Video Interview Tips

After 30 applications this meme might make sense

Welcome to the mighty video interview stage, probably the most unpleasant part of the process. The format is simply just answering a number of interview questions on camera with no-one on the other end.

In most video interviews there will be somewhere between 2 to 10 questions for you to answer.

A question will appear on screen, and you will have between 30 seconds and a minute to think about your response before the recording starts. Then you'll have somewhere up to 3 minutes to deliver your response.

In most cases, the next question won't begin until you click to say that you're ready so you can take it nice and slow between questions if you're feeling the pressure.

It may feel weird just talking to your webcam with no-one replying. Don't worry about that at all, it's a completely normal feeling. The whole experience is a bit strange however there are some benefits of it happening this way:

  • The whole process is very flexible. Instead of having to take a very expensive whole day out to go and interview in person, you can get the interview done in under an hour from the comfort of your own home.

  • If you're destined to not get the job, in a way it's better to get let down early before you get your hopes up. If you do get rejected, at least you can just blame the video interview software being rubbish when your mum asks how the interview went.

Sadly, there isn't too much you can do at this stage to properly guarantee success, you just have to answer the questions well and convince the employer that you're a good fit for the company. However, there are some things you can do to avoid instant failure:

1. Good Preparation

My first advice is simply don't be a moron. Note down when the deadline to do the interview is and make sure you stick to it or you'll get disqualified from the entire application. Similarly, don't forget your login information or you won't be able to do the interview at all. Do also make sure to read the instructions at the start of the interview when the time comes. Don't assume that all video interviews are of the same format because they aren't and you don't want a nasty surprise in the middle of the interview.

Like any interview, make sure to do adequate research on the company beforehand. You should know what the company does, who their competition is and what products they offer before starting an interview. Consider also researching their future strategy, recent acquisitions, awards and further recent news stories about the company.

Finally, take advantage of the situation you're in. Anyone viewing the recording can only see what's on camera. This means you can have all sorts of notes on your desk and stick post-its all around your computer with company info and possible answers to questions. Keep your eyes on camera and they'll have no idea.

2. Location

You want to choose a quiet location to do the interview where there will be no interruptions. The logical choice is your bedroom. Politely tell your housemates to go away/be quiet/don't hog the internet bandwidth and you can get ready to begin.

Now is not the time to show off the cute fairy light rig you set up in your room. Have the camera facing a plain wall with no posters or decorations on. This way there will be nothing distracting the person reviewing the recording from the star of the show, you.

Make sure to open the curtains and let some natural light in if possible. For a video interview, unfortunately not even your brilliant personality can shine through a dark room on the recording.

3. Present Yourself Properly

Just because you're doing the interview from your room, don't forget that it is still a proper interview. This means you should dress exactly how you would if you were meeting the employer face-to-face. In the vast majority of video interviews you will need to wear a suit/equivalent.

Don't underestimate the effect of body language on the end result. Look at the camera not the screen. This will simulate the impression of eye contact with the person viewing the video, If you find your eyes being drawn to the image of yourself on screen, then move the window as close to the webcam as possible.

It is important to stick to the countdown timer but don't rush and try to cram tonnes of content into each answer. A small example delivered in detail slowly and carefully will be far more effective than rushing an answer.

Most importantly don't forget to smile!

4. Become a Pro at Answering Interview Questions

Ultimately the quality of your answers will be what determines your success. For advice on this see the general interview part later in the series.

If you've made it this far, good luck with your interview! If you make it past this stage, then you will have beaten off a lot of the competition and you should be proud of yourself.

Do note that many people's first video interview goes horribly. It's happened to myself and many others, so if your first one feels weird and goes terribly, don't worry because everyone else feels the same way. Back yourself and come back even better for the next one :)


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