Video interviews have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the rise of remote work and technological advancements.
While phone interviews can give you a good sense if someone will be a cultural fit in your company, video interviews do an even better job. Video interviews also allow managers to start the hiring process much faster.
Preparing for the different types of video interviews is just as important as preparing for an in-person job interview.
From ensuring you have a proper internet connection to presenting yourself professionally, preparing can be the key to your success. Confidence in this format will show your prospective employer that you are adaptable and an excellent candidate for the position.
To help you ace your video interview, we've gathered tips and best practices to make sure you perform at your best, covering technical setup, communication and presentation skills, and optimal preparation strategies.
Proper technical setup and a well-presented background can enhance your video interview.
Clear communication and presentation skills are crucial for success in a video interview.
Thorough preparation, including researching the company and role, can boost your confidence during the interview.
1. First, confirm what type of interview you will be attending
Here are some common types of interviews that you should be aware of:
Live video interviews are real-time interviews where you interact with the interviewer using video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams. It's similar to a traditional in-person interview but conducted online.
Pre-recorded video interviews: In this format, you'll be given a set of questions and required to record your responses. These recordings are then reviewed by the hiring team at their convenience. It's often used for initial screening.
One-way interviews: Similar to pre-recorded interviews, here, you respond to automated questions, often within a set time limit for each answer. The interviewer is not present during this type of interview.
Panel interviews: These are live interviews where multiple interviewers interview you at the same time via a video call. It's a digital version of a traditional panel interview.
Technical interviews: If you're applying for roles requiring specific technical skills, you might have a live problem-solving or coding session conducted over a video call with screen sharing.
Case study or presentations: You might be asked to prepare a case study or presentation in advance, which you then present to the interviewers during a live video call.
Virtual Reality (VR) interviews: Though less common, some companies use VR technology to create a more immersive interview experience. You might be asked to engage in a simulated environment for the interview.
Group video interviews: In this format, you and other candidates are interviewed together in a group setting, often involving group discussions or problem-solving activities over video conferencing platforms.
Each type presents its own unique challenges and requires specific preparation strategies, so it's important for you to understand the format you'll be facing.
2. Setting the stage
Choosing a quiet location
Selecting the right location for your video interview can greatly impact the impression you make on the interviewer.
Interviews are stressful. Choosing a quiet, private place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises will make you more comfortable and focused.
Ensure that the room is tidy and the background is clean and simple to keep the focus on you.
A neutral background is recommended whenever possible. This eliminates distractions and adds professionalism to your appearance.
Ensuring proper lighting
A well-lit space conveys an air of professionalism and clarity. Aim for a location with good natural light, as this will provide the best lighting conditions.
Position yourself facing a window, so the light falls evenly on your face, without casting harsh shadows. If natural light is not available, experiment with additional lamps or light sources to achieve ideal lighting conditions.
To further enhance your video interview, ensure that your environment is free from sources of noise and visual distractions. Some steps to minimise distract ons include:
Turning off notifications on your devices
Setting up a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door
Choosing a room with minimal echoes or background noise
Informing household members about your interview to avoid interruptions
Following these steps will create a professional and focused environment for your video interview, giving you the best chance at success.
3. Technical setup
Choose appropriate technology and test it a day before and on the day of your interview to avoid surprises.
The interviewer will likely determine what video interview software you will use, and with so many out there, it may not be one that you’ve used before.
Reliable internet connection
A stable and reliable internet connection is vital for a successful video interview. Ensure you test your connection before the interview. Find the best spot in your home with the strongest signal or if needed, use a wired connection to ensure stability.
Should you encounter any connectivity problems, consider rescheduling your interview or having a backup plan such as a mobile hotspot.
Audio and visual checks
It is crucial to check your camera and microphone before your video interview. Position your camera at eye level and ensure that your face is clearly visible with minimal distractions in the background.
Test your microphone to guarantee proper audio quality. Utilise headphones with a built-in microphone for a clearer sound and to avoid echo.
Confirm that your webcam and microphone work well with the selected video conferencing software to avoid any technical issues.
Familiarising With the software
Depending on the company, various video conferencing platforms, including Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, may be used.
Familiarise yourself with the software and know how to:
Start and end the session
Mute your microphone
Turn your video on and off
Share your screen source.
Test the software before your interview to guarantee a seamless experience.
These important technical aspects give you a solid foundation for a successful video interview. Remember that communication is key, so inform your interviewer promptly if you encounter any difficulties.
4. Communication and Presentation Skills
Maintaining Eye Contact
During a video interview, it is crucial to maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
To do this, look at the camera lens instead of the screen. This helps create a connection and conveys confidence.
Try practising beforehand by recording yourself or conducting mock interviews with friends or family.
Effective Verbal Communication
To ensure your message is received clearly, speak slowly and enunciate your words. Avoid using slang, jargon, or overly technical terms.
Remember to smile and modulate your tone of voice to keep the conversation engaging. Additionally, make use of:
Bulleted lists to organise your main points
Bold or italic text to emphasise key information
Tables to present data or comparisons
If your video interview includes a presentation, ask the employer for guidance on the desired format, length, and audience size.
Design your slides with a clear and concise layout, and don't forget to practise your delivery.
Professional Body Language
Your body language plays a significant role in conveying professionalism. Maintain good posture by sitting up straight and planting both feet on the ground. Use appropriate hand gestures to emphasise points but avoid excessive movement.
Dress professionally for your video interview as if you were attending an in-person meeting. Make sure your clothing is neat, clean, and reflects the company's dress code.
By demonstrating professionalism in your appearance and demeanour, you signal to your interviewer that you are a strong candidate for the role.
5. Brush up on your video call etiquette
The phrase ‘video call etiquette’ may sound incredibly Victorian. Still, you wouldn’t show up for an in-person meeting without giving thought to the impression you will make. The same applies to video calls.
Maintaining video call etiquette, regardless of what happens, will allow you to make a great impression during virtual interviews.
While all of this may make sense now, it is very easy to forget video call etiquette once your video interview has started. Keeping it in mind will allow these calls to be as collaborative and effective as possible.
6 Preparation Strategies
Researching the Company
Before your video interview, it's crucial to research the company you're applying to. Familiarise yourself with their mission, values, products or services, and recent news.
This knowledge will demonstrate your interest and commitment to the interviewer. Make a list of key points in a table format:
Practising Common Interview Questions
To boost your confidence during the interview, spend time practising common interview questions.
Focus on providing relevant examples from your experience that showcase your strengths and accomplishments.
Remember to identify and address your weaknesses constructively. Keep a record of your practice questions and answers, so you can easily rehearse them:
Tell me about yourself.
What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
Why are you interested in this position and company?
How do your skills and experiences align with the job description?
Can you provide an example of when you demonstrated [specific skill]?