In order to keep applicants as safe as possible lots of companies are choosing to conduct interviews over video call instead of face to face interviews. Some people find video calls even more daunting than face to face ones - What do you wear? Where do you look? What do you do if your internet stops working?
Whether your interview is for an apprenticeship, internship, part time job, or university place, our 10 interview tips will help you ace the interview.
It can be difficult to know where to look when on video calls, tempting as it is, do not look at yourself when you’re talking. You can make ‘eye contact’ by staring straight at the camera. Some people like to put a picture of someone or a drawing by the camera to make it easier.
Dress to impress. Wear the same clothes to a video interview as you would to an in person interview. As you’ll be sat down often people only dress smartly from the waist upwards – do not do this! Make sure your entire outfit is professional to save you jumping up after knocking a drink and flashing everyone your flamingo print shorts. You never know what emergencies may happen during the interview, so long as you’re dressed well you’ll avoid embarrassing situations, and if anything, dressing for the job will put you in the interview mindset.
Think about where the interview will take place. Set up your laptop and see what the background behind you looks like. Try to find a white blank wall, remove any posters or distracting items. Make sure the room is tidy. If this isn’t possible, many applications let you set up a ‘green screen’ background.
One of the best parts of video interviews is you can use notes! The interviewer can’t see what you have on the table/on your screen so have the job description/CV up for you to reference. It’s a great prompt to quickly glance at, but make sure you’re not just reading from it.
Choose a quiet location for the interview. Call a friend on before the interview in your intended location and see if they can hear any background noises e.g. a loud fridge or people talking in the next room, if they can change the location. By default, most of the programmes do try and suppress background noise, but if problems persist, you can tinker with your app settings and alter the noise reduction based on the level of noise you are facing.
Familiarise yourself with the video platform (e.g. Zoom or Skype) before the interview. Do practice calls with your friends to practice making eye contact with the camera. You could even record the interview to see how you’re coming across and what your body language is saying. Make sure you know the layout of the software, where to accept the call, where to hang-up, how to switch to just audio, etc.
Share Your Work
Have your CV, cover letter, references, and examples of your work (if it’s a creative job) on your screen. The interviewer may want to see them, you can send them easily on the call by just dropping them into the message function.
Just like an in person interview body language on video calls is important. Don’t slouch, sit up straight and avoid fidgeting. You may have to try harder to look engaged over video than you do in person, nod your head occasionally when they’re talking to show that you’re being attentive. Depending on the job, video calling may become part of your schedule, so don’t think you can get away with not being engaged with the interview, they’ll still be expecting your personality to shine through.
There’s nothing more annoying than imessage/Facebook notifications chiming in as you’re talking. Make sure you’ve turned off notifications and closed all other programs on your computer. On PC/Mac, they’re are options to stop these popping up during calls. What you might want to do first is message anyone likely to message you and let them know you are on call so they won’t be trying to get through to you.
Buffering is quite common but can be annoying. Try to conduct the interview in a place with good signal. If the signal fails, don’t panic – use it as an opportunity to show the interviewer how good you are at problem solving! Connection issues are understandable, make sure you have a Plan B for if the call fails– e.g. have another device/Wi-Fi network you can use. To prepare for a worst-case scenario where your internet completely fails ensure that you have their phone number to hand so you can call them apologising and see if they’ll rearrange.