The video interview

Zoomed, Hungout, TEAMED or Skyped? Over the last three years this was probably the only way you got to 'meet' an employer or business prospect.

Even today, the chances are that when the company you are keen to join tells you they want to see you, it will probably be by video link initially, followed by a face to face meeting if you are successful.

So, does this alter how you prepare for the 'meeting' or should you treat this as a ‘proper’ interview? If you have never been video interviewed before it could turn out to be far more nerve racking than meeting them face to face, starting off with making sure you can connect with them through their preferred media.

In today’s connected world with fast communications technology video conference interviews are much better than they used to be, with limited delays and great picture and sound quality. All laptops, tablets and smart phones (is there any other type nowadays?) have a webcam, so you shouldn’t need any new kit.

What you will need to check is that your device (particularly your phone) has the right app on it to let you connect.

But how should you approach the interview? 

As with any interview, preparation is key. First off make sure that you confirm the time and date and give them your email address so that they can mail the invite to you, and check whom you will be 'meeting'.

Next, take time to consider where you will be when the interview takes place. 

A quiet room is best where you will not be disturbed and you can fully focus on the meeting. Take a look at what will be behind you since you don’t want them to see a messy background that distracts from you. Make sure the room is well lit and that you can sit comfortably.

In terms of dress code, wear what you would to an actual face to face interview.

You want to make a good impression and demonstrate that you are taking it seriously and showing respect to the interviewer and their company. So, no pyjamas or onesies!

If you are not used to doing video meetings find a friend who can help and call them to practice.

This will help you get the lighting and positioning of the camera correct (you can see yourself in the corner of the screen) and get you used to the time delay, if any, you may experience during the conversation. You can adjust the height and angle of the camera so that it is at eye level which gives a more flattering view of you!

As with any interview eye contact and body language are important.

So sit up straight and focus on what the interviewer is saying and only answer when they have finished so that you don’t talk over them. 

There may well be more than one interviewer in the call - you can see who is there by their pictures in the corner of the screen - so, smile and listen ‘actively’ so that the interviewer(s) can see that you are focused on them.

Try to look at the camera, rather than the picture on the screen, to ensure ‘eye’ contact and avoid looking at yourself in the corner of the screen, which can be difficult due to the distraction of checking yourself!

Depending on the quality of your camera and internet connection the subtleties of your body language and speech may not come across strongly so speak clearly and think about the tone and pace of your voice in order to convey a positive message. 

Being on screen will make most people feel a little uncomfortable to start with and this may affect your natural interaction with someone, so it is important to try to overcome this so that you give a great first impression. Relax and be yourself! 

Remember though that the interviewer may not be a veteran of video interviews either so bear with them as well – feeling confident on camera takes practice!

Be prepared for a technical hitch - if your connection goes during the meeting and you can’t hear what is being said, explain and say you will call back if it is really bad.

Your goal is to make a good impression and get through to the next stage! 

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