How to Ace Your Video Interview

So you’ve been invited for an interview for a job you really want, brilliant! The twist is, it’s a video interview . Does the very idea of this fill you with dread, or do you embrace the opportunity to exhibit your skills from the comfort of your own home?  Hey, you could even keep your PJs on under the table if you so wish!

Video interviews are becoming more and more common in the recruitment industry with the release of new video interview technology making it such an easy and convenient method of communicating with candidates. It allows recruiters to gain a better understanding of a candidate than a phone call and first impressions and the way that someone presents them self are some of the most important factors in the recruitment process. But can a recruiter really get an accurate impression of a candidate via a video link?

A recent survey carried out by Sonru, ‘The Candidate Experience of Video Interviewing’, found a predominantly positive response from respondents, with 72% of candidates feeling happy about the idea of taking part in a video interview and 66% were impressed having experienced one. The survey identified a number of other benefits of video interviewing from the candidate point of view, such as that 38% found it convenient that they could choose a time that suited their schedule and 20% thought that being able to conduct the interview from home saved the stress and expense of travel.

Although there are disadvantages of not meeting a candidate face-t0-face, in the way that their general demeanour may not come across as clearly; it could actually offer a more realistic impression of the person, as they are typically more relaxed in their own environment.

If you’ve got a video interview coming up and are unsure about how to approach it, here are a few pointers for achieving your best and making the technology work for you.

Dress professionally:

Make sure that you look smart and wear the same sort of thing that you would for an in-person interview. I know I joked before about wearing pyjamas under the table, however it’s probably best to avoid this, in case you have to stand up and end up revealing your interesting outfit choice. It has also been suggested that block colours work best on camera, as they will stand out more amongst your surroundings.

Find a good camera angle:

The best position to place your camera is the same height as the top of your head. Pointing the camera down at you will give the most flattering angle and by encouraging you to tilt your head slightly upwards, it will also help you to sit up straight. Be sure to look at the camera and not the screen, in order to give the impression of making eye contact with the interviewer, as this is an important factor that would be expected in a face-t0-face interview.

Maintain good posture:

It’s likely that you will be doing the interview somewhere that you are comfortable, but don’t forget that it is a formal interaction and good posture is important for making a positive impression. Avoid slouching or fidgeting and do your best to maintain the same composure that you would if you were in an office. It’s also best to avoid too much movement, as gesticulating too much may impair the camera focus or become distracting.

Be confident in front of the camera:

This may be easier said than done, as not everyone is naturally comfortable speaking into a camera. Just try to relax as much as possible and practice is fundamental to building confidence for your video interview.

Find a neutral backdrop:

It’s probably needless to say that it’s not a great idea to exhibit a messy house to your interviewer, however, even something like a bookshelf or ornaments may be slightly distracting from the message you are trying to portray in your interview. If possible, set your camera up in front of a blank wall and sit close to the camera so that it is just your head and shoulders in shot, to ensure that you are the central focus of the shot. If not, be sure that the room is tidy and gives a good professional representation of you.

Use a good quality microphone:

It’s important that your interviewer is able to hear you properly, so invest in a good quality microphone before the interview for clear communication. The microphone will probably pick up other noises in the room in addition to your voice, so make sure you’re in a quiet environment and avoid shuffling papers or moving things around.  I’d also recommend doing a test run of all the video equipment before your interview, to avoid any unexpected tech problems on the day.

Be prepared

Like you would for any job interview, make sure that you have a good knowledge of the company and role that you are interviewing for. Be prepared for the usual questions you may be asked and be equipped with questions to ask your interviewer too. Make sure that you send any materials such as your CV, etc to your interviewer in advance, to save unnecessary time wasting on the occasion.

Hold a mock interview

Recruit a friend or family member to conduct a mock video interview with you ahead of the real thing. It will give you the chance to become comfortable addressing the camera and will allow you to trial run the lighting, camera position, etc.