Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

10 Tips for Nailing Your Next Video Interview

By Mark Wilkinson | Feb 23, 2016 | Candidate Tips

Girl and cat looking into computer screenMore and more hiring managers are turning to video technologies to interview job candidates (and cull them early on in the process).

Why? Because they want to SEE who they’re talking to. You can’t really get a genuine ‘feel’ for a person over the telephone.

I know; that’s incredibly daunting – right? Someone judging you by what you look like on a screen?

(During the few video calls I’ve ever made, I couldn’t stop staring at my confused face at the bottom of the screen and wishing it would disappear!)

Unfortunately, during your search for a dream job, you may be asked to ‘attend’ a video interview, so this week, I thought I’d give you some tips on how to do it well!

When will this happen?

Video interviews typically take place in the following scenarios…

Scenario 1: In place of a telephone interview at the start of the process (so interviewers get an idea of what you look like, immediately).

Scenario 2: As a substitute to a face-to-face interview for very long-distant candidates (very rare).

Scenario 1 is far more common, so we’ll be focussing on that in this post.

(If you need some tips on telephone interviews too then click here.)

1. Prepare your equipment.

A young busnessman is using his smartphone to video himselfFirst things first, you’re going to have to set up a Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple (or similar) account.

Remember, this is still an interview, so make sure your screen name and email address look professional (no “hazzababe2002s” etc.).

You can use your tablet or phone but I’d personally recommend using a laptop. It’s more sturdy, less likely to wobble and the screen is bigger so you’ll be able to see multiple participants (if necessary).

You will also need a microphone, webcam and speakers (or headphones).

(Can you imagine trying to hold up a phone, steadily, for an hour?)

2. Check everything (twice).

So, you’ve set up your account, you’ve got your equipment, now you need to check it all (twice).

It will make you look unorganised if a potential employer video-calls you and they can’t hear/see you (or vice versa) so check your webcam, microphone and speakers are working.

Why not get a family member or friend (in another room) to ring you, to try it out!

3. Prepare your location.

You absolutely MUST make sure that you’re in a good location during your video interview.

Try and find a quiet place, where you know you won’t get interrupted and that reflects the importance of the call.

Recruiter Pro Tip

I would suggest sitting at a dining room table/ office desk at home.

This will ensure that your laptop is sturdy, at the right eye level and will give an air of professionalism and seriousness to the interview.

If you’re sat slumped into a low sofa or your bed, you’re going to look a little too chilled out!

It’s also not going to impress your interviewer if you’re sat in a crowded coffee house, getting distracted by other customers and your coffee – believe me.

4. Warn your house-mates.

In the same vein, you should definitely warn your house-mates/family/partner that you are taking part in an interview and that they shouldn’t disturb you!

Can you imagine how off-putting a half-naked man; fishing food from the fridge behind you might be for interviewers?

Disturbances from other people will not only look a little unprofessional, but it will put the whole rhythm of the interview off and is bound to put you off your game.

5. Put the pets away.

Photo of woman holding her pet while working at home with laptop, calculator, cell phone and papers on top of table and large windows in backgroundOk – this is actually not a joke.

For those of you who own furry little friends, do try to keep them in a separate room while you’re interviewing.

Just like human beings, animals can be disruptive and distracting to you and your interviewers.

I’ve personally heard a few ‘meows’ in my time!

6. Remove any other distractions.

Seriously, switch off your telephone/s (house and/or mobile).

Make sure you’re not signed in to any other sites on your laptop (Emails/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc.)  the notifications will put you off.

And NEVER leave the television on in the background (yes, we can totally see your eyes darting up above your screen!)

Basically, just remove anything or anyone who could possibly distract you, in any way (not easy)!

7. Give yourself enough time.

rude man checking time during video interviewAn average first-stage, fact-finding video interview will last roughly 30 minutes…

Unless of course, you’re really wowing your interviewers and can keep them chatting for longer, which is great!

Make sure you have enough time to keep the conversation going, without worrying about other commitments, plans or interruptions (like half-naked people)!

I’d recommend putting aside one hour at least!

8. Do your research (properly).

It’s true – video interviews are a lot more relaxed than face-to-face ones but that really, really doesn’t mean that you can get away without doing some sort of preparation.

At the very least be prepared to answer basic questions like…

  • Do you remember the role?
  • Why did you decide to apply?
  • Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your current situation?
  • Why are you leaving your current workplace?
  • Why do you think you’re right for the role?

But in actual fact, I would recommend preparing just as thoroughly as you would for a face-to-face interview!

(Hopefully, you’re going to have to eventually – why not start as you mean to go on?)

If you’d like some more tips on what exactly you should prepare for interviews, click here.

9. Dress to impress.

woman in casual clothes during video interviewI always recommend that my candidates dress up smartly during video interviews.

Just because you’re not face-to-face with someone, doesn’t mean you should look unprofessional; it makes you seem too relaxed and possibly even uninterested in the position.

Wear a suit (at least on the top half) and you’ll look and feel more professional and ready for your interview.

10. Smile (like you mean it).

I know, video interviews can be dead nerve-racking; not many people actually like being seen on-screen!

But you’ve got pull yourself together, relax your body language and SMILE!

At the end of the day, you don’t want to come across stern, rigid and boring, do you?

So there you have it…

10 tips for nailing your next video interview…

If you stick to all of the above, you really should be fine and if not, don’t worry, practice makes perfect. There’s always next time.

If you’d like some more tips on how to smash interviews and boost your job search, click here to sign up to this blog today – we’ll send over a short weekly update with our latest post.

Want more video interview tips?

Still feeling nervous? Are you the type of person who wants as much information and guidance as humanly possible before “attending” an interview? (Me too.)

Here are a three more great articles to give you a helping hand…

Enjoy and good luck.

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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