Video Interview Tips

I've had to do lots of video interviews whilst applying for jobs, and I thought I'd share my experiences.

1) Prepare, but don’t over prepare

The most important thing during an interview is to be yourself. If you present a façade to the interviewer, this will almost certainly be recognised and reflect badly on you. When preparing, focus on ways to present the best version of yourself, but don’t try to repackage yourself all together.

2) Check your tech:

Before a video interview, always thoroughly check your web-cam and your microphone. Have a quick Skype call with someone and ask for feedback on how your equipment is performing. This will allow you to identify problems before they arise, giving you enough time to replace any faulty / outdated equipment ahead of time. I thoroughly recommend an anti-noise microphone (as opposed to the built-in one your laptop has) and a decent external webcam (at least $50).

3) Check your surroundings:

Have any embarrassing posters on the wall behind you? It’s always worth making sure your background is suitable for video interviewing, and that you don’t have anything inappropriate on display behind you. Use common sense when deciding where to conduct the video interview, and what a suitable background looks like.

4) Internet connectivity and speed:

For live video interviews, you will need a quick and reliable internet connection throughout your interview. Any connectivity or speed problems will severely impair your ability to engage, reducing the probability of success. Ideally you should have a minimum speed of 10MB, with 25MB+ preferred. Similarly, you must ensure that your connection is stable, and will not cut out unexpectedly.

5) Give people some notice:

Among the last things you need during your video interview is an unexpected interruption from someone. Let your house-mates, family, spouse, or children know that you have a video interview at a given time, and that they should give you some privacy for its duration.

6) Business attire:

Just because you aren’t physically attending the interview doesn’t mean you can interview in your pyjamas. We recommend that you take video interviews as seriously as you would a face-to-face interview, which means dressing the part. Also, avoid the temptation of only dressing smart from the waist up, just in case you need to stand up suddenly!

7) Remain calm:

Although a certain amount of nerves can serve to keep you focused, too much can ruin your interview entirely. Remember as with any interview, it’s a two-way process, and you are interviewing them just as they are interviewing you. Keep that in mind when you start to get nervous during or before your video interview.

8) Have a glass of water to hand:

When speaking for long periods of time, it’s only natural for your mouth to dry out. Having immediate access to a drink means you won’t need to pause the interview to grab a glass, helping maintain a sense of flow. However, try to resist the temptation to sip on something alcoholic during your video interview!

Non-expected tips

From my experience and that of friends, here is some not-so conventional advice to give you the edge.

Look at the camera

It's easy to focus our attention on your monitor, but to the interviewer this will look like you're looking slightly off to the side. Look into the webcam and this will make your video interview stand out.

Men: don't be afraid of makeup!

Borrow your girlfriend's (or mom's) face powder. You're likely to be slightly stressed and the tiniest amount of sheen on your face will show-up on a webcam. Try it and you'll see what I mean!

Warm up with a conversation

After fretting about getting everything ready, you may have forgotten that you'll be having a human interaction. Start your video interview right after you've come off the phone with someone or had a chat with your house-mate; you'll be naturally warm and conversational.

Fill your room with soft furnishings

Easier when it's your bedroom, but borrow lots of cushions, duvets, pillows, soft toys...anything which deadens that amateur-sounding echo. Sound echo also makes it hard for the interviewer to catch what you're saying.