Video interviewing – mastering the basics. 10 top tips.

Video interviews were becoming an important part of the recruitment process before Covid changed the world we live in, since March 2020 they have become the main way to hire, and they aren’t going to be going away any time soon. In a week where a Texan law maker went viral for having a cat filter on during a court session it’s important to remember the basics. 

Please see the video here – ‘I’m not a cat’: Lawyer goes viral for kitten filter in Zoom virtual court case 

So, what are the basics? 

  1. Connection – make sure you have a strong and reliable connection. Unless you have been given no notice you will have time to prepare for a video interview. Make sure your connection is strong and that nobody in your household is about to start downloading Lord of the Rings. 
  1. Dress code – please treat this interview the same as if it was face-to-face. Unless specifically marked as casual or dress-down then please wear something appropriate for the role. 
  1. Background – as a guest on a recent BBC interview found, you really need to be mindful of your background. We have seen candidates interview with piles of dirty laundry in the background or with other people milling about. A neutral background free from distractions is your ideal choice. 
  1. Laptop/Tablet or Phone – As long as your audio is OK then it is OK to use any device. Please be mindful to ensure a tablet or phone is horizontal so the interviewer gets a regular video view. Also, make sure the phone or tablet is stable if this is what you are using, do not carry it around! 
  1. Be on time – This might seem obvious but technical issues have caused issues with candidates being on time and being late isn’t a good start. Get your platform ready early and enter the meeting before your allotted time. The interviewer will have to admit you to the meeting so they can admit you at the right time. 
  1. Test – Test your audio and video work before the interview so you have time to fix any issues ahead of time. 
  1. Practice – Do some video calls with friends and family and familiarise yourself with the platform you are using and ask for feedback on how you look and sound. 
  1. Body language – this is much harder to get right for a video interview, but it can really make a difference if done correctly. Try to look at your camera lens as this will create a better impression for the interviewer and creates the closest thing to eye contact possible. Think about how you are sitting and position your device so you can sit with an upright and upbeat posture. Don’t forget to nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you are listening and engaging with the interviewer. Ensure you have other screens or distractions turned off so that your gaze isn’t elsewhere. 
  1. Listen – With a slight time lag it is important to wait until the interviewer has finished and resist the temptation to jump straight in as it is easy to interrupt than in person. 
  1. Prep your household – Make sure your housemates, spouse, kids or family know that you have an interview and shouldn’t be disturbed as this can throw you off your concentration levels. However, if you are disturbed, don’t worry as this is something we have all experienced in 2020. 

If you follow the basics you will give yourself every chance of success. Over the years we have experienced some terrible interviews from people smoking, walking around with the camera making us feel motion sick and one chap not wearing anything on the top half because it was too hot! 

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