8 April 2020
Learn How to Ace Your Video Interview in Just 10 Minutes
Employers are turning to video interviews to screen candidates for placements and internships.
With coronavirus causing quite the stir, this isn’t surprising. Whilst a video interview may seem daunting at first, once you follow our tips, you’ll be landing jobs left, right and centre. This blog will answer these three common questions:
- What is a video interview?
- How do video interviews work?
- How should I prepare for a video interview?
Not quite at the video interview stage? Take a read of these blogs to help you get there.
- How to Write a Student CV
- The 10 Stages of Applying for a Placement
- Webinar: How to Build Your Personal Brand
What is a video interview?
A video interview is just like a face-to-face interview, but is conducted via video rather than in person. The questions put forward won’t differ too much from the questions asked in any traditional interview.
Because in-person interviews can no longer take place with COVID-19, video interviews are taking centre stage in most recruitment processes. So much so, that video recruitment companies are seeing sharp rises (up to 67%) in usage of their platforms by hiring managers.
That means making sure you know how to ace your video interview is even more important.
How do video interviews work?
There are two types: live video interviews and pre-recorded video interviews.
Live video interviews
Live (or two-way) video interviews are like your standard face-to-face interview. You and your interviewer will see each other in real-time, via video software like Zoom or Skype.
The only difference between a face-to-face interview and a live video interview is the distance between you and the interviewer. It could be hundreds of miles or even thousands. But, with thrifty technology and a reliable Wi-Fi connection, it really doesn’t matter.
Pre-recorded video interviews
Pre-recorded video interviews are a bit different. Firstly, the pre-recorded part means you won’t be engaging in a two-way conversation with your interviewer.
Instead, you will answer a set of questions put forward to you, either by pre-recorded videos or text that appears on your screen. So you won’t see your interviewer in real-time.
In fact, you might not see them at all. But, you will be expected to record your answer to the questions asked within a time limit.
Once you’ve answered the questions, your recordings will be sent to the employer so they can assess your performance.
Are you a bit of a technophobe? Fret not.
Video interview platforms are pretty easy to use
Before your interview, your interviewer will send you guidance to support you with the technicalities of pre-recording your answers.
Or they might give you clear instructions during the interview itself. You just need to ensure you answer the questions well and hit submit once you’re done.
How should I prepare for a video interview?
If you don’t know what you’re doing, a video interview can feel like trying to cross the Channel in a raft made of turnips. It’s a slog.
So to help you out, here are 5 top tips for acing your video interview.
#1 Do your company research
Before a face-to-face interview make sure you research the company you’re applying to. And it’s no different with video interviews.
A good place to start is the company website. It’s good to know the basics, such as the origins of the company and when it was founded.
But it’s more impressive to show you’ve dug a little further. Think about:
- The company’s mission statement and its key business objectives.
- What products and services they offer, and who their target customers are.
- The company’s values.
It’s also worth checking out social media pages to get to know the company culture. Look at their competitors too! This will show an employer you’re serious. Want to focus your research to help you answer specific questions?
Read this blog to discover some common internship interview questions.
#2 Pick an appropriate outfit
What should I wear for a video interview?
For some reason, this question causes a lot of stress. But the answer is pretty simple. Wear exactly what you would to a face-to-face interview. That means smart and professional attire.
Here are a couple of things NOT to wear:
- Bright clothing that distracts the interviewer from you and your top-notch answers. Neutral colours that contrast with your background tend to work best.
- Whilst your camera will be on your face, you never know when you might have to stand up. A smart shirt and unicorn-patterned pyjama bottoms combination just aren’t going to cut it.
#3 Set up a clean and comfortable interview environment
You’ll need a tidy and professional environment. When your video is on, think about what is visible to your interviewer i.e. take down the Britney Spears poster above your bed. Just be sensible.
If you can, it’s best to sit at your desk with a plain wall behind you. Good lighting is also key. Hot seat different locations to find the best spot and ensure your face is clearly visible. Make sure your camera is positioned at eye level. That way you can avoid any unflattering angles.
And be sure to pre-test any equipment that will be used during your video interview. That includes your camera and microphone.
These might be built-in features to your laptop device, so make sure that the laptop is fully charged and both features are turned on and ready to use.
#4 Focus and take your time
When answering questions, you’ll be tempted to look at the interviewer on your display screen. But like in any interview you need to maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
In video interviews, that means looking directly at the camera.
It’s also important to be aware of sound. Microphones can be very sensitive, so avoid ruffling any papers, fidgeting in your seat, or tapping at your keyboard and mouse.
Video interviews can be nerve-wracking. So it’s good to keep a glass of water beside you. You might not use it, but it’s there if your mouth dries up or you need to buy a couple of seconds of thinking time.
And thinking time is completely acceptable. Take your time before rushing to an answer.
#5 Prepare questions
You’ve given a brilliant video interview and now your interviews ask if you have any questions. Bingo! Another opportunity for you to impress.
Make sure you have three or four pre-prepared questions that you can ask to show your interest in the firm, and job on offer.
Need some inspiration for question-asking? Some examples of good questions include:
- What will a typical day look like in this role?
- What opportunities does the company offer in terms of personal growth and development?
- How do you feel like you’ve professionally developed since joining the company?
Finally, make sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Don’t end the video interview unless your interviewer has formally ended the interview and is clearly staying on the line.
Otherwise, you should always wait for the interviewer to end the video call.
That’s a lot of useful advice. Take the time to read it carefully and digest what is being said. Securing a placement or internship is a challenge. But it’s also great for your CV. So put in the effort!
That way, when it comes to the real thing, you’ll feel like Mo Farah in a dad’s 5km sport’s day race. (Reasonably confident).