How to Prepare for a Video Interview

December 18, 2020

Until recently, video interviews were a rare exception, now it’s an expected part of the interview process. Preparing for a video interview is different to preparing for a face-to-face interview. We speak to Shey Crompton, Associate Director and Test Lead, on his experience of video interview processes.

“I used to use the commute to an interview as a mental switch to interview mode. The journey was a lead up to a climax of being ‘interview person’. Now I’ve had to come up with new methods.”

What are your top tips for video interviews?

1.     Prepare your desk so that it’s clear and tidy, and you have everything you could need. I always make sure to have a notebook and 2 pens, and my phone in another room on Do Not Disturb.

2.     The device you’re conducting the call on is an extension of your desk. Make sure you have all unnecessary windows and apps closed, notification sounds off, and no ‘embarrassing’ tabs open on your browser in case you’re asked to share your screen.

3.     Set up your camera beforehand and have a look to see what’s behind you. For instance, behind me I have a few Christmas decorations, a plant and some books that show my hobbies outside of work. Don’t assume your virtual background will work either as there might be a technical error.

4.     Make sure your camera and video feed are in line with your eyesight by using a stand or a stack of books. That way you’re not looking down and straining your neck, and it’s easier to make eye contact.

5.     Of course, it’s best to avoid any interruptions, but sometimes it’s inevitable when you’re interviewing from home and have other people in at the time. Don’t stress if you do get interrupted by the doorbell, children, or whatever else. If there could be an interruption, mention it at the beginning of the interview. If you do get interrupted, acknowledge it, refocus and then continue. I can guarantee the interviewers have experienced the same!

Are there any benefits to a video interview over a face-to-face interview?

The main perk is that you can have documents open on your screen whilst you’re interviewing. I find it’s helpful to have the job description and my CV open at the same time, that way I can directly reference something quicker. I also recommend using post-it notes with questions and points you want to make and stick them around your screen. It’s a great way to remind yourself of key areas to cover!

What are some interview techniques you’ve had to change?

  • Walk around the block for 10 minutes beforehand. I used to use the commute to an interview as a mental switch to interview mode – that journey is a lead up to a climax of being ‘interview person’. Fresh air will help you clear your mind of clutter and refocus for your interview.
  • Eat a snack in advance so you don’t get hunger pangs, and make sure you have a drink for during your interview. I recommend having two, a glass of water and a hot drink as you can get quite thirsty with all the talking.
  • Not really a new technique but change your clothes.  Dressing smart makes a great first impression and changes your mindset to interview mode. This applies to both top and bottom – don’t make the mistake of wearing your pyjama bottoms just because they’re not on screen! You might have to get up to move something or grab something you’ve forgotten.
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

There are positives and negatives to video interviews. Whilst you don’t get to see the working environment and company culture first-hand, you do get to showcase somewhat more of your personality. Being in your own home as well does ease some interview nerves. Video interviews are more personal than meeting in an office environment. Your interviewers are also in their own homes, allowing you to see their personal space too.

My number 1 tip for any interview is to remember that you are also interviewing them. You’re not the only one in the hot seat! Go in there with a sure mind of the type of company and individuals you want to work with and grill them on that. It’s important to ensure the role is the right fit for you, and not just that you are the right fit for them.

If you would like further support on interview preparation, visit our CV Writing and Career Coaching page Arrange a meeting today with one of our experts and discuss how we can support you.

Written by Phoebe Blair, and Shey Crompton

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