Everyone is facing an extended period confined to their homes and those companies that are still recruiting are turning increasingly to video interviewing to keep the recruitment process going. It is likely that once the current lockdown situation is over many companies and recruitment consultancies will continue to do at least the initial phase of recruitment by video in the future.

Many people will never have experienced an interview online and while there are many similarities with a face-to-face interview, here are some important tips to help make the interview go more smoothly.

  1. Setup Checklist: there are various things that you need to be aware of before the interview happens:
  2. Make sure your laptop or PC camera is set to eye height. You don’t want to be looking down and you don’t want to only have half of your face showing.
  3. Ensure that you have a plain or neutral background behind you. Make sure the room is tidy and that there are no distracting pictures on the wall.
  4. Set up in a quiet place, no barking dogs, radio or TV, no children shouting or playing in the background.
  5. If you are using wi-fi make sure you are in the place in your house with the strongest signal.
  6. Check the lighting. It is best if the light is coming from in front of you and if you have natural lighting that usually looks best. Be careful of artificial light being too bright or casting shadows on your face.
  7. Turn your cell phone off and shut down any apps on your laptop that might make a noise.
  8. Avoid having notes on the desk that you may refer to while you are talking as it will make you look down while you are being interviewed.
  9. Dress like you would if you were going to an actual face-to-face interview. You want to look professional and that you’ve made an effort for this meeting. You will feel more professional and it has been shown that people perform better when they dress properly. Avoid wearing anything that is too bright or may be distracting. You don’t want the interviewer to be focusing on what you are wearing rather than what you are saying.
  10. Practice eye contact. Remember that in a face-to-face interview you would keep eye contact with the interviewer, it’s no different in a video interview. If it helps stick a post-it note behind the camera on your laptop with an arrow pointing at the spot you should be looking at.
  11. Make sure that your chair is steady and that you are comfortably set up before the interview starts. It looks bad if your chair is moving around (swivel chairs are the worst) or if you are constantly moving around trying to get settled. Be very aware of fidgeting or tapping or any other nervous ticks. Also, be aware of gesticulating too much (or not moving at all).
  12. Practice your answers to the obvious interview questions just as you would for a face-to-face interview. In many cases, your video interview is going to be more strictly timed than an in-person interview so you don’t have time to ramble or think up answers. In advance, think of an answer, write it down and practice saying it out loud (you should be doing this for all interviews).

In the future, there is likely to be more remote working and remote interviewing so getting comfortable using video to interview and work will be essential. Also, some companies are moving towards having a recorded first interview. You are asked to log-in and answer a series of questions which are recorded and viewed later by a recruiter. To be successful with these types of interview you will need to have practiced everything listed above.

In many ways, a video interview makes life a lot easier, no worrying about traffic or finding an office address. However, a video interview has its own challenges, but if you take note of everything set out here you will be much better prepared than most of the candidates you are competing with.