Would you like to impress the panel in a video interview? This article explores how to adapt your technique for a successful video interview, to give you the best chance of securing your next job. Try our latest tips now and make a great first impression online!
1. Choose a suitable location
2. Check your position and lighting
3. Set up your audio visual equipment
4. Carry out your interview preparation
5. Decide what to wear for your video interview
6. How should you start a video interview?
7. Perfect your body language
8. Tips for speaking on a video call
9. What to do if you’re interrupted?
10. How should you end a video interview?
Joining your video call in the right space is the perfect starting point for a successful interview. We recommend choosing a well-lit, soundproof room with neutral décor to provide a professional backdrop to your conversation. It’s also important to consider any situations which may cause a disturbance, and to put a plan in place for managing these risks ahead of time. Talk to your household and ask them to avoid making any noise or trying to contact you during your interview, and think about other options too, such as switching off your doorbell, postponing deliveries, or asking a friend to look after pets.
When a meeting space has been selected, the next step is to choose your position and set up your desk, factoring in the available lighting. Overhead ceiling lighting with a lamp shade is absolutely fine, however interviewees should avoid using bulbs without a lamp shade or cover, as they can cast strong shadows and may dazzle your interview panel. If any additional lighting is needed, we would always recommend positioning this in front of you to illuminate your face, whether it’s natural light from a window or soft, artificial light from a lamp.
To allow for the best possible outcome, it’s important for your conversation and presentation to run smoothly, free from technical glitches. In most scenarios, your laptop speakers, microphone and camera will be suitable for a video interview, however it’s important to test them in advance to avoid any surprises on the day. Don’t panic if your laptop’s built in features aren’t up to the required standard, as headsets and external cameras can be easily obtained and used instead. For the best results, position your camera at eye level, at least 50cms away, and ensure that your speakers and microphone aren’t obstructed. If possible, charge your laptop’s battery in advance and use a hard-wired internet connection to take advantage of improved speed and stability during your call.
Preparation is a key aspect of the interview process, it will allow you to feel confident, well-informed and ready to impress a panel. In addition to your regular interview preparation, such as researching the organisation and role, we also recommend practicing with the recruiter’s video conferencing platform. Ensure that you are familiar with the functionality and features, and practice carrying out your interview tasks ahead of time. As well as building confidence, this tactic will allow you to uncover any challenges with the platform and make the most of the technology on offer. It’s an excellent way to make a good impression online.
While some attitudes towards wearing casual clothing in the workplace have changed, an interview in Forbes Magazine reveals that many interviewers still anticipate that candidates will look smart and wear a suit to an interview. A professional look will enable you to make a good first impression, and help the panel to see you as someone that they would like to represent their team and organisation. With this in mind, we strongly recommend following the same dress code principles for a video interview, so that you can benefit from coming across in the best light possible. Lastly, while the panel should only see your head and shoulders, it’s important to wear a professional outfit in its entirety, in case you need to stand up at any point during your interview.
Without the usual greetings, relaxed conversation and handshake which characterise the beginning of an in-person interview, it’s important to find another way to build rapport with your panel and get your video interview off to the same great start. To achieve this, we recommend demonstrating your punctuality and appreciation for the interviewers’ time by joining the call a few minutes early. When everyone has arrived, start with a digital handshake; sit up straight and look into your camera, then say ‘hello’, nod your head and smile without breaking eye contact. Specialist advice from Career Confidential explains how this simple action shows that a candidate is ready to listen and contribute to the conversation, which allows the interview to start successfully.
Communication is a blend of verbal and non-verbal cues, which are determined by how you choose to perceive a situation and respond to it. It’s no secret that body language is one of the most influential non-verbal cues out there, so let’s discuss how to optimise it for a successful video interview. The British Council identifies three key areas for you to consider, these include facial feedback, positioning and hand gestures. In a video interview, it’s essential to nod, smile and make eye contact with your panel (look into your camera to achieve this). To reinforce these positive cues with your position, be sure to sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms or touching your face. Finally, please be aware that the opportunity to use your hands is much more limited on a video call in comparison to an in-person interview. Occasionally, it will be appropriate to use hand gestures to support your conversation, and if this is the case, ensure that the panel can see these gestures clearly without your face being obstructed.
There are some key differences between speaking on a video call and speaking in-person, which are important to be aware of if you would like to have an impactful and well-structured conversation. Firstly, be careful not to speak over your interview panel, nod and smile rather than saying ‘yes’ or ‘hmm’ if they are speaking. When it’s your turn to speak, do so clearly. Think about your answers, use pauses to separate your points and make it clear when you have finished your answer, so that the interviewers can respond without disrupting your flow. Our last tip for speaking on a video interview, is to consider your tone of voice. An article in Psychology Today highlights that while your words will describe what you’d like to say, it’s your tone that communicates how you’re feeling when you say them. Think about how you would like your points to come across and ensure that this is reflected in your tone of voice, to achieve the desired reaction from the panel.
Even with careful preparation, sometimes things can go wrong. Managing disruptions effectively can showcase your professionalism to an interview panel and ensure that your chances of securing the job aren’t hindered. So, what should you do if the worst does happen?
- AV failure during the interview: Before starting an interview, send your presentation to the panel and request the interviewer’s phone number. If your video call cuts out at any point, call them immediately to see if it’s possible to carry on over the phone, or find out if you should rearrange the interview.
- Interruption from your household: If a person or pet wanders in during your interview and causes a disturbance, apologise to the panel and ask for a few moments while you resolve the situation. Switch off your camera and microphone and ensure that you are relaxed and ready to continue before switching them back on. Thank the interviewer for their patience when you return.
- Background noise: If unexpected background noise occurs and causes a disruption, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments while it passes and turn your microphone off until you’re ready to resume. Thank the interviewer for their patience afterwards and continue with your conversation.
Closing an interview effectively will leave your interviewer with a positive lasting impression, which increases your chances of being offered the job. To achieve this, be sure to ask your unanswered questions at the end of the interview. Where possible, prepare your questions in advance, as good quality, relevant questions will highlight your suitability for the role and interest in the company. Once your questions have been answered, confirm the next steps, thank the interviewers for meeting you and wish them well for the rest of the day. As video interviews don’t allow for any additional conversation while you’re being shown out of the building, we recommend following up with an email a few hours later instead. The email should thank the interviewers for telling you more about the opportunity and re-confirm your enthusiasm for pursuing the role, if they would like to progress your application further.
Last updated on 4 January 2022Share this article