On our previous blogs, you may have seen lots of tips and advice when attending traditional face-to-face job interviews (see our page on surviving an interview). We know that with the rise of technology and recruiters using this to their advantage, video interviews are becoming increasingly more common, especially in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many people may not have conducted a video or virtual job interview before, therefore we have created the following guide, giving you all our top tips.
Basic interview rules still apply
If your job interview is being held by video, you still need to ensure you prepare like you would for a face-to-face interview.
- Do your research. Make sure you still research the company, their market, products and competitors – you will not be able to google search part-way through the interview since the interviewer will be able to see and hear you typing.
- Read the job description. Carefully look through the job spec to see what the job entails, you can use this as a basis when highlighting your key skills and how they relate to your potential new job.
- Correct attire. Dress as though you’re attending an onsite interview - from top to bottom! Looking your best helps you to feel more confident and reinforces a positive impression. Avoid patterns and stripes if possible – solid colours come across better on camera.
- Don’t be late. If the interview starts at 11 am, be ready 10 minutes beforehand – there is no reason such as heavy traffic or a late train to not be on time.
- Know who you are meeting. Find out the name(s) of who is your conducting your interview and their job title(s) – perhaps have a look on LinkedIn to find out more information about your potential future colleagues.
- Practice interview questions. Predict beforehand questions which the interviewer may ask you and think of your answers, there is a great list here – Questions asked in an interview and don’t forget your Questions to ask. If you want notes, these are best on paper rather than reading from a screen – although try not to rely on them.
Have your technology ready
Ensure you have everything set up and ready to go to conduct the interview and do this in good time – it can take longer than you think.
- Install any apps or software you need and check they are working – some apps may need you to create an individual account for their service and again, this takes time. Make sure you have the invitation to join the virtual meeting if required.
- Take ten minutes getting familiar with new software if you haven’t used it before. Look through the settings and ensure you are comfortable with how it works.
- Test for audio and video quality beforehand. A run through with a friend, family member or colleague prior to the interview will make things easier when you come to the live event.
- A strong Wi-Fi signal and a full charge of your battery (if applicable) are essential and keep your charger nearby for emergencies. Some apps can use a surprising amount of battery life.
Consider where you will be positioned when conducting the interview. You want to be comfortable and without distraction, which brings us to the first point:
- Find a quiet part of your house where you will not be disturbed. Tell family members or housemates that you are off-limits and they need to keep the noise down. We all remember the now famous BBC News interview with Robert Kelly which was gatecrashed by his children!
- Your interview location should be well-lit, with your meeting essentials within arm’s reach.
- Make your background as plain and decluttered as possible. A plain white wall behind you is ideal. Avoid sitting with a window behind you as this can cast a shadow over your face making it difficult to see you.
- If you’re using your iPhone or tablet, set it up on a stable platform and avoid going hand-held. As said before, test the video and the camera angle, repositioning where necessary.
Video interview software
There are a few different options when it comes to video conferencing, your interviewer or recruitment agency will inform you of which one you will be using and how you will be invited to join.
Some common video call software includes:
- Skype – One of the most well know internet calling apps. You log in using your Microsoft credentials (such as Hotmail or Office 365 account).
- Zoom – A real-time messaging and video conferencing app. You can sign up for a Zoom account or join via an email invitation or meeting ID.
- Hangouts – This is Google’s communications software which includes text, voice and video chat. You can use your Google account (Gmail address) to sign in but which you also need to provide to the interviewer.
- WhatsApp – Most commonly used on smartphones, WhatsApp supports individual and group chats and video calling. However, there is also a desktop app available which can pair with the WhatsApp account on your mobile. You do not need to create an account, just a phone number to set it up.
- Microsoft Teams – This program is part of Microsoft Office and widely used across many organisations. You may not have an Office 365 account, but no need to worry. The interview organiser can send you an invite via email so you can join as a guest.
Other video interview tips
- Consider slight delays and take time to respond to ensure the interviewer has finished speaking. Use short, concise statements to accommodate for slight audio or video lag. Doing so also gives the interviewer an opportunity to ask questions so that you’re not talking over each other.
- Be engaged. You still want to act as if you are meeting your potential employer face-to-face. Smile, make eye contact (with the web camera, not the screen), be personable and use confident, professional body language such as sitting up straight and not leaning your head on your hands. Slouching on the sofa would not be a good idea….
If you have any questions about video interviews, then we at b3 would be more than happy to help. Good luck!