Your Guide to Impressing in a Video Job Interview

by Jennifer Harper

With greater reliance on technology in communications, presenting yourself well on video during interviews is a must. This simple guide gives you the tips you need to impress through the screen.

Job interviews via video conferencing have become much more common in the hiring process, an effect amplified in 2020 by the pandemic. Your goal, however, remains the same as during an in-person interview — to make a good impression and establish your credentials to secure the position.

Being properly prepared for your interview will enhance your chances of success.

Prepare for your interview by using the following checklist.

Before the interview

Do your due diligence.

  • Find out who you will be speaking with, and make sure you know their name(s) and role(s) within the company.
  • Who will be making the call — you or them? On which platform will you be making contact? With video interviews, it’s a good idea to test the link in advance. Some recruitment teams have the option of a test call before the interview so you may request that if needed.
  • Have a backup number and email to contact the interviewer in case the connection drops out for some reason.
  • Researching the company and the job role is important. Go through the job description in detail and note any important information or questions you wish to ask the interviewer. Look for any recent news on the organisation. Make sure you understand their mission and core activities and read testimonials from employees or customers. This will help you understand the role better and provide background for thoughtful questions.

Prepare and rehearse your answers

You will make a greater impact by keeping your answers succinct.

  • Prepare a list of questions and practice your responses to those questions. You may also rehearse the answers by doing a mock interview with a friend and taking feedback on the impression you make.

Assemble your tools

Make sure your connections and equipment are working properly, and that any electronic devices not plugged into the mains are charged.

  • Use headphones as they will reduce background noise.
  • Have a printout of your CV and cover letter at hand for reference.
  • Grab a notebook and pen for taking notes.
  • Get yourself a glass of water.

Set the stage

Take the call if possible in a quiet and private place with minimum distractions. Lock the door so that you won’t be interrupted. Public places can get noisy and WiFi connections may be unstable.

It’s also important to:

  • Check what is framed by your camera and that you are clearly within the shot.
  • Wear an appropriate outfit.
  • Make sure your room has the appropriate lighting.
  • Check the background. Declutter your desk and surrounding area.
  • The laptop should be at a level where you can look directly at the camera.
  • If possible, ensure the camera shot includes the area below your shoulders so the interviewer can see your hand gestures and body language, which will increase your presence. Avoid slouching in front of the camera.

During the interview

Project your voice: Communicating effectively will go a long way in making a favourable impression. Choice of words and tone of voice both determine the impact you make in a conversation. A stronger, deeper voice conveys confidence. Your voice will carry your energy and it’s important to be conscious of this. Put in that extra effort to show that you’re enthusiastic about the role.

Online tools can assist with modulating your voice to prepare for an interview or presentation. 

Starting strong

Being on time, a confident greeting and a solid introduction are like the cyber equivalents of a firm handshake. Make sure you have practised your introduction and greeting in advance. You could say something like: ‘Hello, this is [your name]. Thanks for taking the time to call, it’s great to speak with you.’

Don’t be afraid to make polite but brief small talk. Feel free to ask the interviewer about their day or use other conversation starters that feel natural.

Listen, and don’t speak over each other

Pay attention to the questions and follow the conversation. It’s perfectly fine to ask the interviewer to repeat what they said if you didn’t understand. Listen attentively, use pauses and speak clearly and slowly. You can take notes of the important points to use in your answers.

After the interview

At the conclusion of the call, take a minute to absorb everything and note any important information that you want to remember. This could include details of a new strategy the organisation is implementing or information about potential colleagues or company culture that you want to keep on hand if there are further interviews.

Send a thank you message

Many people fail to say thanks after an interview. Communicating this will set you apart and re-emphasise your enthusiasm for the job. Additionally, it provides a positive way of following up on the interview. Make sure you send your thanks promptly and keep it crisp and short.

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