Video interviews can be advantageous for candidates and in some cases
can be as effective as the ‘in-person’ interview. The interview may
take place either at the candidate’s home, a nearby company office, via a
webcam provided by the employer or at an off-site location via webcam.
If the employer supplies the webcam it will be accompanied with full
instructions on its use.
The key to success, as with every interview, is an awareness of
procedures and thorough preparation. A video interview is no different
to a ‘proper’ interview. The candidate’s responses will be assessed as
they would for a face-to-face interview.
If you are invited to attend a video interview, typically held via
Skype, the following tips will help you to perform to the best of your
Prepare thoroughly : As you would for an ‘in-person’
interview, prepare for your interview in detail. Review the job spec,
research the company, prepare a list of responses to typical interview
questions, review your CV and prepare questions for the employer. If
anything, your preparation should be more thorough than usual. The
interview is being recorded leaving no room for misinterpretation or a
vague recollection of your answers.
Choose your timing : Check the time difference if
relevant for your video interview and try to arrange a time that suits
you where possible. For example, if you are not a morning person request
an interview early evening.
Ensure everything is in working order : If the
interview is being carried out on your own equipment double check
everything, including your microphone and your internet connection. If
necessary, purchase a separate webcam rather than rely on the sometimes
distorted sound and vision that comes from the built-in system of your
laptop. Carry out a test run with a friend who will provide you with
uncompromising feedback on how you sound – and your visual position.
Double check your surroundings : Ensure a neutral
and uncluttered backdrop, which may mean removing books and files for
the duration of the interview. Your intention is to keep the interviewer
firmly focused on you, not on your collection of books.
Agree how to handle a pause : Internet connections
drop out, screens freeze. Candidates should agree upfront with the
interviewer on how to handle any problems arising during the interview.
Refer to your CV if necessary : Keep an online copy
easily accessible as well as a printed copy for your reference. This
will enable you to quickly highlight points in your career history which
are relevant to the vacancy and share them via Skype. It is also useful
to have online links to your portfolio ready to share during your
Dress professionally : Irrespective of the time of
day, always dress for a formal interview Wear a suit and stick to
neutral colours – patterns may be distorted on a video screen. Again, if
in doubt, ask a friend or colleague to carry out a trial run and
provide candid feedback on your onscreen appearance.
Be confident : Be aware that you may be talking to
more than one interviewer, even if you cannot see them. Speak clearly
and express enthusiasm. A mumbled answer during a video interview does
not project confidence.
Be aware of body language : The normal body language
indications such as a firm handshake are lost in a video interview.
Candidates can, however, maintain an upright posture, smile and engage
eye contact to compensate for what is missing. For jobs where
interaction with colleagues takes place regularly online, the video
interview is an opportunity to display how comfortable you are in
handling technology. Please also see the note on eye contact below.
Record your own interview : If you aren’t successful
with your application, recording your interview will enable you to
assess your performance and make your own notes on how to improve in
future video interviews.
Always follow-up after your video interview :
Follow-up after a video interview is perhaps more important than it is
after an in-person interview. Send an e-mail expressing your gratitude
to the interviewer for their time and reiterating your interest in the
vacancy. Cover the points where you felt your experience was relevant
and your skills were a strong match for the position.