The world has changed…

Almost all of us are working from home now and booking face to face interviews is impossible. During the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses that are hiring will request a phone or video interview instead. Rather than panic and fluff the chance to get a new job, use the steps below to give yourself the best chance of success in your video job interview.

  1. Power up
  2. Practice Makes Perfect
  3. Preparation
  4. Maintain Eye Contact
  5. Limit Distractions
  6. Triple-check your surroundings
  7. Make yourself the centre
  8. Check-in Early
  9. Pace Yourself
  10. Have Notes Ready

Charge up your Phone/Laptop

Make sure you’re plugged in, if possible for your call. Video conferencing zaps the power from a phone or laptop quicker than you’d expect, so making sure you’ve got a full battery might not be enough. Plugging into the mains will ensure your interview is not interrupted with a blank screen and then the crazy panic of trying to find a power source and call them back. This interruption can be interpreted as a failure to be prepared.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Interviews can be nerve-wracking in person, so get in a little practice using your video conference tool in advance of your scheduled interview. The more confident you feel in using the equipment, the better you will feel in the interview. There’s nothing worse than muting or cutting your interviewers off by accident. Or not having installed the right software to connect on the call. A dry run is always recommended.

Prepare As Usual

A video conference should be treated as important as a face to face interview. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean decisions won’t be made based on this call. We’ve written lots of tips on interview preparation from questions you should be asking, to possible interview questions you might be asked, what to wear (yes even for a video conference it’s important to consider what you’re wearing!). Research the company, read the job description, look up who’ll be in on the call – whether on LinkedIn or social media, get an idea of who your interviewers are and you’ll be able to tailor your conversation better.

Maintain Eye Contact

You know how everyone says looking someone in the eye creates trust? This is the same when video conferencing – but notice when you look at the interviewer on-screen it may not look like you’ve got eye contact with them. Consider where your camera is, make sure the camera is over the screen and you look at it. It’ll be natural for you to look at the screen and watch the interviewer but remember to give ‘eye contact’ you’ll need to look into the camera’s ‘eye’. Doing this will really help the video conference have more of a person to person feeling, something which can be quite hard to achieve if you’re not doing this.

Limit The Distractions

There can be so many distractions when you’re working from home that you wouldn’t have to take into account when in the office. Whether it’s the kids, your partner, dog, washing machine, phone or the doorbell for deliveries! Try and ring-fence yourself into a quiet bubble for the interview where you’ll not be disturbed.

note on office door from a mum working from home

Double, Triple Check Your Surroundings

When you’re practising for your video conference, check what’s behind you. What’s the background of your video call going to be? I’m not suggesting getting a green screen and editing in an amazing new backdrop but do double check it. There have been too many people caught out with a pile of dirty laundry on the floor, a stack of washing up in the sink or dog being amorous in the background. Remember you’re trying to present a professional image. Make sure your background shots aren’t going to come back and haunt you!

Centre Yourself In The Shot

Again when practising, figure out where you need to be positioned in relation to the camera for a great shot of yourself. Whether this is on your phone or laptop, you want to make sure the video call has you clearly in the shot. You want to be nice and central in a great headshot view. Not a tiny full-body image or too close, cutting off your head with just a big eye in view isn’t the way to go. This is why practising with a friend, partner or even your recruiter (yes we’ve done this and the job seeker found it really helpful) is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to check you aren’t accidentally using a filter…

accidentally using a filter on a video call

Check-In Early

Like in a regular face to face interview, you never want to be late. Being just ‘on time’ for a video conference is almost like being late, especially as the interviewee. You’ll be relying on technology and it’s common for links to be wrong or sign-ins to take time. Make sure you’re very much ready and prepared for the call before the scheduled time of the interview.

Pace Yourself

Some people feel pressured to fill the silent pauses. Don’t. Pace yourself and keep your nerve. You’re not in the same room as each other so it’s important to use your voice, body language and ability to pause to emphasise your points.

Have Notes Ready

In your preparation for the video conference call, make some notes – whether it’s of achievements relevant to the role you’re applying for which you need to bring to their attention or questions you want to be sure to ask them. Have them to hand as you want to make the most of this video call. If you find the opportunity doesn’t naturally present itself to share this info or ask this question – you’ve got them to hand and won’t kick yourself later for not asking / sharing. Don’t read off your notes though – this isn’t a great look! You could even use post-it notes stuck to your screen to ensure you keep eye contact during the call. Instead, you could use post-it notes stuck to your screen to ensure you keep eye contact during the call. 

Video Job interviews are currently part of all hiring processes but it’s not new for us. As a recruitment agency, we’re experienced with video interviews. In fact, a couple of years ago we helped a job seeker get a new job whilst she was travelling abroad. We’re good at hand-holding both employers and job seekers through these challenging times. It’s part of the way we work, supporting the process, coaching where necessary and all going well, it shouldn’t make a difference in finding a new job/hiring new talent and only meeting each other in person later once travel restrictions are relaxed.

Good luck!