The use of video during the interview process has become more and more common in recent years. If you have not yet had the pleasure of participating in a video interview, you likely will soon. But what should you expect from a video interview? And what is the best way to prepare for one?
Thanks to rapid advances in video technology in recent years, companies are increasingly looking to video interviews to reach the maximum number of candidates, whilst at the same time saving time and money for both the business and the candidates.
The prospect of a video interview can understandably be a cause of concern for some candidates, however with the right preparation a video interview need not be any more nerve-wracking than a regular interview. The following guide will provide insight into various points to think about if you have an upcoming video interview, as well as offer some tips to assist you to present the best version of yourself.
VIDEO INTERVIEW TYPES
Video interviews can take a number of forms. The most common of which are live interviews and taped interviews.
Live video interviews
Live interviews are very similar to regular interviews, except that they are conducted on an online platform such as Skype, Zoom or Google Hangout. They usually follow a similar format to a regular interview where you are seated in front of one or more interviewer, responding to questions – the only difference being that you are looking at a screen.
Accessing the interview is usually fairly straightforward as the interviewer will most likely send you a link or an invite, or just call you on your account. Some things to note would be making sure that you have the required software on your device (if any is needed) and that your username and profile picture are work appropriate. If they are not, it might be wise to set up a new account to use for career related purposes.
Taped video interviews
Taped interviews are on the increase recently, particularly as part of the screening process for larger organisations. They usually take the form of pre-selected interview questions, either written or pre-recorded in video format, to which you record a video response. There is usually a set amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds or a minute) in which to record your answer. Sometimes you will be allowed just one attempt to answer, other times you may have unlimited attempts.
It is important not to let the slightly unnatural format of this type of interview put you off. Sitting and talking to a camera with no person in the room can feel odd at times so it is helpful to do some practice runs, ideally with the questions that will be asked in the interview. If you do not have these, practicing some typical interview questions will help you to become familiar with the feeling of talking into a camera. You can then also review the video and adjust as necessary.
TIPS FOR A GREAT VIDEO INTERVIEW
Always be sure to test your technology in plenty of time for the interview. Familiarise yourself with how your webcam and microphone work, make sure everything is in working order and that you fully understand how to use it. Getting the volume right on your microphone is also important, so make sure to check this during your practice runs. Check internet connections, close any unnecessary programs and make sure that your device is running smoothly.
Of course, it is of utmost importance to make sure that your device is plugged in and/or fully charged, you do not want any unexpected dropouts!
Prep your surroundings
It is helpful to have a source of light behind your device/camera so that your face is properly illuminated. Ideally this would be natural light from a window, but if this is not possible a carefully positioned lamp should do the trick.
It is also a good idea to make sure that the background against which you will be speaking is neutral and free of clutter. Do your best to prevent any unexpected interruptions (children, pets, etc.).
Dress for success
Make sure to dress professionally, as you would for any interview. Despite the temptation, and even though the interviewer is only likely to see your top half, it is a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.
It is best to avoid bright colours/patterns and, if possible it is a good idea to stay away from solid black/white as these can sometimes interfere with the contrast of the camera, leading to overly dark or bright video. It can be a good idea to stick to solid colours, but make sure you feel comfortable in what you are wearing.
If possible, position the camera so that you are looking up slightly, as this is an optimum angle in most cases! Make sure that during the interview you look directly into the camera and not at the person’s face on the screen too much as your eye line will be slightly off if you do the latter. Once again, practice makes perfect for this!
Of course, be sure to follow all the regular etiquette that you would before and during any other interview. Make sure you arrive (or at least are available) early, remember to smile and be respectful to everyone that you encounter and most importantly try to remain calm and present as well as you can!
As with any interview, wrap up by thanking the interviewer for their time and follow up with a thank you note, if appropriate.
Always remember, it is completely normal to feel nervous when heading into an interview, be it face to face or video. A video element to the interview can add to your nerves, so it is important to prepare well and like other skills, you will improve with practice.
If you take time to prepare and follow the tips above, you are more likely to make a great impression and enhance your job search capabilities. The team here at deliberatepractice are always here to assist and guide you, so please feel free to reach out to us if we can help at all.
Finally, and most of all, good luck!