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Careers Advice

How to be successful in a video interview

Video interviews have become commonplace since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and will remain a popular hiring tool in the future. Preparing for a virtual interview is similar to getting ready for a face to face one because the questions you will be asked and the ways you should conduct yourself are the same. There are a few additional things into consideration when video interviewing, including checking your technology, looking your best on camera and how to maintain proper eye contact.

Best location

Think carefully about the most suitable place to sit when you are being interviewed. It needs to be a quiet space with no interruptions and a reliable internet connection. Also think about the backdrop and surrounding areas - they need to be tidy and not divert the interviewer's attention or make you look slovenly. Make sure that you get rid of any potentially embarrassing or offensive belongings lying around. Your interviewer needs to concentrate on you and not be distracted by the background especially by anything that could reflect badly on you.

The clothes

A video interview follows the same rules and format as a face-to-face interview, so it’s a good idea to wear the same outfit you’d wear if you were going in person. Being professionally dressed will also make you feel more confident and put you in the right frame of mind.

Don’t be tempted to skip the bottom half of your interview clothes just because you’re only visible from the waist up. You won’t feel as professional if you’re wearing pyjama bottoms and if you forget and get up for some reason it won’t look good…

No interruptions

Embarrassing interruptions that interfere with the smooth running of your interview are best avoided as much as possible. You want an interviewer to see you’re serious about their role so show you’re prepared.

Apart from arranging for childcare or putting dogs, cats or the iguana in another room also make sure that you close all other programmes on your computer, switch off your phone and turn off any TV or music. Any background noise is distracting and will make you look disorganised.

Looking at the camera

Eye contact is important in any kind of interview but video calls make it a lot harder to follow because you need to focus looking directly at the camera. If you look directly at the interviewer on the screen, it might feel like you’re giving good eye contact, but all they’ll see is you looking down.

Body Language

Although you’re not in the same room as your interviewer physically, body language is still important. Sit up straight, look attentive, be enthusiastic and smile. Remember to not cover your mouth or wave your arms around too much. If you're prone to over using hand gestures it's best to hold a pen or sit on your hands.

Practice makes perfect

Having a video interview trial run is not only important for assessing the best body language and practicing your answers, but also to test your equipment. It’s best to test your equipment and get used to your software as well as checking the best angle for your webcam, the best height of your chair and the speed of your connection.

Check out our other ultimate guides for more information on interview preparation.

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