Mastering Video Interviews…

So…. you don’t like video interviews? Well, let me share a little secret – most people don’t!  

Building rapport, establishing common ground and creating the overall ‘likeability’ factor is hard when you’re at the other end of the screen right? You can’t read body language nearly as effectively as the face to face equivalent and perhaps, it’s getting in the way of you securing that next position…  

Given world events in 2020, it’s understandable that one of the ways we’ve been able to attempt to continue with the way we interact with each other is moving from the physical to the virtual. Plus, think of just some of the upsides; 

  1. It’s cheap 
  2. It saves huge amounts of time 
  3. Less commitment involved for people i.e. no travel time 
  4. Interviews can be recorded and allow for a quicker recruitment process 
  5. You can interview for that Board level job in your pants and slippers 

Ok, maybe that last point is taking it too far, but you can see why video interviewing is here to stay. 

So, what can we do to up our game with respect to nailing your next video interview? 

Here are some tips and perhaps more unusual bits of advice I’ve picked up along the way that you can implement… 

  • Give eye contact by looking into the camera lens, not at their face on the screen. This is a simple but common trap many fall into. By looking at your camera rather than the screen you will be creating a greater connection to your interviewer.  
  • Check your account username on Zoom or MS Teams – is it professional? Barry ‘the beer guzzler’ Smith isn’t going to cut it. I’ve made this mistake myself once by accidentally logging on to a Roundtable Virtual event under my Wife’s name – Oops!
  • Prior to the interview, pick up the product or experience the customer journey and you’ll be able to talk more enthusiastically when on screen with the prospective employer – it also shows you’ve put in the effort, it’s surprising how many people don’t do this! 
  • Turn off your alerts or any notifications – nothing more annoying than a ‘ping’ or ‘buzzing’ every few minutes and plus, it’s very distracting for all parties. Your friends latest TikTok video can wait!
  • Get yourself comfortable. Perhaps stand rather than sit and make sure the Camera is pointing slightly down at you rather than pointing up…. no one wants to see up your nostrils! 
  • Lighting is critical, get as much natural light in as possible. The light should always be in front of you and on your face, not behind you as you’ll appear dark and in shade.
  • Smart casual dress is very acceptable with a video interview. Wearing your 3-piece suit at home just looks weird and it can make for uncomfortable viewing.
  • Test your equipment out prior to the interview. This includes the internet connection, the microphone, the video quality etc. You don’t want to get surprised once the meeting takes place.  
  • Your background is important but doesn’t need to be staged – bookshelves, some art or a plant often set the scene well. I’m not a fan of the virtual backgrounds, be authentic. You’re not on a beach under a palm tree or equally in a New York Skyscraper.
  • Think about your body language, keeping a good posture and an upbeat mood is one way to convey optimism and give an overall positive vibe to your interviewer. It’s no bad thing to feel like we are exaggerating this element, as we lose a lot due to the virtual nature.
  • Have your CV, key achievements and any other useful preparation notes close by. These can be out of shot but available to refer to should you need them.   

The final point I would make is to remember the person interviewing you is probably experiencing similar feelings as you are, it’s a format people are still getting comfortable with and learning from. It’s always been a skill to interview effectively, allowing people to feel comfortable so you can get the best from them.

Interviewers are also learning new skills and adapting to how-to video interview effectively.

It’s important to relax, enjoy the experience and be authentic.

What mistakes or learnings have you got from video interviewing? 

Have you done an interview in your pants and slippers?  

Please share any advice!

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