Video interview tips - 11 ways to impress the hiring manager

Video interview tips - 11 ways to impress the hiring manager

Video interview

If you are looking for a new job, chances are that it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be asked to participate in a video interview. After all, in today’s working climate, video chat services are normal parts of the interview process. A Skype interview, or a Zoom or Teams interview, allows employers to interview candidates regardless of where they are located. 

While video interviewing has become a common recruitment tool, not everyone is comfortable on camera. To ensure your suitability as a candidate shines through in your next video interview, you need to prepare appropriately – and this requires you to move beyond in-person interview best practice and plan for a whole new set of variables. 

To help, we share the following 11 video interview tips for a successful video job interview.

1. Prepare everything in good time

First and foremost, think about where you are going to have your video interview. A home office is ideal, but if you do not have a separate home office, your bedroom, dining room or kitchen could make appropriate settings, provided the frame behind you is uncluttered and distraction-free. After all, the interviewer’s attention needs to be firmly on you, not on the view behind you. Ideally the location you select will have a door you can close so that children, housemates or pets do not walk in during your interview. Let other people in your house know ahead of time that you have a video interview, and then close the door to minimise any external noise.

If you plan to use a tablet or phone for your video interview, invest in a stand or use a sturdy piece of furniture to rest your device on. Even if you have control of your nerves, your hands will likely shake at some point during a lengthy interview, which can be very distracting for your interviewer.

Consider the lighting in the room too, which must be bright enough for the interviewer to see you. If there is a bright light source directly behind you, move it as you will otherwise appear as a shadowy silhouette. If there is a light source in front of your face, make sure it isn’t shining directly in your eyes.

2. Create a professional profile

There are many different potential platforms that your interviewer could use for the job interview. You may, for instance, be invited to a Skype interview. Or, perhaps, you are asked to attend a Zoom or Teams interview. Either way, once you know what platform will be used, download the necessary app and, if required, make sure you create a professional profile. In most cases, the first thing that your interviewer will see is your profile photo and username, so ensure both are suitable and depict you in a professional light.

3. Consider a virtual background 

If you are not satisfied with the background behind you, consider blurring or customising it. Most video call platforms allow you to select a background effect, while there are also various free virtual background apps. These allow you to present a more professional image to your virtual interview so that the interviewer is focusing all their attention on you, not your background. 

4. Do a trial run

Check your internet connection, sound and picture quality by making practice calls to a friend or family member the day before your interview. Your interviewer will likely have a busy schedule and you won’t make a good impression if you need to adjust your equipment during the interview.

This is also a good opportunity to run through possible interview questions and answers and receive feedback from a trusted friend or family member.

If you can’t enlist the help of someone to run through this with you, record yourself on video answering potential interview questions. While this may feel strange initially, it’s a helpful way to see how your body language and intonation translate over camera, while allowing you to test the quality of your sound, lighting and video.

5. Look into the webcam

It’s important to take the time to become comfortable looking directly into the webcam. Avoid the temptation of looking at your own image on the screen and instead look into the camera so that you maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Don’t forget to smile at the same time as this will help you build rapport.

6. Keep notes off screen

It is perfectly acceptable to refer briefly to notes but keep them out of shot during your video interview. They should also be brief and used only as springboards or prompts. Do not be tempted to read from them word for word, but instead hold eye contact with your interviewer and speak freely.

7. Join the interview early

Just as you would turn up early to a physical interview, have everything in place at least 10 minutes before your video interview is due to commence. It’s just as unprofessional to leave an interviewer waiting online as it is in the interview room. So, join the video interview a minute or two before it is due to start.

8. Dress for the job you want

While you may be sitting in the comfort of your own home, you should still dress for  as you would for an in-person interview. Not only will this make you look the part, it will help you get in the right mindset for a formal conversation.

9. Project confidence down the lens

While always important, communicating confidently is even more of a decisive factor in video interviews than it is during regular in-person interviews. Without being able to use your body language to show the interviewer you are listening, interested and enthusiastic, they might have difficulty reading you. Leave them in no doubt of your interest in the role by asking questions and communicating confidently throughout the interview.

10. Keep calm throughout

Do not panic if your signal breaks up or you lose internet connection. The most important thing is to stay calm in your video interview. How you react when things don’t go as planned can reveal a lot about how you cope under pressure, and a potential employer will be looking out for this.

If your technology fails, restart the call. Quickly contact your interviewer to update them – they’ll understand it is out of your control, so try not to worry and keep your composure.

To be safe, it is a wise precaution to have alternative contact details in case you need to switch over to a different channel.

11. Follow up

After the video interview, send a quick email via your recruiter to tell the interviewer that you enjoyed talking to them and learning about the role and their organisation. Reinforce your interest in the job and mention that you look forward to hearing from them soon. This sets you up nicely for the next conversation.

As video interviews become a regular part of the recruitment process, it’s important to know how to perform well. With these video interview tips, you’ll be able to appropriately prepare to ensure your next video interview is a success.

For further insights from our recruiting experts, see our careers advice or contact your local Hays office.

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