As modern technology is improving each day, more and more companies are using video conferencing interviews to carry out the initial selection process of prospective candidates. Video interviewing is similar to a face-to-face interview and it is an ideal way to find the right people to invite in for a face-to-face interview.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for your first video interview to land that dream job. These tips are based upon a video interview I once undertook for a company based in Australia. I wanted to be as far away from England as possible so I chose to apply for an internship in Australia. I won them over and got the internship and have now spent nine months in this beautiful country. I hope that the following tips help you get the job/internship that you desire!
1. Prepare yourself ahead of time
It’s really important to prepare yourself ahead of time and to send relevant documents to the person who will be interviewing you since you are not meeting your employer face to face. Sending something at least two days before will give your interviewer enough time to go over these documents beforehand.
2. Check the technical equipment and test the sound
The last thing you want is to have technical difficulties when you’re being interviewed so it is important to make sure that your microphone, webcam and sound settings are all in working order. Test the sound and reduce or increase the volume accordingly. You might want to call upon a friend to perform a sound test and also perhaps to help you practise to act out a role-play of the interview. When I did this, my friend noticed that I speak quite fast and so I have had a chance to work on this. It’s a good idea to do a test run of the interview with someone to not only test the equipment but to gain feedback on how you present yourself. If you, like myself, speak fast when nervous then it is important to remember to speak slowly as there may be an online delay.
3. De-clutter your space and minimise distractions
De-cluttering your space is very important as you do not want anything to divert your attention. Make sure you are the only person in the room, move all the junk away from your desk and make sure to keep the background simple and uncluttered as well. It is important to set up the camera so that it focuses centrally on your head and shoulders and keep the microphone near you so that you can easily be understood. Please remember to not move papers near the microphone as these sounds will become intensified.
Try to anticipate and cut out any distracting background noises, for example, traffic, clocks ticking and noise from neighbours, by choosing a quiet location. Even though this may seem self – evident, remember to switch your phone onto silent and close any computer applications that may make sounds.
4. Dress appropriately
The interview took place in my home and when I got out of bed I just put on my normal clothes because I was at home. Luckily, I remembered to change as the interviewer can see what you are wearing. It’s important to dress in a professional manner the same way as if attending a formal face – to – face interview. Dressing the part will help you focus and convey a good impression so even though you are not sitting in the same room with the persons who interviews you, do dress up and wear a suit just like a non – video conferencing interview. It is best to avoid white, bright colours or distracting stripes and patterns, as some cameras have trouble focusing on light coloured clothing. Also, some video monitors form fluctuating patterns on the screen when broadcasting striped patterns. Instead, solid blue and grey shades are recommended.
5. Look directly at the camera
Even though it may be strange, it is important to treat the camera as if it were the employer. Look directly at it when speaking and focus your attention when the interviewer is asking questions. This will give the impression that you are confident which can be used t your advantage. Don’t look away from the camera as this may give the interviewer the impression that you are distracted or disinterested.
6. Body Language and Appearance
The next step is to memorise the names of the interviewers. This will show that you are interested and happy to be interviewed by them. Listen carefully when the interviewer is speaking and use facial expressions such as nodding and smiling to show that you are listening. To calm your nerves, drink herbal tea and practice deep breathing exercises before the interview starts. Contrary to an in-person interview, you may want to minimise your body and hand movements on a video interview. Rapid movements sometimes look jerky on the video screen.
7. Write down a list of questions for the interviewer
At the end of the interview, it is good to ask the interviewer a couple of relevant questions to show that you are keen about the job and that you have done your research. You will almost certainly be given the opportunity to ask some questions and so make sure that you have thought about it and that you have a few prepared. A few ideas could be:
- What is the company’s management style?
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- What are you looking for in a candidate?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
I hope that these give you a few starting points. If you would like more information on how to perform well in interviews generally, do take a look at our How to Ace the Interview ebook which will give you more detail and advice around how to research the role, how to present yourself, the types of questions to ask to show that you have real insight into the role and business and much more!
Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. Nisa is passionate about helping individuals find the right career path for them whether it involves finding a more rewarding career, making a career change, figuring out the right career plan or being creative about career directions.