Thanks to Covid and the need for social distancing, we’ve all had to make changes and adapt to the government guidelines. Recruitment is one area that has definitely had to change its ways. Therefore, it’s quite possible that your next job interview could be via video instead of the traditional face to face interview style. 

Whether it’s the American attorney stating, “I’m not a cat” or 2020’s most used phrase “You’re on mute!” We all know the video interview brings with it a new set of issues that could be problematic to your success. Don’t worry though, Major are here with 8 top tips that’ll help you have the best video interview and hopefully land you the job.

Test your Tech

There’s no point waiting to the day of the interview to realise that your laptop or tablet is broken, or you don’t have the right software. So, as soon as you know that your interview will be a video interview, check your equipment. Find out what platform will be used for the interview, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or any other, then have a trial run. Call your mum or your friends, even call your partner in the other room, just make sure it works.

You may need to download the app or make updates, but at least you’ll have ample time. Make sure your camera, microphone and internet connection are all good enough to have a comfortable conversation with your interviewer. If you’ve given yourself enough time, you can then look to solving any problem that you may have. Finally, check your sign on name – if you use the app to talk to friends and have an unprofessional name, change it now before the interview commences.

Remove any filters too, you will not land the job if you’re a cat!

Video Interview - Cat on Zoom

Make sure the battery is charged

You now know your hardware is in perfect working order for the interview, however, you may well have run the battery out with all your checks. So, whether it’s a laptop or a tablet you’re using, make sure it’s fully charged for the interview. Obviously, it is possible to have it plugged in during the interview, but this might make it uncomfortable. If you’re going to use a tablet – make sure you have a stand to keep it in place. It’s not professional to be holding it to your face or picking it up as it slides off the table!

Fix up, look sharp

If the interviewer didn’t need to see you during the interview, it would simply be done over the phone. As such, this video interview should be treated the same as if it were a face-to-face interview. Dress smart and try to impress your potential employer – they’ll be checking whether they want you to represent their organisation. It’s not just about looking the part, dressing in interview attire will put you in a professional mind set for the interview (so no jogging bottoms with a suit jacket).

A good idea is to wear your proposed outfit when testing your tech. Then your friends/family can tell you how the attire looks on camera. Your clothes may look amazing in person, but if the camera makes them look strangely coloured or even creased, this is the perfect time to change your mind.

Location, location, location

You might not think it, but the location is just as important as any other factor in a video interview. When interviewing in person your clothes and how you act are the only giveaway signs of the type of person you are. However, when video interviewing, you’re giving your interviewer a chance to see inside your home. Make sure it’s a tidy area with no clutter, mess or potentially embarrassing items on show!

You want to make sure your location is ‘distraction free’, you don’t want to be rudely interrupted during the interview by friends or family, we all know how that went for Professor Robert Kelly when his children casually breezed in during his BBC News interview! Make a plan, so that children, friends, family and even pets cannot get in the room or be a disturbance during the entire interview.

Video Interview - Kids disrupting the call

Cover any other distractions by turning off your phone and any email alerts you may have on your laptop/tablet. Turn off any apps or Google notifications that could pop up on the screen. If you live alone, you could also pop a note on the door asking visitors not to knock. You’ll be on the interview a maximum of an hour, so hopefully nobody will call.

The early bird gets the worm!

As this interview is on video, lateness is no longer an excuse! You’ll be in your home ready for the interview, so prepare yourself with time to spare. Get your device set up in the position you want to be in and log into the app that you’ll be using.

It’s always handy to have a printed version of your CV at hand, that you can refer to. Don’t read directly off your CV – Remember, they can see you! – just use it as a guide to mention anything that you want the interviewer to know.

Video Interview - Note board

It’s also a good idea to have other printed material with you. Facts about the company, questions that you may want to ask or points you’d like to express during the interview. You will know the kind of interview questions you will be asked, if not, have a look HERE. You could prepare bullet points to help you remember answers – BUT don’t keep reading from the paper, place it behind the screen and only look if you have to.

If you’re logged in 10-15 minutes before the interview you can allow yourself a little time to take a breather and relax for the interview.

Body language is key

Stay focused, it may be easy to forget during a long video interview that they can see you, so please no eye-rolling (it has happened!). To maintain good eye contact look directly into the camera, not around the screen. Sit up straight (don’t slouch) and stay central on the screen. Try to keep your arms rested – no tapping or rustling of pen/paper.

Video Interview - Body Language

Smile! Listen and take an interest in what your interviewer is saying, use body language to help to emphasise this e.g. Nodding in agreement, leaning forward in interest.

No mumbling

You should have already checked your microphone levels, so just make sure to speak clearly and not mumble. If the interviewer is struggling to hear you, this will be disastrous for your chances of landing the job. So, enunciate, and project your voice – practice this on your trial runs!

Video Interview - Struggling to hear

End the video interview as you would a normal one

As with everything else, you should end the interview as you would in person. By that, we don’t mean with a handshake and leaving the room! – simply thank the interviewer for the opportunity. A follow-up email is a nice touch, and a way to emphasise that you want the role and that you feel you’re right for it.