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How to Prepare for a Video Interview

Lately, many of us have been turning to digital tools even more to help us connect and get things done – and we have certainly experienced this in the recruitment industry. We have gone from conducting only a small percentage of our interviews via videoconferencing software to being totally reliant on it during the coronavirus pandemic.

Job interviews can be nerve racking at the best of times, and now most candidates are having to face something they’ve never experienced before – video interviews. This can add to the anxiety for many people however, there are ways to set yourself up which can boost your confidence for your time on screen.

Here’s how you can prepare for a video interview step by step:

Step 1: Do your research
This is something you should do regardless of whether your interview is face-to-face or via video. This is going to give you a sense of being prepared and show the interviewer that you are really interested in the role.
• Read up on the company;
• Familiarise yourself with the role and the requirements (you may want to look at the job description / advertisement again);
• Think about your own skills and experience, and relate it back to what is required. You also want to emphasise what it is you will bring to the company;
• Start compiling a list of questions you think you may be asked, and how you would answer them.

Step 2: Sort your technology
• Find out what program or app you will be using and if you need to, download it. Video calls can be done from most devices – so choose whichever one you feel most comfortable with;
• Set yourself up: Depending on what app or software you are using, you may need to create a profile – you do not want to be doing this at the last minute! Remember, keep it professional.
You may also need to set up your camera and microphone. For your interview you’ll want to be roughly in the middle of the screen, facing front on but not to close. Try to make sure that your head and shoulders can be viewed;
• Do a trial run with a family member or friend. This way you will be able to identify, and correct any issues prior to your interview. You will also feel more at ease understanding what you will need to do to connect to your interviewer.

Step 3: Set up your location
• Pick a quiet, private space – interruptions will distract you and put you off;
• Ensure that there is enough lighting for the interviewer to see you;
• Check your surroundings to make sure that there is nothing distracting (or inappropriate) in the background.

Step 4: Practice presenting yourself
• Prepare your outfit – it is still an interview, so choose something professional;
• Do some practice video interviewing – you may even like to record yourself answering questions and watch it back to get an idea of how you look on screen.

Step 5: Focus on the conversation
On the day of your interview, do one final check of your technology and make sure your battery is charged. Have a glass of water as well as a pen and paper handy – you don’t want to be getting up if you can help it. Also remember to put your phone on silent.
• Slow down and take your time to answer. It may feel strange to hear gaps in the conversation but pausing a second longer before you answer will help ensure that you don’t speak over the interviewer if there is a delay in the video.
• Look at the camera when you can…. If you direct your gaze at the camera, rather than the interviewers face on screen, it’s more likely to appear that you’re making eye contact.
• Remember, the interviewer can still read your body language – so try to sit up straight, and nod to show that you are listening and engaged.

As with all technology, sometimes things can go wrong - but the key is not to panic. You may need to close the program, re-open it and start again. If that doesn’t work, you may have to consider doing the interview via phone.

If you are interrupted during the interview, apologise, deal with the interruption quickly and quietly and continue. If there’s a loud noise (like a siren) outside, you may need to mute your microphone for moment.

Finally, once you have completed your interview, thank the interviewer and ensure that you have closed the program or app before you breathe a sigh of relief. As with any interview, you can send a follow up email later that day, or the day after.

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