In many ways you need to prepare for a video interview in the same way that you prepare for meetings and interviews that are in person. For any interview, remote or in-office, you need to understand the role, business and most importantly why the opportunity is of interest to you. However, there are also some differences and some unique preparation that you can do for video interviews to make them as comfortable and successful as possible.
Research the format
Firstly, you need to understand the format as there are two types of video interviewing and they are very different experiences:
Live - Live videos let employers recreate the traditional interview format without requiring you to travel to their offices. You’ll speak to the interviewer (or panel or interviewers) in real-time over a video connection. This means you need to try to treat the conversation as you would in person, making it an opportunity to build a rapport with the interviewer.
Pre-recorded - This is a much less personal experience. You will be presented with pre-recorded (or even written) questions and be asked to record your answer on video, often with a set time limit. This can be awkward and makes practice even more important. On the plus side, you will be able to do the interview at a time of your choosing, up to a set deadline. For pre-recorded video interviews, check beforehand whether you’re allowed to stop and restart in case of technical issues.
Find the right space - Take the time to plan where you’re going to do the video interview. It is key that you choose somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed. Remember the background will be visible so make sure the area behind you is tidy and ideally uncluttered so that the interviewer can focus on you. It is also worth thinking about the lighting so the interviewer can see you clearly. Try to make sure you avoid distracting shadows, so using natural light or placing a lamp in front of the camera will combat this issue.
Choose & check your tech - In exactly the same way that you would work out the best route to an interview, you need to make sure that you choose the right tech to support your video interview. Prior to conducting your video interview - run through this “check your tech” checklist, choose the device you feel most comfortable using, normally you can choose between computer (with a camera), tablet or phone, make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in while you conduct your interview to avoid any awkward power outages or shut downs, check your internet connection is good. Slow connectivity can cause awkward delays which can impact live interviews in particular, if you’re interviewing on a computer, it’s natural to look at the window displaying your video feed and not your web camera which can be distracting for the interviewer. We recommend positioning the video feed window near the top centre of your screen. This way looking at your feed will also make it look like you’re looking at the camera, test your internal microphone by recording a voice memo, if there are any technical hitches, for example if you can’t hear the interviewer, then don’t struggle through. If it’s a live video interview, mention the problem, if it’s a pre-recorded interview then let your recruiter/talent acquisition know.
Dress to impress - In this day and age, “dress to impress” doesn’t mean straighten your tie and make sure your shoes are shiny. Understand your audience and dress appropriately. It is easy to forget that you are visible because you are interviewing remotely.
Think about your body language - Working on your ability to look at the camera whilst being interviewed via video is a skill. To help you do this your camera should be at eye level. At a minimum, it’s best to avoid slouching, touching your face or moving too much (as this can make you look uncomfortable).
Pace yourself - If you’re nervous it is very natural to rush what you’re saying. This can cause problems with both types of video interviewing. Try to speak clearly and slow yourself down. Don’t be afraid to even pause briefly if you can hear yourself hurrying. Remember that the interviewer wants to hear your answers. Also be careful not to interrupt as this is very easily done with the slight delay over the internet. For prerecorded interviews, the best advice is to try to imagine you’re speaking to a real person.
Conclusion - Video interviews offer a convenient and flexible way to present yourself. Following these simple steps, and with diligent practice and preparation, you will be able to breeze through your interview and land your dream job.