How to best prepare for a successful video interview

Given the impact of COVID-19 and the social distancing/isolation requirements in place at the present time, it is more than likely your next interview could be a video interview. These interviews can take several forms. If you have one coming up, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with all the variables so you can be prepared. Here are a few video interviewing tips that can help you progress to the next round.

1. Check your technology

A few days before the interview as well as a few hours before, do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working correctly. Download any apps or plugins you’ll need. Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype, Skype for Business or another video platform, make sure you have a username that’s professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle. Check that your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Do a trial run with a friend or family member, if possible, so you have ample time to adjust if any of your equipment or software is malfunctioning.

If you’re using a laptop or tablet, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the interview. And pick a spot that has strong Wi-Fi or if you’re having problems with Wi-Fi ensure you have a hot spot via your phones data capable of providing you with an internet service. If you’re using a tablet, find a way to keep it stationary. Otherwise, the screen may appear shaky if you’re holding the device.

2. Dress to impress

For your video interview, you should dress professionally—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Research the company culture for example; search employees on LinkedIn and see how they present themselves before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate.

To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and patterns and opt for softer colours instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centered on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.

3. Mind your body language

Keeping strong eye contact throughout the entire interview just as you would if you were in the same room as the interviewer. Maintain “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen or at your own photo. Make sure your face is centered and try not to move around. Throughout the interview, keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism with your body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.

4. If things go wrong

With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case.

  • If your video or audio stops working: Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.
  • If noise interrupts the conversation: If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
  • If someone enters the room unexpectedly: If family members, housemates or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Try to ensure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.

5. Always show appreciation at the end of an interview

Just as you would with any interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and taking the time to speak with you. If you have been represented by a recruiter then leave it to your recruiter to provide your interview perspective to the hiring manager, however if you have applied directly then it is worth sending a thank you email a few hours or even 24 hours post interview.