Dee Murphy is an Organisational Psychologist and Jobbio’s Expert in Residence. She offers her advice on how to smash that video interview.
As technology continues to transform how we operate and communicate it was only a matter of time before organisations embraced online tools to help them screen large numbers of applicants. Although a handy filter for employers, the video interview approach to ‘selling yourself’ can be quite overwhelming for those who’ve never been interviewed through a lens. Our handy guide will help you complete a successful video interview – whether automated, where you pre-record your answers, or live where someone interviews you through FaceTime or Skype.
Check your hardware
Make sure that your laptop, tablet, phone or desktop is in full working order and can support the software used to conduct the interview. Test your sound, camera, lighting and internet connection. If all your devices are suitable, choose the one you’re most comfortable handling.
Location, Location, Location
You want to make sure you’re in a quiet area with plenty of natural light and a clean background. Aim for white walls, not posters of topless women.
It’s very important that you ‘suit and boot’ as you would for any face-to-face interview. Keep your bits tucked in, brush your hair, sort out your three day shadow and wear something plain and simple. It’s also important that you position yourself centrally and far back enough that the whole top half of your body can be clearly seen.
Do a Dummy Run
Many interviewing tools will allow you to have a practice go but for some people it can take longer to acclimatise to talking to a camera. Research the company thoroughly and draw up a list of possible questions. Practice answering them as often as you can into a camera. Timing is also very important, as you’re usually given a fixed number of minutes to answer each question. Be concise and focus on the main points you want to convey. Playback your efforts, and have someone unbiased critique your attempts.
What you don’t want during your video interview is your phone app reminders, alerts and notifications going off ten to the dozen. Make sure all your gadgets aren’t just on silent – but are switched off, so that there isn’t an issue with interference. If you have a landline near by, disconnect it. If you have a radio or TV on somewhere, turn them off. If you have a dog or a cat, keep them away.
Nonverbal communication is always important. Sitting robotically, breathing heavily and staring intently into the camera won’t do you any favours. Use hand gestures to amplify your points, much like you would in any normal conversation. Make sure you’re sitting far enough back that you can get all your movements in shot. Don’t fidget or jump from a seated to standing position. Do make solid eye contact and smile. Looking directly into the camera can be tricky and people often make the mistake of constantly looking into the viewfinder to check themselves out.
Have a Chat
Whether pre-recording your answers, or speaking to someone on the other side of the screen, use a ‘conversational’ voice – just as you would in an actual interview situation. Always follow instructions and never jump into an answer. Take time to pause, make sure all instructions are understood clearly and think about your answer. You can have little notes beside you to help you remember key points, but don’t read directly from them or be constantly glancing down at them.
Once your video interview is finished, send a note to whoever set it up thanking them for their efforts. Use this as a chance to ask about the next stage of the process – how long it will be before you hear back and what the next part will involve.
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