Video job interviews are really commonplace now, especially with the increase in remote jobs, as well as the need to keep recruitment ticking over as usual.
If you’re searching and applying for your new customer service role, chances are you’ll be invited to attend your interview for the role online. We’re going to show you how to feel prepared for a synchronous video interview:
- Treat it as a face-to-face interview
- Think about your setup
- What platform is the interviewer using?
- No distractions
- What if something goes wrong?
- What you should wear
- What kind of questions you will be asked
- Can you read from notes?
- Don’t look at yourself on the screen
Firstly, there are two types of video interviews: recorded (one way) and two way.
The first is the recorded interview, a.k.a the asynchronous video. This is where, typically, you’ll be sent a link to record your answers to a specified set of questions. This is the type of video interview where you don’t engage with another.
Then, there’s the two way video interview, a.k.a the interview that happens when you talk to another using a video tool. It’s like a conversation, just online!
1. Treat as a face-to-face interview
This means you need to still dress the part, prepare and rehearse your answers, and conduct yourself exactly as you would in an interview that happens in an office.
I get it. It’s different, it’s another thing to contend with balancing your nerves. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s new for a lot of hiring managers too.
2. Think about your setup
Okay, the basics. You’ll need a computer with a webcam and microphone, and good wi-fi. The room needs to be super quiet. If you live with housemates, give them a heads up beforehand, and leave a note on the door asking for no distractions. You’ll also need to ensure your online presence is professional, and by this I mean you need to ensure you have the right username on screen. (Learn more about this and how to ace a video interview from the BBC).
3. What platform is the interviewer using
Your interviewer should send an invite to the platform they are using to conduct the interview beforehand. This could be something like Zoom or MS Teams, or it could be their recruitment interviewing tool.
As preparation for the interview, have a play around with what you and your setup looks like on camera. Make sure any light is in front of you, not behind – otherwise you’ll get a glare. Try using your headphones (with a mic) to see if that makes your voice clear.
4. No distractions
Let’s start with the most obvious! Put your phone on silent. If you’re using your laptop, make sure your apps/programs are off. The last thing you want, especially if you’re providing a great answer to a question, is for a Whatsapp message from your Mum popping up on screen. (Sorry, Mum!)
5. What if something goes wrong?
There’s always a chance of a hiccup. The most common in a video job interview situation is that your internet connection may drop. But remember, hiring managers will be more than aware that this may happen. But it’s all about how you act.
Think about it, how you act to a sudden drop in connection or the cat jumping on your lap will give your interviewer an insight into how you act under pressure.
Just make sure you’ve got a back up plan – switch to your internet on your phone. Drop your interviewer a message to say you’re reconnecting. Keep calm, you’ve got this!
6. What you should wear
Dress exactly like you would for a face to face interview. I can’t stress this enough. This is important for two reasons.
The first: dressing appropriately will give you an extra level of confidence, it helps to put you in the right mindset.
And secondly, first impressions are EVERYTHING! There’s nothing worse than being caught out.
I’ve heard stories of the interviewee having to get up from their desk to switch their charger on at the mains, only to show that they’ve got jogging bottoms on. They’re wearing a smart top, but they’ve not thought about dressing entirely appropriately. What does that say about them taking things seriously?
7. What kind of questions will you be asked
Just because it’s a video job interview, doesn’t mean the questions you are expected to answer will be different. If your interview requires you to present something, make sure beforehand you know what format you’re okay to create it in (PDF, PowerPoint etc), be well-prepared!
8. Can you read from notes?
Again, think about how you’d act in a face to face interview. Chances are, you wouldn’t rely on notes usually, as they can be a little off-putting. Use them if you need to do so, but limit them. Perhaps have one or two post-it notes with a few details. As soon as you start including lots of notes, you may be tempted to start reading from them and it’s a bit of a distraction.
9. Don’t look at yourself on the screen
I know that it can feel a bit weird, but seriously, make sure you look at the interviewer to show you’re engaged, and this means keeping eye-contact with the camera. Your real emotions/reactions may not be as obvious in a video interview, which means you’ll need to be aware of body language.
Make sure you nod when you agree with something, ensure you smile a lot. Being slightly more energised and aware of how you come across is important. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.
These are just a few tips to help you feel more prepared for a video interview and are rid of those interview nerves and get one step closer to your next role.