video interview tips

5 Useful video interview tips for candidates

31/03/2020 - Noordwijk, The Netherlands

During the past few weeks, most of us have found ourselves facing a time of uncertainty. As the developments on the latest pandemic continue to unfold—sometimes hour by the hour— one major question arises for job seekers: will this situation affect my ability to get a job?

While the current pandemic caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already having and will continue to have an effect on multiple aspects of the global economy, including the recruiting process of a lot of businesses, that doesn’t mean that hiring has frozen completely, nor that you should pause your job search. It just means that you just have to adapt to the current situation.

With social distancing becoming the new normal, more and more companies are hiring remotely. What this means is that the most likely scenario that you will have to face during your job-hunting process during the coming weeks is a video interview. Below we are offering a few tips on how to prepare for a video interview and maximise your chances of getting hired even in these difficult times

1. Prepare for your video interview

Whether it is for a video interview or an in-person interview, in order to ensure that you perform your best it is important to do some research prior to it.

The basics:

  • Research the company. As you would do before a regular interview, do some research on the company you will be interviewing for. Be sure you know their place in the industry, what they do, and their key values/principles.
  • Research your interviewer(s). Do you know who you are interviewing with? What is their role in the company?
  • Read the job description. Ensure you have read the job description well enough and can easily reference the applicable aspects of your CV.

The specifics:

  • Prepare some notes. One of the benefits of a remote interview is that you can create notes to refer to. Based on the above research, draft some structured and clear notes that can be your guide during the interview. In that way, you can help the conversation flow in a better way, but also feel reassured that you don’t forget or omit any important information you think that could be relevant.
  • Practice! Use your web camera or phone to film yourself or have a video call with a friend that you can record and go through some of the possible questions that you think might arise during the interview. Watching yourself back will help you finetune your communication skills and help you get used to the idea of being in front of a camera. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask exactly the specific questions that you have prepared, knowing that you have gone through this process will give you more security, readiness, and confidence during the actual interview process.

2. Set the scene of your video interview

In order to make the process of the virtual interview as smooth as possible, make sure you minimise distractions from your environment, as well as that you have arranged all the technical aspects beforehand. In that way, not only you will save time once the interview has started, but you will also feel at ease and be able to focus on being your best self during the interview.

  • Find a quiet, well-lit spot where you will not be disturbed for the interview.
  • Check the audio and/or video on your device are functioning well.
  • Test. In the case of a video call, test the link for the interview beforehand so you know how to dial in. Be ready to join the interview a few minutes before it starts. You don’t want to risk any chances of being late just because you only clicked on the link right before the minute your interview was supposed to start.
  • Have an additional means of communication in place. Whether it is by phone or email, make sure you have an alternative way of reaching your interviewer in case the connection is lost.
  • Turn off notifications on your devices, and make sure they are charged well. You definitely won’t want to be rushing for your charger while you are in the middle of answering an important question!
  • Do you have a pet? If you are not sure whether your interviewer will appreciate those extra cuteness points it is safer to make sure your pet does not get involved in the process. Presenting yourself in the most professional way possible is key.

3. Self-presentation tips

Whether it is body language, tone of voice, or eye contact, first impressions always count. Given the limitations of a non-face-to-face interview, make sure you present yourself the best way possible.

  • Listen carefully to your interviewer during the call, and show that you are engaged. You can do that either via visual cues (by nodding your head or smiling) or by using the mirroring technique of strategically repeating or referencing a few of the words your interviewer has used when you give an answer. In that way you are signalling that you are present, listening, and fully paying attention.
  • Make eye-contact. Even if most of us tend to look at our own image during a video call, try to look directly in the web camera as much as possible during the whole interview. In this way, you can simulate eye-contact and promote trust.
  • Speak clearly. As the connection can sometimes not be optimal, don’t rush to answer a question. Make sure the interviewer can hear you well, and, if necessary, ask for clarifications from their part in case you think you misheard or missed anything.
  • Be sure to look presentable e.g. wear a blazer, shirt, etc. Although it is not an in-person interview (and you are in your own living room), the recruiter/hiring team will still be seeing you. Wear clothes that make you look and feel good and that don’t blend too much into your background.

4. Your turn!

While the bulk of the interview will probably be the interviewer(s) asking questions about your experience in relation to the job you are interviewing for, don’t forget that you also want to determine whether the company you are interviewing for meets your criteria and expectations. The video interview is a great chance for you to do so. How?

  • Ask questions. In case you are not in a one-way interview (where you are asked to film your answers to pre-prepared questions), you will probably be asked by the interviewer to provide your own feedback and questions for them at the end of the interview. You would probably want to do the same during a face-to-face interview as well, so don’t forget to do so during a virtual interview.
  • Take notes during the interview, either on a notepad on your device or a physical notepad. You can use those to circle back on certain topics or use them for your own reference later on.
  • Clarify. Is there anything you feel you didn’t understand or hear during the interview or something you thought they would mention but haven’t? Bring it up. Show your potential employer that you are engaged and interested as you have taken the time to think about yourself as a part of their team, while also making things clearer for yourself.

5. Define the next steps

As with a normal interview, it is important to also obtain clarity regarding what to expect in the near future. This is more relevant than ever at the moment, as a lot of companies are redefining and adjusting their recruitment processes. That means that there might not be a clear starting date or that the whole hiring process might take much longer than it would usually take. The more information you manage to obtain, the more you will know about what to expect and about what is expected from you next. Showing understanding and empathy towards the situation is always a good idea.

Last but not least, be patient, but also don’t hesitate to follow up and show that you are not letting the current uncertainty and difficult situation set you back too much in the pursuit of your dream job!

No interview arranged yet? Start looking for a job on our platform, and if you haven’t already, check out our blog post on how to create a CV that stands out from the rest, and secure an interview faster. Also, keep an eye on this space for more useful remote (and regular) job-hunting tips, coming soon.

This article was written by Melissa Moleseed, People Operations Generalist at Infostellar and Maria-Eirini Psaltidi, Copywriter and Content Creator at Sapienza Consulting.