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Video interviews: stand out from the crowd

With COVID-19 not going anywhere soon, we’re all becoming experts at social distancing. But what’s the ‘new normal’ with job interviews given we can’t meet in person? The answer is the video interview.

As with face-to-face job interviews, you must prep well for video interviews to make a fabulous first impression and make sure you’re memorable to the interviewers.

These pointers will make video interviews much less stressful.

Make sure your technology works

Don’t wait until the day of your interview to test your technology:

  • Complete a trial run in advance in case you discover a fault you need to correct.
  • Test your computer’s camera, microphone and Internet speed.
  • Download apps or plugins you may need, like Skype, Zoom or another collaborative tool.
  • Test your set up with friends or family, so you’re confident on the day of your interview.

Choose the right device

It’s best to be interviewed on a proper computer screen or tablet, not a phone. If you’re using a phone, make sure it’s stable and stationary. You don’t want the device moving around during the interview—you’ll make your interviewers seasick.

If you’re not plugged in to an electrical outlet, make sure you’re fully charged up.

Pick the right place and set the scene

If possible, choose a place in your home that looks professional and aim for one with natural lighting. If you have an office at home that’s a perfect place to be interviewed. If you must be interviewed elsewhere:

  • select a spot that’s as formal as possible (say a dining room table)
  • declutter the area behind you so there are no distractions that could embarrass you (like piles of unsightly papers).

Get rid of the noise

Ensure your interview space is free from noise and disruptions:

  • if you have kids, make sure they’re being taken care of during your interview
  • put pets outside or somewhere where they can’t be heard if they bark or meow (or sing if you have a bird!)
  • if you have a roommate ask them to be as quiet as a mouse
  • close all windows in the house for peace and quiet
  • turn the radio and tv off
  • put your phone on silent mode
  • turn anything on your computer off that could interrupt, like email alerts.

Dress for success

Dress appropriately. Indeed, dress as though you would if you were being interviewed in person:

  • make sure your hair is neat and tidy
  • avoid wild patterns and distracting colours
  • women should avoid wearing dangly earrings or flashy jewellery so interviewers can concentrate.

Here are more tips on how to dress for a job interview.

Do a trail run, review, refine

Conduct a mock interview with someone you know and record it. Replay it, critique your performance and practice again.

Make sure you’re sitting at the right height (full head and entire upper body on screen) and make sure your camera isn’t capturing you at a weird or unflattering angle. You want to be at eye level or slightly above, definitely not at an angle where interviewers are looking up at your face and you’re looking down at them.

Posture and poise

Proper posture and poise will help you feel and look more confident.

  • sit up straight and maintain good posture
  • plant your feet on the floor and rest your arms in your lap or on your desk
  • sit still and don’t fidget with a pen or notepad (hand gestures are fine)
  • maintain strong eye contact with the webcam throughout the interview and don’t look at your image on the screen—although it may seem unnatural, look at the little black circle or the ‘eye’ on your camera (practice this in advance so you don’t forget)
  • smile and take slow, deep breaths so you’re relaxed
  • speak clearly and slowly
  • speak a little louder than usual, so everyone can easily hear what you’re saying.

IMPORTANT: If there are delays with your digital connection, wait a second or two after you respond to a question to let the interviewer ask the next question without interruption Don’t feel you need to fill the pause. If you start talking again, you’ll end up talking over the interviewer, which is never a good look.

Be prepared

Do as much prep work for a video interview as you would for a face-to-face interview. This includes the need to:

  • research the company you’re wanting to work for (Be a star with star techniques)
  • have a copy of your resume and job application by your side or on a second screen if you have one
  • place a pen and notepad by your side (don’t use a keypad because the interviewers will hear you clicking away)
  • ask the interviewers if they mind if you take notes—no doubt they’ll answer yes but asking will put matters into context if you put your head down to write something
  • have a glass of water handy, in case your throat gets dry.

End with a bang

Tell the interviewers you appreciate their time and follow up with a thank-you by email within the next 24 hours. Let them know if you’re still interested in the role, without being pushy.

Other expert articles to help you along

22 most frequently asked interview qs

How to minimise nerves during interview

Qs to ask (and not ask) at your interview

Questions you don’t have to ask at interview

How to interview well

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