Secrets on How to Video Interview Like a Pro!
You’ve landed an interview with an amazing business five minutes from home, great!
But you’re freaking out because you’ve never video interviewed before?
Well, not to fear fine friends – we have you sorted and will have you video interviewing like a professional in no time!
Some good news: No commute, no awkward wait in reception and no chance of bumping into a colleague who just left the same interview room (eek!)
The other news: You’re probably like everyone else, lacking professional video/audio equipment and video interviews are “just a bit odd”.
The best news: We’re all in the same boat and we all find it equally odd, so don’t worry. (Actually – how you respond to this probably will determine whether you get the role – so this is an epic opportunity to shine!)
Having been through all this myself while relocating from the UK, here are my best tips to help you smash out your next video interview:
Get Set Up & Organised:
- Don’t sit outside, yes it’s lovely to see blue skies but all we can hear is wind, and you’ll not look your best squinting in the sun.
- Get a sensible background – it’s not the time for showing off your strange out of work habits – go for a more organised, professional look – err on the side of boring for safety!
- Check lighting and reflections. Glasses, jewellery and windows have a habit of catching a glare, which is really off putting in an interview.
- No to spinning chairs: if you get nervous it’s natural to get a little twitchy, accidental whirling around rarely leads to your dream job despite what you dreamed as a kid.
- Yes you need to dress as you would in a normal interview and yes it’s still fine to joke about wearing swimming shorts on your lower half, in fact, it seems to be obligatory.
- Clear out the bubble – now is not the time to introduce your naked toddler or your sullen teenager – so ensure you’ll have no embarrassing walk-ins during the interview!
- Make sure you are sorted with whatever app they are using for the interview (Skype, Zoom, Hangouts), have a backup in case one doesn’t work. Interviewers normally work in slots, don’t waste yours sorting tech issues!
- If possible plug in an ethernet cable, in my experience it’s more stable and faster than WiFi (every little helps).
- Don’t turn your phone off, put it on silent or do not disturb. Any issues with the software, they will call you (this happened to me). It is worth having the interviewer’s mobile number and/or email address in case you need to get in touch with them.
- Video or in person – building rapport is key. The first few mins will still most likely be small talk, so keep it upbeat and try to take a read at this point on their style – you will have to actively work to focus more than in person, we didn’t evolve to read body language on a screen!
- Probably one of the first things you will talk about is lockdown. Don’t fall into the trap of complaining about it (instead focus on the positive things you’ve learnt or developed through this time).
- Remember, this isn’t a normal conversation. It is easy to jumping in with comments and talk over your interviewer – and this isn’t cool. Instead, your conversation will flow much more smoothly if you wait and take turns speaking. Take a moment to consider your answers much like you would in a normal interview.
- Eye contact is hard on video – don’t be tempted to stare at yourself on your screen (no matter how well your isolation workouts are going), equally staring at the camera endlessly is a no-no. Aim to get a balance, call a friend before the interview if you haven’t experienced video calls before – it’s weird the first time around and truthfully hard to really nail so don’t expect perfection.
- The brilliant thing about video interviews is that you can note down things in front of you – you might have forgotten to mention something – so write it down so that when the interviewer asks if you have any questions – you can smash them out!
Really concentrate on good conversation etiquette here – hold your attention with the interviewer, respond when appropriate and give enough space so that you don’t talk over the other person!
Post Interview Questions:
- It would be weird to not ask how COVID-19 has affected the business, the role and the business outlook. So make sure you ask about it! Researching prior to the interview here is good – asking insightful questions or raising potential solutions (if appropriate) will leave a lasting impression.
- It’s harder to judge culture when you aren’t greeted at reception and walking through the offices. Lucky for you, we’ve written about great questions to ask in interviews – so check it out here.
- If the role is due to start immediately and the employer hasn’t mentioned set-up or on-boarding, now would be a good time to ask how they are managing this process. (Don’t be shocked if it’s not as smooth as what you are used to – businesses are doing what they can to try and get you inducted as seamlessly as possible despite the circumstances).
Remember their responses to your questions will show the quality of leadership and what kind of a business you might be joining. Remember also that the quality of the questions you ask and the empathy with which you ask is one measure of your ability to be successful in their organisation.
Other Things to Consider:
- We won’t be working from home forever. So don’t apply for the role on the other side of Auckland, because you’ll be back in traffic in no time! Google maps had a good feature showing average trip times on various days/times (last I checked easiest on desktop not mobile) – so do your homework.
- Use a laptop/desktop if possible, it’s better on a bigger screen.
- Try not to touch your face too much, it’s really obvious on video calls.
- You might be able to get a sneak peak online at the workplace so check the website/social media if a nice office is important to you. Consult displayed their offices across their website which helped me understand their culture.
We are all in this together!
Remember – this is weird! It’s weird for you and it is weird for the interviewer! Have a laugh about it and don’t panic – it is really a good opportunity to connect with the interviewer on a level that we don’t normally have – so make the most of it!
Remember it’s still just an interview, trust your gut. While it is harder to build a bond over a video call it isn’t impossible and if the company will be a great culture fit for you, you will know. I knew when they beat me to the swimming shorts comment.