Five keys to a great video job interview

We’ve all sat through countless Zoom Five keys to a great video job interviewquizzes, virtual pubs and video calls with our family and friends over the last few months - and job interviews are now increasingly heading online too.

But how do they differ from face-to-face meetings? How can we make the most of them? What replaces the handshake? And, most importantly, do you need to wear trousers? Here's the answers.

Test your tech…and yourself

Firstly, make sure you know your way around the technology. Find out whether the call will be made through Zoom, Google Meet or any other software and practice in advance. Download the apps or software and have a practice call with a friend to ensure you feel comfortable connecting to the call and turning on your microphone and video. Also, if you live in an area with sporadic wi-fi, consider using an internet cable as these can often result in a more successful connection.

Next, think about where the call will take place. Try to find a room in your house with a plain wall or window – something that won’t be too distracting for you or your interviewer. Try not to use a virtual background because these can create visual issues when you move around and can become very distracting, but if you really have to, then use a very simple and neutral backdrop.

Ensure that your screen is at the correct height so that you feel comfortable with the image displayed and are not looking down all the time. Then use the record function in Zoom to do a practice run, and watch it back to assess your body language – maybe even send it to a friend to get their thoughts.

Keep it professional

You may be preparing for a video conversation rather than an in-person meeting, but this is still a job interview, so prepare in exactly the same way as you would normally do…and yes, that does mean putting on trousers.

Do your hair and your make-up and make sure you’re suited and booted. If you look the part, then you are going to exude confidence. You don’t want to go into an interview looking unkempt because you will then come across as being scruffy and sloppy. It may seem shallow, but job interviews are your chance to let the interviewer see the best version of you - both aesthetically and verbally.

Dress the part, prepare, do your research about the company, and ensure you have some questions ready to ask at relevant intervals.

Take advantage of the situation – bring notes

Of course, one of the main differences in a Zoom job interview is that your interviewer won’t be able to see what’s on your desk - and there is nothing wrong in using this to your advantage.

You shouldn’t simply read your answers off a script, but why not have various bullet points or key words to refer back to? So prepare thoroughly, and place your research below the screen so that you can subtly glimpse at it occasionally.

Let your personality shine

Most job interviews start with a handshake, but any physical interaction is of course impossible online. Instead, welcome them with a smile and try to begin with a succinct, upbeat and positive introduction.

Even though you will be meeting your interviewer over a screen, they won’t necessarily be able to read your body language (and you won’t necessarily be able to read theirs). Passion can easily be lost on video interviews, so it’s even more important than normal to make sure that your personality comes across. Practice what you want to say and ensure that your ambition, experience, drive and determination all come across as you want them to in order to stand out.

Don’t panic about unexpected visitors

We’ve all seen the clips of children and dogs running wild in the background of video calls – and some things just can’t be helped. If you are interrupted during your interview, then don’t ignore it – if you can sense that something unexpected has happened, then there’s a very good chance your interviewer can too! Instead, apologise, acknowledge what has happened and try to make light of it – you could use it to bring some humour to the interview and give you a chance to display some personality.

However, you should try to do all you can to minimise the chances of disturbance. So if you have children or animals in the house, then arrange for someone to look after them while the interview takes place – just as you would if you had to visit an office for the interview.

Try to ensure that no parcels are due to be delivered while you’re on the call, and if you live in a shared house, put a note on your door saying that you can’t be disturbed.

Ultimately, some things are inevitable, but if you’ve done all you can to prepare for your interview and have minimised the chances of any interruptions, then you’re more likely to be fully engaged and presenting the best side of yourself throughout the meeting. Best of luck!

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