Top tips for video interviews

Graduate employers are increasingly turning to video interviews as an important part of the selection process. To the employer the benefits are clear: it is an efficient way to process higher volumes of applications and it is easier to standardize the experience. However, for the interviewee, they can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking.  With careful preparation and practice this need not be the case.  Many of the same rules apply as for face to face interviews, but it is important to be aware of some of the nuances of a video interview.

Types of Video Interview:

The video interview can take one of two forms, either live or recorded.  For the live video interview the company could use e.g. Skype or may even have access to a system like e.g. HireVue or TakeTheInterview, that does live interviews and also acts as an internal candidate tracking and screening tool.

For the recorded interview there is typically a link to a page where you can record answers to a pre-selected or pre-recorded set of interview questions, giving you a set amount of time in which to respond.  You may also be given more than one attempt to fine-tune your answer.

Whatever the format, the experience is completely manageable if you follow the INTERVIEW ADVANTAGE’S TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESS AT VIDEO INTERVIEWING:

  1. Understand the format of the interview i.e. live versus recorded. In the case of the latter, know if you are going to have the option to edit your responses.
  2. Dress appropriately and professionally. Treat as per a face to face interview. Just because only your top half may be visible, avoid leaving the bottom half to chance and remaining in your PJ bottoms! You need to feel the part to look the part.
  3. Prepare your surroundings. Make sure the background is tidy and organized, with nothing incriminating on display.
  4. Avoid interruptions. Find a quiet spot and let any house-mates know that you will be on an important call.  (Everyone remembers the Skype interview that went viral last year where the BBC correspondent is interrupted by his toddler and au pair!  Amusing but toe-curlingly embarrassing.
  5. Body Language – again as per face to face, avoid any annoying mannerisms e.g. hair flicking, excessive hand gesticulating, or twitches. If possible record yourself and watch back for any slippages.
  6. Look at the camera not the screen. It might be necessary to elevate the computer as you want the camera just above eye-line.  This means that you will have proper eye-contact with the interviewer rather than looking down (see Tech run through point 10).
  7. Smile – a very under-rated skill but do give the impression that you are pleased that you are being considered for the role and not filled with complete dread.
  8. As per a face to face interview, it is important to give considerable thought to the likely questions that will be posed. Full research into the company and the role is essential.  It is also important to prepare numerous examples of where you have ably demonstrated evidence of the company’s key competencies.
  9. Check that you have a good internet connection. Avoid using WiFi unless you are a couple of feet from the router.  Being connected physically to the router via a network cable is the safest option.
  10. Do a tech run-through.
  • Check mic is working
  • Close out any browser tabs/programmes
  • Make sure you’re not inadvertently downloading anything
  • Elevate computer
  • Use software that gives manual control over the webcam e.g. IGlasses which can lock exposure and adjust colour balance (you may as well look your best).

It is important to remember that someone viewing a video-recording of an interview will be more critical than a live interviewer who is paying attention in the here and now.  So by mitigating technical, camera and body language related factors, you improve the odds that they will focus more on the substance of your responses.

It is easier said than done, but if you follow these preparation tips you should be in a position to be enthusiastic about the experience rather than daunted, which will ultimately lead to success.

Good luck.