Video Interviews aren’t new to the job search experience but they’ve become more popular over the last few years. If you encounter a video interview, it’s usually at the early stages of the process and they can vary in style and length. The format isn’t without its challenges though – the main ones being connectivity problems and time delays. Not everyone is comfortable on camera and this may put some candidates at a disadvantage. However, with some preparation, these issues can be overcome and help you move on to the next stage of the process.

Research the format

It’s vital that you know in advance what format the video interview will take, as the two main types are very different experiences.

Live – this is similar to a regular face-to-face interview. You’ll speak to the interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time over a video connection using a service such as Zoom or Teams. Live videos enable employers to recreate the traditional interview format without requiring the candidate to travel to their office, meaning they can recruit from anywhere in the world. Try to treat the conversation as you would an interview at the employer’s office and build a rapport with the interviewer.

Pre-recorded – this is a much less personal experience as you won’t be speaking to a real person. You’ll be presented with pre-recorded or even written questions, and then you’ll have to record your answer on video, often to a time limit. It can feel awkward if you aren’t used to recording yourself. This makes practice even more important. On the plus side, you will be able to do the interview when at a time suitable to you and repeat it until you’re happy with it.

Choose your location

Plan in advance where you’re going to do the interview. Use a quiet location, where you won’t be disturbed or interrupted. Make sure the room you choose is tidy and use a simple background so that the recruiter focuses on you.

Think about the lighting, as it won’t be a great interview if you can’t be properly seen. Natural light is great and is best with you sat next to a window, but never with a window behind you. Alternatively, put a lamp in front of the camera and adjust the distance to get the best result.

Close any software on your computer that might play notification sounds and switch your phone to silent to guarantee you won’t be distracted.

Dress appropriately

You may be at home but it’s still a job interview and this is your opportunity to give a professional first impression – this means dressing appropriately. You should wear the same outfit you would have chosen for a face-to-face meeting with the employer. Think about how your clothes will look on screen and avoid busy patterns and stripes.

Use positive body language

It’s best to avoid slouching, moving too much, or touching your face. Instead, employers will be looking for you to make good eye contact, smile, listen and take an interest in what they’re saying. To help you do this your camera should be at eye level and you should look into it rather than at the screen.

For pre-recorded interviews, try to imagine you’re speaking to a real person, maintaining your enthusiasm and positive body language. This can be harder to do when you’re simply recording your answers. If you’re nervous it can be easy to rush what you’re saying but remember that the employer wants to hear your answers. Speak clearly, and be careful not to interrupt as this is more easily done with a slight delay over the internet than during a face-to-face meeting.

Get technical

Give yourself plenty of time before the interview to test the computer, camera, and any software that you’ve been asked to use. Make sure the picture is clear and the sound quality is good.

On the day of the interview ensure everything is charged or plugged in. You don’t want to be sorting things out as the interview starts, so switch everything on at least half an hour before and sign in to any software that you’ll need.

If there are any technical problems, don’t struggle through, as you won’t put in your best performance. If it’s a live video interview, mention the problem. It may easily be fixed, or the interviewer may be happy to end the call and redial.