Video interview tips
Over half of hiring managers and recruiters use video interviews in their hiring process (source). This means it’s crucial to know how a video interview differs from a face-to-face interview so you can prepare yourself to sail through the video interview stage. In this blog post, we share our top video interview tips to set you up for success.
How do video interviews work?
There are two types of video interviews:
- Two-way video calls – this is where you have a hiring manager on the other end asking questions in real-time, like an in-person interview.
- One-way video interview – In a one-way video interview, you answer questions selected by the hiring manager in a timed digital environment.
Two-way video interviews
In a two-way video interview, the hiring manager will send you information on how to join the video call. Popular tools for two-way interviews are Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. Try to familiarise yourself with these platforms, so you enter your video interview feeling more confident.
One-way video interviews
Unlike the two-way video, there is no person on the other end asking you questions and waiting for your response in a one-way interview.
One-way video chats are an increasing method for the first round of interviews. The purposes of the one-way video interview and the phone interview are typically the same, i.e., to confirm that the candidate meets the basic requirements for the job.
Usually, this interview happens at the beginning of the hiring process, often as a replacement or supplement to the phone interview, which has typically served as the first step in screening job candidates. The concept is simple – the employer can request video footage from a job seeker, and the job seeker answers pre-scripted interview questions, usually by a specific date set by the hiring company. Then, members of the employer’s staff can watch and re-watch the candidate’s answers to the questions at their convenience. Even though it sounds more intimidating than the usual video interviews, both require similar steps to be successful.
Video interview dos and donts
Video interview dos:
Prepare your answers
Start by preparing and rehearsing your responses to standard interview questions like, ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ and ‘Tell me about yourself.’ And you can go more niche by googling interview questions for the specific job title. Sometimes websites like Glassdoor can even hint at what kind of questions the company you will interview for have asked in the past.
Know your location
Ensure you are in a quiet, well-lit environment. If you are doing it at home, ensure you’re in the most silent part of the house and tell your household that you have an interview, so they are also mindful of noise. You may also want to consider a noise-cancelling headset with a microphone if you can get one.
Check your internet speed
One of the things that can make a video call tricky is unstable internet. Test your internet to make sure it can deliver a smooth video stream. One easy way to ensure this is to disable the wifi on your other devices to free up bandwidth. Have a contingency plan in case your internet does fail. Can you hotspot from your phone? Can you connect to your internet router using an ethernet cable? If your internet fails, it’s not the end of the world; communicate with them and get back online as fast as possible.
Practice your answers
No matter how many blogs or articles you read or whom you ask for suggestions, we are still going to say it, not once but a thousand times, practice is the only key to your success.
You must know your script well enough to be natural. When you answer the questions, you need to sound like it is second nature to share this information. You will not project that unless you memorise it, practice it aloud, and grow into it, just like an actor does with a script. Give your family members or friends a list of questions and ask them to interview you. Even better if you can do this over a video call so you can get adjusted to interviewing via video. This is even more crucial advice if you tend to find interviews nerve-wracking.
Dress the part
Although you are not going to an office to meet with the interviewer face to face, you still must dress appropriately for a video interview. Employers still expect a traditional interview outfit. Be prepared to look as good as you can on camera.
Additional do’s for one-way interviews:
Prepare timed answers
Often, one-way interviews have a time limit for responses. Practice delivering timed answers to interview questions, do this on camera as much as possible, and review those recordings. This will help you work out any wrinkles before your interview. Ask friends or family members if you need help maintaining a relaxed demeanour.
Practice with the platform
Much of the information shared for two-way video interviews applies here. Prepare your answers to general interview questions with clear and concise examples of your accomplishments. However, there is something else you need to consider for these types of platforms.
Typically, one-way video interviews are delivered through purpose-built platforms that you may have never used before, like Hirevue. Take time to research the platform you’ll need to use and carefully read their instructions on how to use the platform. Some of these tools will even allow you to practice so that you aren’t going into your video interview completely cold.
Don’ts for any video interviews:
Wear distracting clothing
Avoid wearing plaid or stripes, as they can be distracting on camera.
Video from a dimly lit room
Lighting is important. Generally, your best strategy is to sit opposite a window for natural light. If you are interviewing at night, you can brighten up a dim space by adding floor or desk lamps.
Have questionable objects/art in your background
For your video interview, being aware of your surroundings is essential. Though a decorative bong, or nude art, might be decorative pieces in your home, your interviewer might interpret it differently. Try to go for a neutral, plain background.
Video interview from a noisy coffee shop
The optimal environment for an interview is a controlled one. Noisy coffee shops and cafes rarely have reliable wifi or consistent lighting. The music and conversations in the background can be distracting, so it’s best to avoid doing interviews here.
Video interview FAQs
Are video interviews harder?
Video interviews themselves are not harder, but they are different. On the one hand, you don’t have to worry about delayed transport, but you have to consider whether or not you have a stable internet connection. Also
Where to do a video interview
Aim to do your video interview in a quiet, neutral and well-lit environment.
Bonus tip for video interview
If you don’t like seeing yourself on video, minimise your video and make the interviewer larger on the screen, so you’re focusing on their face rather than your own.