The coronavirus pandemic has affected businesses across the globe, and with the extraordinary measures implemented by the UK government in such a short space of time, many of us have been caught off guard. Workflows have been disrupted and normal hiring practices have been thrown out the window, in favour of video interviewing.
With major tech companies such as Google and Facebook confirming that their interview processes are now taking place online, and many other companies following suit, the way we compete for work is changing, radically.
If you have yet to be asked to participate in a video interview, it is likely that you will now, making it more important than ever before to know what you are doing in front of the camera.
So, if you are not well versed in video interviewing, what can you do to ensure your success? We have collated advice from industry experts to ensure you make your video interview a resounding success.
1. Video Interviewing: Preparation
As with a traditional face to face interview, your interview preparation is crucial to your success. Make sure you have understood who the company is, what they do, their values and their trajectory. Study the job description, their social media profiles and their Linkedin pages.
It is also critical that you know your CV inside out. Know your strengths, your areas of development and what you have learnt from your experience to date. Come prepared with examples of your work and answers to competency based questions such as, ‘Tell me about a time when you had to work as part of a cohesive team’’. (Click here for more interview tips)
2. Check your connection, technology and set up prior to your video interview.
This is perhaps the most important part of your video interview preparation – checking your WIFI connection. Whether you are using Zoom, Skype or WebEx, your internet connection is the only thing standing between you and a flowing conversation with your counterpart. Check everything is working at least 30 minutes prior to your video interview. If you experience any problems, don’t panic. Email the interviewer and keep them in the loop while you are fixing the problem.
Top tip: If you have a good data plan, hotspot your laptop off your phone for a smooth running interview connection.
Always make sure your laptop is charged up. Our advice would be to keep it plugged in throughout your video interview. Make sure any required plugins have been downloaded and that your camera and microphone are in good working order. Do a test run with a socially distanced family member a few hours or days before to check your setup and connection.
3. Check your environment
This is also very important. Make sure you are somewhere quiet with minimal distractions in the background. Lock yourself away in a room in front of a plain background if you can. Make sure the house phone is on silent or off the hook, all animals (and children) are out of the room and there is good lighting (sit towards natural light rather than having it behind you).
Make sure any parts of the room that are visible on camera are neat and tidy with minimal distractions. Throughout your video interview, you want the interviewer to be focused entirely on you.
Top tip: If you are using Zoom, you can set a virtual background or blur out the background behind you.
If you are struggling to find somewhere quiet, use headphones with a microphone and explain your situation at the beginning of the call with an apology, e.g you may have building works going on next door.
4. Dress for success!
Despite interviewing from home, do not go for a shirt, blazer and PJ combo! Dress as if you were going to a traditional face to face interview. This will help promote a success mindset and make you feel like a high achieving professional, confident in your abilities.
5. Video Interviewing: Turn up early!
Sit down to your interview 10 minutes early. Log on, make sure you have your CV printed and set down beside you, along with the job description and speaking points. Don’t type out essays of notes, instead, have bullet points that you can glance at quickly.
Expect interview questions like:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What’s your expected salary?
6. The Video Interview: Eye contact, posture and body language
As with traditional interviews, this is an opportunity for you to really showcase your experience, abilities and potential for the role. An important part of building that rapport is how you carry yourself on camera. In place of a handshake, give a warm greeting with a smile or a wave if you feel comfortable in doing so. Maintain good eye contact throughout (it is easy for us to get distracted on camera). Always look directly at the camera rather than the screen and try to avoid looking at your own photo. Make sure your face is centred in the screen and try not to move around too much. Sit up straight holding a good posture, with your feet on the ground and your arms resting in your lap or on the desk.
A common trap with video interviewing is that people tend to relax too much as they feel comfortable in their own home. While feeling relaxed is good, make sure your responses and presentation remain professional throughout the interview.
Keep your answers concise and try to avoid telling long convoluted stories. There is no harm in taking a breath and a pause before you answer a question, to gather your thoughts. Always use examples from your experience and previous roles to demonstrate your skills in question.
Remember, with video interviewing, sometimes there is a delay, especially if you are interviewing internationally, so speak slowly and clearly, avoid rushing and long sentences. Always let the interviewer finish their questions before answering.
7. Video Interviewing: Questions to ask
From your homework and background research, make sure you have a list of three to four questions that you would like to ask at the end. One of the drawbacks of video interviewing, is that compared to a face to face interview, you do not get a sense of the company culture or the team dynamics so it is really important to ask those questions, to help you feel more confident in what the company is all about.
If this is your first interview with the company in question, avoid talking about salary in your first few questions, and always end your video interview with asking what the next steps are so you know what to expect.
8. Video Interviewing: How to close
Just as you would in a traditional interview, make sure you thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity.
Follow up with a post interview thank you email within 24 hours of your video call. In your follow up, briefly reiterate why you are interested in the role and why you believe you would be a great fit for the company. If anything personal was shared during the interview, include that here: e.g your interviewer has an upcoming birthday or anniversary etc.
Any form of interview is never easy and we understand how nerve wracking it can be. But if you follow our top tips outlined above, we have no doubt your video interview will be a huge success.