We all know that a video interview is a bit of a strange one. The nuances of having a face-to-face conversation when you’re not actually face-to-face are very odd, and this is only made more obvious when it’s an interview with someone you don’t know.
They can be slightly awkward and seem a bit childish, but in today’s technologically-savvy world, they’re always going to crop up and so, without further ado, here’s my guide to navigating the minefield.
You need to prepare exactly as if this was a face-to-face interview. Have notes ready and know exactly what it is you want to talk about. Do your research on the company and have all the basics to your answers (and questions you want to ask) sorted well in advance!
You also will want to become comfortable with the software – video call a friend or relative to get to grips with how to use it, and make sure that when the big day comes around, your computer is set up and Skype/ Microsoft Teams/ Zoom whatever the software, is loaded well in advance to avoid any technical mishaps which could ruin your flow.
You also might want to set the scene – you probably shouldn’t just be lying half-naked in bed whilst hungover from the night before when the interviewer rings. Get your computer on a desk or table, and make sure the part of the room that the interviewer can see is clutter-free and clean – nothing gives a bad impression like half a pizza and an unmade bed in the background.
If possible, angle your camera to face a blank wall and position yourself in front of it. You'll want to dress as you would do if you were meeting them in person, as this is in-place of a face-to-face interview, to show that you’re keen and that you care about how you present yourself. Small things like this can make all the difference!
Oh, and lock your room or shut out any possible disturbances. The last thing you want is your mate walking in eating a Subway whilst you’re trying to impress an employer. Not cool.
Remember, it’s just like a normal interview apart from your face is on the screen. (Yes, your hair looks fine, stop trying to fix it in your own reflection!)
Look at the camera, rather than the screen, if you can, because it looks like you are making better eye contact to your interviewer. Be professional and answer questions clearly and calmly. Remember to keep good posture and don’t fiddle (it’s still really obvious!).
You have to be extra vigilant about remaining completely focused because you can often seem distant through a screen, no matter who it is, so work hard on engaging the interviewer and remaining engaged throughout the interview – do not switch off!
It goes without saying not to be doing other things on your computer at the same time – yes, the interviewer can tell and no, it’s not a good look. Don’t do it.
Be courteous and polite, don’t forget to thank the interviewer and enquire about the next stage. You should send a thank-you note after it’s done as well, some people do this via the software chat, but I think an email seems slightly more professional, so think about that.
Finally, remember that whilst this isn’t an easy process, there are plenty of opportunities to shine, so don’t be afraid to sell yourself!