Video interviews – five tips to get your dream job

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April 2021

Written by Adam Richardson (adam.richardson@arresourcing.com), Managing Director and Owner of AR Resourcing. Adam has over 20 years’ experience recruiting procurement and commercial professionals across the built environment industries.

Video interviewing, especially for first and second round interviews, has been growing in popularity for more than five years. However, it is currently the norm at all stages since the pandemic has made face to face interviews all but impossible. Irrespective of whether interviewing remotely makes you a little nervous or plays to your strengths, here are 5 tips that will help you perform at your best: 

1. Avoid technology related challenges: having coordinated hundreds of video interviews we strongly advise you use a computer or laptop. Not only are they generally technologically better suited to video-interviewing software than phones or tablets but many candidates find they create a more professional mindset. 

If you can find out in advance what software is being used for the interview then try to test it on your device. This will avoid you getting flustered last minute because of unexpected plugins or conflicts with your virus software.  Otherwise try a skype or Zoom call with someone to make sure the sound and video are both clear – if they’re not tell your recruitment consultant. On the day, make sure any updates on your computer are installed and, unless you are plugged into the mains, that your battery is fully charged.

Knowing you have managed any potential technological glitches as best you can will make you as relaxed as possible on the day. 

2. Anticipate and negate potential distractions – during an interview even a small distraction can throw you off your stride and be hard to recover from so minimise the chances of it happening. 

Try to schedule your interview for a time when your home is the least busy and the children are not going to interrupt you or make a racket. Then in the days before the interview make a list of the things you need to do as final preparations to stop distractions, for example: 

  • make sure the area around your computer is clear and clean so it is easy to take notes, consult your CV or refer to any materials you’ve prepared;
  • close all tabs in your web browser and your email – you really don’t want an email from your boss popping up mid-answer; 
  • turn off all notifications on your computer: disable WhatsApp, iMessage and other messaging and news services;
  • switch off your mobile;
  • if you’re using zoom, check it is your name displaying as the user and that you haven’t got a filter on; 

3. Check your setup so you create a great first impression: first impressions matter online as much as they do in person. If at all possible set yourself up in a well lit room that will be quiet for the duration of the interview. If it is a bedroom then make the bed and tidy your clothes, the floor etc; if it is a study check what books will be visible behind you and that no confidential materials are on show; if you will be at the kitchen table either do the washing up or make sure it isn’t visible; and so on…  

As well as ensuring the internet connection in that room is good enough, test your set up before the interview. You want somewhere with good light; where you can position the computer camera at (or just above) eye level not looking up your nose; and without a cluttered or distracting background.

4. Dress code, eye contact and body language: the fundamentals of interviewing are essentially the same for online and face to face interviews but with slight tweaks so it is worth practicing as much as possible until you feel confident in front of the camera. 

Dress appropriately for the company – if you are unsure what that means then opt for a suit and shirt, a tie is optional. However, in order to avoid glare in front of the camera don’t wear bright, shiny or highly patterned shirts/ blouses and steer clear of reflective jewellery which can be very distracting. 

Look into the camera both when speaking and listening; and be aware your body language won’t always be easy to read in video interviews. Typically having your camera at eye height and leaning into it slightly will give you a friendly and approachable demeanour. Keep your hands away from your face and make a conscious effort to speak clearly as even with the best connections the audio will not be as easy to hear as when you meet face to face. 

5. Prepare as you would for a face to face interview: an interview is a competitive selection process whether it is run face to face or remotely so you need to show the best of yourself. Make sure you’re well prepared in terms of the points above but also your research into the employer and role. Think about how you are going to sell yourself – the value you will bring to the employer and your achievements to date which illustrate that. Finally, prepare some great questions so that when you are successful you know that the role is right for you.

If you would like further details about any of the trends or would like to speak with us about how we can support you then please email me: adam.richardson@arresourcing.com or call either 0330 174 6801 or 07795 148 182.

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