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Top Tips For A Successful Video Interview

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The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the landscape of the workplace, and, nearly a year into a world of social distancing rules, services such as MS Teams, Zoom and Skype have never been so popular.

The majority of hirers have turned to such services in lieu of being able to interview candidates face to face. In theory, the process remains the same; it’s the same panel of interviewers asking the same questions, with the only difference being that they’re on screen. But, the reality is often that it can feel like a very different experience. While some candidates may relish being able to remain in their own environments surrounded by home comforts, some might not quite feel as comfortable getting to grips with technology or may miss the ability to connect on a more personal level.

Research suggests that video interviews were on the rise even pre-COVID, so it seems fair to say that they’ll likely be here to stay. We’ve compiled our top tips for a successful video interview to help put your mind at ease:

TECHNOLOGY

Ideally a few days in advance, ensure your technology is working and that you have read and understood any joining instructions provided. On the day itself, fully charge your laptop/device and pick a spot where you know the wi-fi signal is most reliable (pro-tip: use a free online checker to check your connection speed).

Take time to familiarise yourself with the chosen video platform. Crucially, get to know where the mute/unmute button is to avoid any awkward moments!

If, during the interview, you are required to screen-share for a presentation, it’s even more advisable to do a practice run, so you can be confident you know which menu options you need to avoid any unnecessary stress at a key moment.  Also, be mindful of any screens which may be visible during a screen-share situation, such as desktop screen-savers, document names and browser tabs.

Use any slight delays in the connection to take a breath and pause before jumping in to your answer.

SURROUNDINGS

You’re unlikely to have predicted that in 2020/2021 you spare bedroom / kitchen table / kid’s playroom would be on show to a potential employer. An interviewer isn’t going to be expecting a pristine office-like background, perhaps they’ll be in the same boat too, but do give thought to what is going to be visible behind you.

Lighting is key, a spot with plenty of natural light is best and have your screen facing away from a window.  

Camera angle is important too, this is easy to adjust on a laptop but if using a tablet or smart phone, it can take a few tries to find the best height and distance combination. You don’t need a fancy stand, just make sure you use a stable surface to prop your device.

For the interview itself, mitigate the risk of any distractions as far as possible; delivery drivers ringing the doorbell, barking dogs and children bursting in with home-schooling questions are less than ideal when you’re mid-way through answering a tricky question.  

DON’T FORGET THE BASICS

Whilst it might not be the traditional interview setting that you’ve experienced previously, it is still an interview. It’s still important to present yourself smartly, smile and make plenty of eye contact (with the screen or camera).

DON’T WORRY IF TECHNOLOGY FAILS

If worst comes to the worst and technology goes wrong, it’s an opportunity to show the interviewer how you handle a tricky situation by remaining calm and collected.

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Do you have any video interview success tips, or even some funny / horror stories? We’d love to hear them, please let us know if the comments below.