Video interviews have become commonplace since the start of the pandemic and will remain a popular hiring tool in the future. Preparing for a virtual interview is similar to getting ready for a face-to-face one because the questions you will be asked and the ways you should conduct yourself are the same. There are a few additional things to take into consideration when video interviewing, including checking your technology, looking your best on camera and how to maintain proper eye-contact.
Think carefully about the most suitable place to sit when you are being interviewed. It needs to be a quiet space with no interruptions and a reliable internet connection. Also think about the backdrop and surrounding areas; they need to be tidy and not divert the interviewer’s attention or make you look slovenly. Make sure that you get rid of any potentially embarrassing or offensive belongings lying around in the background; your interviewer needs to concentrate on you and not be distracted by the background, especially by anything that could reflect badly on you.
A video interview follows the same rules and format as a face-to-face interview, so it’s a good idea to wear the same outfit you’d wear if you were going in person. Being professionally dressed will also make you feel more confident and put you in the right frame of mind.
Don’t be tempted to skip the bottom half of your interview clothes just because you’re only visible from the waist up. You won’t feel as professional if you’re wearing pyjama bottoms and if you forget and get up for some reason, it won’t look good…
Embarrassing interruptions that interfere with the smooth running of your interview are best avoided as much as possible. You want an interviewer to see you’re serious about their role so show you’re prepared.
Apart from arranging childcare or putting dogs, cats or the iguana in another room, also make sure that you close all other programmes on your computer, switch off your phone and turn off any televisions, radios or music. Any background noise is distracting and will make you look disorganised.
Looking at the camera
Eye contact is important in any kind of interview, but video calls make it a lot harder to follow because you need to focus on looking directly at the camera. It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you look directly at the interviewer on the screen, it might feel like you’re making good eye contact, but all they’ll see is you looking down.
Although you’re not in the same room as your interviewer physically, body language is still important. Sit up straight, look attentive, be enthusiastic and smile. Remember to not cover your mouth or wave your arms around too much. If you’re prone to over-using hand gestures, it’s best to hold a pen or sit on your hands.
Practice makes perfect
Having a video interview trial run is not only important for assessing the best body language and practicing your answers, but also to test your equipment; get used to your software as well as check the best angle for your webcam, the best height of your chair and the speed of your connection. If you get the chance, perhaps also do a trial run with a friend so that you can gain an impression of how you look and sound from the perspective of a potential interviewer.
Laura Bruford and Jennifer Shorten are directors of Lioness Recruitment.