Top tips to ace a video interview

8 mins
Sellick  Partnership

By Sellick Partnership

Have you been invited to take part in a video interview and are worried about what to expect? Follow our tips on how to give yourself the best possible chance of securing the role, or at least getting to the next stage in the recruitment process!

Video interviews have become increasingly common, especially following on from the COVID-19 pandemic, when traditional face-to-face interviews were simply not possible. Some people may think that this is easy, but video interviews come with their own set of challenges and even the best candidates can often slip up.

Here are some suggestions that candidates can take into consideration ahead of having a video interview to ensure they make a great first impression.

Choose a quiet space away from distractions

Avoiding a situation with interruptions is vital during a video interview. Set yourself up in a quiet room and let those around you know not to disturb you. I would also suggest having a tidy up prior to the call to make sure that the area around you looks clean and free of clutter.

Another important factor to consider when choosing somewhere to conduct the interview is noise. You don’t want the interviewer feeling distracted by a dog barking in the background or a washing machine doing a spin.

Obviously there are certain things that are out of your control but you can reduce the chances of any interruptions or distractions. Things like closing windows to drown out any outside noise or shutting doors. You could even pop a note outside the room where the interview is taking place or text those you live with, if you are at home, to give them a heads up.

Dress for the occasion

It is important to remember that a video interview is still a job interview, so dressing professionally is a must. Make sure to get up, showered and dressed as normal and avoid wearing your pyjama bottoms because you might end up being caught out.

Dressing for the occasion doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear your smartest attire, but it is important to dress appropriately for the job you are interviewing for. Not only will this show that you have made an effort, it will also give you added confidence that should help carry you through the interview.

Make eye contact and smile

During a video interview you can’t rely on your body language as much so eye contact, and facial expressions are incredibly important to show your interest in the role. Always look at the interviewer when they are talking to you and remember to smile and engage with them to show your interest.

It is also important to keep your tone and voice upbeat. If you don’t, you may come across bored, which is one of the worst things that can happen during any interview. Make sure you don’t slouch during the interview – even though the interviewer won’t be able to see much body language, they probably will be able to see how you hold yourself.

Ensure you have enough signal, Wi-Fi and battery

This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people get caught out by this and only realise at the very last moment. Make sure you have sufficient signal (test this beforehand) or that you’re using reliable Wi-Fi.

Make sure your battery is charged and won’t cut the call off. If you need to, keep it charging or use a power bank.

Top tip: put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ to prevent the video interview getting cut off by someone ringing you.

Don’t be failed by technology

Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom, it’s always worth having a test run to familiarise yourself with the chosen programme. Figure out how to mute yourself, how to enable your camera and, most importantly, test your microphone.

You might want to test screen sharing, if you are presenting or sharing something with the interviewer/s.

Listen carefully and do not interrupt

Be careful not to interrupt the interviewer and speak clearly when you are answering or asking questions. As the interviewer is not sat in front of you it may be difficult to tell when they might be about to ask you a question but interrupting people is always worse.

Make sure you wait your turn, especially if there is any sort of delay on the other end of the line. A second or two of a delay is much better than cutting the person interviewing you off on multiple occasions. Not only does this ensure that you hear the full question and don’t interrupt, it also gives you time to consider how you respond.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Treat your video interview as if you would any other job interview and do your research. You will be at an advantage as you will be able to have notes with you throughout, so use this opportunity. Find out as much as you can about the company and ensure you have a list of questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

Unlike a telephone interview, it will be obvious if you are staring at a sheet of paper on the desk in front of you, so keep notes to a minimum, using buzz words to trigger reminders in your head. Alternatively, you could split your screen and use one half as prompt cards.

It is also important to practice as if you were attending a regular face-to-face interview. Ask for help from your family or friends, and prepare answers to some of our common interview questions. You might also want to have a copy of your CV to hand and make notes about additional details you can give. This is another great way of preparing and ensuring you don’t slip up during the video interview.

Make sure you are online

This has been briefly mentioned, but it’s too crucial not to reinforce the importance of this point. I’ve heard about so many video interviews that have could have been improved with a better Wi-Fi connection.

The interviewer will likely be busy, so if you use up time trying to get online you will shorten the time you have to impress, giving your competition a greater chance of securing the job. You could try and have a test call with a friend to ensure everything is working.

Know what you are looking for

It is also hugely important that you make sure you know what you want. If you are relying on Skype and telephone interviews, you need to make sure you have the relevant information to enable you to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to progress with the role.

There is no point having a 15-minute video chat and then feeling like you have so much more to ask, or that you don’t know much about the company or vacancy. Businesses can often make hires from video interviews alone, so make sure you are happy to progress to the next stage, before finishing the call therefore no time is wasted for you or the hiring manager.

During the interview

Video interviews can be even more intense than face-to-face ones, so you really must stay focused and attentive throughout. Make sure you are actively listening, and let the interviewer know this by making the right sounds and gestures. It helps them to know that you are interested, and also that you can hear everything they are saying. If you don’t hear a question or you aren’t sure, politely ask them to repeat it.

You only have a limited amount of time to prove your skills and worth, so make sure you are following the right line of answering.

Wrap it up well

Wrap the interview up as you would a face-to-face interview – confirm your interest (if you are genuinely interested), talk about potential next steps and send a positive follow up email afterwards.

You might even want to connect with the Hiring Manager on LinkedIn to really show your interest for the role.

If you take the time to prepare, and use our advice, there is no reason why you can’t secure a role off the back of a video interview in the coming weeks. If you would like some additional support about getting ready, get in touch. Alternatively, you can check out our latest live jobs here.