Video calls are increasingly becoming used for interviews with Target Jobs reporting that 49% of employers now use video interviews. Normally, video interviews occur early in the hiring process to help employers screen potential candidates. They can also be used later in the process when the candidate is not within easy travelling distance of the offices where the interview process is held.  Sometimes, the candidate will have already had a phone interview so the video call may take place for a number of reasons such as to have a more in-depth conversation about the potential job role or to meet someone at the company who could not be present at the first stage interview. Video calls can take place on a number of different platforms, the most common being Skype. They are a great opportunity to speak with potential employers but can also be daunting. Read our top tips for creating a great impression when you’re not face to face.

Look the part

Treat a video call interview as you would treat an in-person interview, and make sure you dress according to the company’s dress code. Since you aren’t present in the room with the person interviewing you, you have to put in some extra effort in order to present yourself as the right fit for the business. Before you have the interview, research the dress code of the company on their social media and website. Many companies are moving towards a more casual dress code, so don’t just presume you should wear smart office dress.

Another top tip is to make sure that you dress from head to toe. It is easy to fall into the trap of presuming that your lower half will be out of shot, but you don’t want to get caught out by having to stand up to get something only to reveal that you have pyjamas on your lower half!

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Choose the right surroundings

Choose a space that is quiet and free from distraction. Pay attention to what is behind you as that is what the person interviewing you will see. Try and make sure it is neat and tidy. If your background is cluttered, then that may give the wrong impression of your organisational skills. Or if there are personal items you may end up oversharing details about your personal life.

Technology also brings its own specific challenges, such as making sure that you are in a location with a strong WIFI signal, and making sure that the lighting is suitable for the camera.

Preparation is key

As with an “in-person” interview, preparation is very important. Your first video interview can be really daunting so doing a run through with a friend beforehand can help you prepare and iron out any technical issues you may have, as well as making you feel more confident when it comes to the real thing. If it is your first time using the programme, then you may need a little time to sort out the microphone and camera settings and get used to navigating the programme.

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Make sure you’re free from distractions

Make sure that you will not get distracted during your interview, this may mean closing any tabs and programmes on your computer, so you don’t have any notifications going off to distract you during the interview. Another important thing to remember is to look at the camera, not the screen.

Before the interview, make sure that you inform anyone else in the house or building that you are having an interview so that they know not to shout or come into the room.

Treat it like a face to face interaction

Doing an interview over video call can cause several difficulties as it is very easy to miss non-verbal cues. As you would at the start of a conventional interview, make sure you smile and introduce yourself. Try to smile, nod and generally maintain positivity and confidence throughout the rest of the interview. Pay attention to your body language, and try and make sure that you aren’t slouching or touching your face. This allows the interviewer to see how you act in social situations, and how you may fit into the team.

Another very important factor in a video interview is active listening. Similarly to a telephone conversation, you need to give the caller small indications that you’re taking in what they’re saying. Occasionally saying things like “yes” or “hmm” also lets the interviewer know that your screen has not frozen.

Finally, make sure that you are not messing around on your computer during the call. Simple things like the tapping of the keyboard sound very loud to the person on the other end of the line. Therefore if you are tapping away it is very obvious that you are not focusing on the call.

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Feel free to cheat

The beauty of a video call is that you don’t need to remember everything. You can have a sheet of notes out of shot, or some post-it notes stuck around your screen. However, it is still a conversation and you don’t want to be reading off a page. So do try and make sure you aren’t relying on these too much and are instead just using them as small props.

Got a phone interview coming up? Try checking out Our Top 5 Phone Interview Tips as well!

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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