How To: Have a Successful Video Interview

Man talking to can on string

As hiring becomes increasingly global, more and more companies are turning to video as the first step in the interview process. This can take the form of a live video chat on Skype or a similar program, or it can require the candidate to record answers to a series of questions asked in advance.

Video interviews allow the recruiter to conduct first-round interviews more quickly, save on transportation costs and make the process much faster than scheduling face-to-face interviews. As a result, it can give them an opportunity to speak with a larger number of candidates at the initial stage than they would have been able to otherwise.

However, for the jobseeker the process can be rather nerve-wracking. We’ve gathered some of the best tips on how to impress your potential employer and stay calm during your next video interview.

Dress to impress

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can appear in your pyjamas! Dress professionally from head to toe, not just the half of you that can be seen. Choose a dark, solid colour for your top, as stripes and patterns can create distracting optical illusions on a webcam.

Look into the camera, not the screen

Eye contact is crucial in a face-to-face interview, so be sure to maintain it when being interviewed over video. If you have any notes to which you want to refer, keep them in your sightline – looking down or away from the screen can make you appear bored or distracted.

Practice makes perfect

Most recorded video interviews allow you to practise questions, so take advantage of this. This will not only help to calm your nerves, but also let you get comfortable with the software. Even if you’re doing a live video chat, it’s a good idea to practise talking at the camera to help make you more comfortable during the interview.

Raise the camera

Looking up at a camera helps to define your features and will make you appear stronger and more confident. The ideal position is to have the camera roughly level with the top of your head. Experiment with the set-up before the interview starts, and no matter what you settle on, don’t fiddle with it during the interview.

Lighting

Proper lighting can make a huge difference during a video interview. If possible, you want to use two lights set up at roughly the same height as the webcam, about two or three feet from your face. The goal is for the lighting to be nice and even on your face and minimise shadows.

Beware of glare

While wearing a white top may look great in person, many bright colours can create a glare when seen through a webcam. Similarly, if you wear glasses, make sure they have an anti-glare coating. This will allow the interviewer to see your eyes instead of two glowing lenses.

Can you hear me now?

The last thing you want during your video interview is not to be heard. Investing in a proper microphone will ensure your sound comes across loud and clear. You should also be aware of any potential background noises. If you need to wear headphones to prevent an echo, make sure they’re unobtrusive and don’t ruin your outfit.

Timing is of the essence

Whether you’re doing a live chat or a recording, it’s important to be aware of timing. Most recorded video interview programs have time limits for each question, so it’s essential to be to the point; but be sure to answer with sufficient detail.

For live chats, make sure that you don’t talk over your interviewer, and be aware of any audio delays caused by the connection.

Surroundings

You not only require a suitable web connection, but also a setting that delivers a professional message. Make sure that your location isn’t noisy or visibly busy in the background. Preferably choose a private, quiet room, with a clear view behind you.

Body language

Lastly, as with any interview, you should project confidence in yourself. Your posture should signal that you are someone who is willing and able to take on the role. With a video interview, you need to remain inside the margins of the camera shot, so try to sit as still as possible. Fidgeting or making lots of hand gestures can be distracting, so try to keep your hands still.

Video interviews provide the opportunity to showcase your skills and abilities from the comfort of your home. So remember to smile, be confident, and embrace the technology that makes the hiring process more comfortable and cost-effective for you and your prospective employer.

Have you ever had a video interview? How did it go? Let us know by tweeting us @RICSRecruit

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