Don’t let video kill the interview star

Anyone who's used Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime or other online video chat tools, knows they're great for keeping in touch and reducing time spent travelling to meetings. Recently, video has become a popular and efficient way to conduct job interviews, especially for roles which are further afield or overseas.

Employers are increasingly using video chat to help them speed up the selection and hiring process. It means they can interview more people in a shorter period of time, and they can record them if others involved in the decision-making process cannot be present. It is much more personal than a telephone call and as close as you can get to being in the room together without actually being there. 

Just like any interview you need to prepare, however, there are several differences that you need to take in to account, so here’s some great advice to help make sure your interview streams along without buffering…

  • Test your equipment in advance - When it comes to technology, prepare for all eventualities. Make sure you know who is calling who. Check that your connection, webcam and microphone are working and most importantly of all, that you can log into your account without having to reset your password. A quick dress rehearsal can eliminate some of the pre-interview nerves.
  • Set the scene - Are your surroundings suitable for the interview to take place? Is the room well lit, so that your interviewer can see you clearly? If you have a bright window in the background, they may just see a silhouette. Also, make sure that you have everything you need with you including your CV, a pad and pen, a glass of water and your list of questions for your interviewer.
  • Eliminate interruptions - Let your family/housemates know that you are having an interview and ask them not to disturb you. You may want to stick a sign on the door to remind them! Sit in a room where you can be sure of no interruptions or distractions, such as the dog or cat darting across the table, or the landline ringing. Also, remember to switch your mobile phone on to silent.

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  • Dress to impress - You may be at home or in other familiar surroundings but you still need to look the part. We have all heard the stories of newsreaders looking smart from the waist up but under the table they are still wearing jeans and trainers. Dressing correctly for the interview will also help you get in the right frame of mind.
  • Look at the camera - It’s very tempting to watch the screen, because that’s where your interviewer's face appears. But you want to engage with them which means trying to maintain eye contact, even if the interviewer isn’t looking at you at all times!
  • Try to relax - You are in a familiar setting and you haven’t had to experience the stress of travelling to a strange new office. Take your time, think about your answers carefully before replying and speak clearly. You can’t shake hands with your interviewer but everyone appreciates a warm smile when meeting people – both online and in person.
  • Stay focused - Treat this interview the same as you would if you were actually in the room with your interviewer. Remember that your interviewer can see and hear you at all times, so remember to be professional.
  • Let the interviewer suggest video chat - If you make the suggestion first, they may think you're not eager to invest the time to visit them and could question your interest in the position. Let them suggest it to you.

Hopefully, the above will help you not only prepare for video interviews, but to feel confident when answering that call. For more valuable interview and job searching advice, take a look at our careers blog