new norm. If you would like any advice, please do not hesitate to call me.

Justyne, PR Futures