A guide to video interviewing

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Video interviews tips - corona

The corona crisis has resulted in hiring processes being moved online, and it is very possible this will become established practice even after this is over as well. It’s unlikely many offers will go through without a face to face meeting, but most of the early stages are likely to be conducted over phone and video for the time being. For candidates, this adds an added layer of complexity. Aside from your normal preparation (see our interview guide), here are some additional points to consider:

Before the interview

  • Test your setup
    Do a test run with a friend beforehand to make sure you avoid any technical glitches. This is also an opportunity to set the camera in a good position to ensure you are eye level with the camera and can avoid any unflattering angels. You also want to look at the camera as much as possible, rather than the screen, and this can take some practice.
  • Choose your setting
    It is understood that you will be at home, and therefore not in a professional environment, but you still need to give some thought to which part of your house you want to put on display. A clean, neutral space with good lighting is ideal. Mess and clutter of any kind is best kept out of view.
  • To prepare notes or not?
    One advantage of video interviews is that you can keep notes just outside of view. This would allow you to jot down questions, facts about the company or key points you want to cover. The problem is that many people spend the interviewing looking down at their notes. Try and make eye contact with the interviewer instead and be prepared enough to not be too reliant on notes. Whatever you do, don’t substitute notes for preparation!

During the interview

  • Dress professionallyvideo interviewing tips
    If you are both at home, a little relaxation in dress code might be acceptable (ie, you might be able to forgo the tie), but you do need to look smart.
  • Silence your phone
    Remove any distractions, make sure other people in the house know not to disturb, and put your phone on mute.
  • Small talk
    Whilst the questions are likely to follow the same pattern as a face to face interview, the video format often reduces the small talk element. You still need to be prepared for it, though, and checking your interviewer’s LinkedIn page is a good start. And, of course, comparing notes on how to cope with home working and lockdowns is a hot topic for everyone right now.
  • Be human, but not political
    In our experience, we’re having better conversations with people during these dreadful times – it’s bringing out the human side in all of us. However, try not to be too political about individual leaders and their response. Others may not agree with your view of the situation and an interview isn’t a chat down the pub!
  • Smile
    Be engaging, smile, use body language where appropriate.
  • Slow down
    Video connections can be slow, and even a fractional delay can cause conversations to stutter. Allow for this, and make sure your interviewer has finished speaking before you respond.
  • Expect the unexpected
    Your interviewer will also be working from home, and everything from pets and children to postmen and deliveries might interrupt. Be understanding.

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