With technology continuously changing the way we work, it comes as no surprise that an increasing amount of companies are including video interviews as part of their hiring process.
But whilst preparing for a video interview is largely similar to preparing for a face-to-face interview, it’s also worth noting that there are different types of video interviews, so it’s helpful to understand which applies to you, and you can prepare accordingly.
Live interviews are just like face-to-face interviews but take place online via a video conference such as on Zoom or Skype.
Video interviewing is extremely convenient if you’re applying for a remote job or the hiring team are based in another location.
Just like a face-to-face interview, you’ll arrange a time and date with your interviewer, but instead of being given an address to travel to, you’ll be given a link with joining instructions where you can join your interviewer and see and talk to them in real-time.
A pre-recorded interview, or a one-way interview, typically happens when your CV has been shortlisted but not yet at the formal interview stage.
Recruiters sometimes use pre-recorded interviews as an additional shortlisting tool if they are looking for specific skills or qualities that can’t be measured or demonstrated from your CV. This method allows recruiters to send out a set of pre-recorded questions for all the applicants to answer and review all the responses at once. It saves so much time and really helps speed the process along instead of inviting every single person in to interview.
The downside to pre-recorded video interviews is that, if you’re not used to being on video, it can be quite daunting. Especially because it’s impossible to read your interviewer’s facial expressions and reactions to your answers.
How to prepare for a video interview
Preparing for a video interview, whether live or pre-recorded, is largely the same as preparing for a face-to-face interview. But there are a few things you also need to bear in mind:
- Check your surroundings! Whilst you’re so focusing on looking good in front of the camera, don’t forget what could be behind you in the shot. Leftover takeaway containers, dishes piled high, or even a messy bedroom is not a great first impression.
- Find a secluded space. Remember that guy who was being interviewed by the BBC live on TV and his kids walk in? We all remember that guy for the wrong reasons. Don’t be that guy. Find your own secluded space away from other people, children, and even pets.
- Sit facing the light. Natural light is better where possible, but if not, at least make sure you are facing a good light source as having the light behind you will cast a shadow over your face making it very difficult to see you.
- Make sure you have a good internet connection. Trying to interview with poor internet is super frustrating for both parties, not to mention embarrassing. If you haven’t got reliable internet, ask a friend or family member if you could do your interview there (in a quiet space!), or consider a pay as you go office space which you can rent on an hourly basis.
- On the subject of tech, also make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in and your webcam and audio have been tested to avoid any technical mishaps!
- Your outfit. It can be tempting to only dress nicely from the waist up because that’s all we’re gonna see, right? Well, what if you forget your glass of water, your notepad full of questions, or even to close the window? You’re going to need to stand up. Trust me, your Spongebob pyjamas are NOT to land you the job!!!
- Remember to smile, relax, and be personable! It might be hard to seem natural and relaxed, especially if you’re doing a pre-recorded interview, but the trick is to imagine there is someone at the other end. If it helps, put up a photo of a friend and practice your responses by pretending they are the interviewer!
- Look into the webcam. When responding to questions from your interviewer, you may be tempted to talk to their “face” on the screen, However, from their screen, it will actually look like you’re looking down and not engaging. When they are speaking, it’s fine to watch your screen, but when it comes to your turn to speak, always look through the webcam lens the same way as you would make eye contact in real life.