DOs and DON'Ts during a video interview

Interviews are daunting for most at the best of times, but video interviews can add another layer of complexity and stress.

Although being on camera and not in the same room as the person you’re talking to can initially be disconcerting, having lots of video conferencing calls with friends and family in the days before your interview will help you get over those things.

Then the same basic rules apply for succeeding online as they do for a face-to-face interview. However, there are a few subtleties you should be aware of.

Here are some key DOs and DON’Ts for getting it right during a video interview:

DO

Remember that first impressions count

You want to impress the interviewer from the get-go, so make sure you dress appropriately – from head to toe! – and are on time for the call. It’s always best to log in a few minutes early for some last-minute technology checks and to ensure you’re well-positioned in front of the camera with your head and upper shoulders in shot. Also make sure you pick a quiet, well-lit spot that’s clear of any clutter. All of this will show the interviewer that you’re organised and prepared for the call.

Let your personality shine through

While the setting may be slightly different, the purpose of the interview is still the same: to find out more about you and whether you’re a good fit for the job. Getting your relevant skills and experience across is important, but the interviewer will also be looking to find out whether you’re a good match personality-wise. So be yourself and try to act as you would if you were face-to-face with the interviewer.

Mind your body language

Make sure your body language is sending the right signals: having good posture and making ‘eye contact’ with the interviewer will show that you’re alert and fully engaged in the conversation. When the interviewer is talking, show that you’re listening by nodding and smiling. Try to minimise hand gestures though as rapid movements may ‘stutter’ on screen.

DON’T

Let technical problems ruin the call

Minimising technical problems during your video interview starts by being properly prepared. Check to make sure your internet connection, camera and microphone are all working properly and that your laptop battery is fully charged before the start of the call. If you miss anything the interviewer says due to a technical glitch, do ask them to repeat it. If the problem persists though, calmly let them know and take charge of fixing it.

Get distracted

Your focus should be on the interview at all times. Doodling, typing or looking out of the window will be a clear sign to the interviewer that you’re not engaged, and they may interpret this as a lack of interest in the role. Looking at them will also help you read their responses to what you’re saying. Prior to the interview, make sure you’re not going to be interrupted by phone calls, housemates, children or pets. Switch your phone off and all computer notifications and tell everyone in the house that you are about to have an interview.

Rely too heavily on notes

You may be tempted to make detailed notes prior to the interview, but if you’re constantly referring to them it can become distracting. Having a copy of your CV close by with relevant points highlighted is a good idea, along with a list of questions you want to ask, but don’t write out full answers to potential questions. A much more effective way to prepare for your interview is to practise answering commonly asked questions or even doing a mock interview online.

Video interviews may not be what you’re used to, but as long as you are yourself, you are fully engaged, communicate well and show that you’ve done your preparation, you should be well on your way to interview success.