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10 tips for a successful video interview

Michael Port, the NY Times best-selling author, once said that ‘People say ‘’yes’’ when we’ve affected them intellectually, emotionally, or physically.’ He was referring to presentations, but this simple rule can also be applied to the interview process.

As a job applicant, you want to engage your interviewers on both business and personal levels. If you’re being interviewed via video as opposed to face-to-face, establishing and maintaining a vibrant connection with the people on the other side of the screen can be especially challenging. While the process is essentially the same, video technology introduces important differences that you need to be aware of in order to achieve the desired impression.

Here are some tips and tricks from QFinds:

Rule #1: Keep it eye-level

Wrong camera angle is among Jon Acuff’s 10 worst Zoom habits: “We don’t need to see 93 percent of the ceiling and seven percent of the face as it’s being awkward.” Position your camera roughly at the same height as your eyes – put a box under your laptop if needed.

Rule #2: Get the light right

Getting your lighting right is key to ensuring you look your best on a video call. Whether you use natural or artificial lighting, make sure that your primary source of light is positioned in front of you (close behind your camera is usually the best option). Adjusting your screen brightness can also help to achieve the right lighting setup.

Rule #3: Don’t be a bore

One of your foremost tasks during a job interview is to keep the interviewers interested and engaged. How do you achieve this? Keep your answers short, vary your speech tone and tempo, share a story, tell a joke! Remember that the best way to enthuse the audience is by demonstrating enthusiasm, so make sure you don’t appear indifferent or lacking in passion towards the job.

Rule #4: Look ’em in the eye

Eye contact in video calls is just as important as in face-to-face interactions. Looking people in the eye over video is tricky, but achievable when done right. The best way to simulate eye-to-eye contact when videoconferencing is by looking into the camera rather than at the screen.

Rule #5: Eliminate distractions

Your phone might be giving you the silent treatment three days in a row, but come that all-important meeting and there you have it – texts and calls begin pouring in. To avoid unpleasant and potentially nerve-wrecking distractions, turn your phone off or put it on airplane mode. The ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door is a way to ward off in-person intrusions, including (especially!) at home.

Rule #6: Do the pre-interview research

An effective way to make an impression on the interviewers is to show that you know and understand what the company does and how you could fit its needs. Bring yourself up-to-speed with the company’s history, mission and culture, its current deals, projects, and offerings, its management and its key competitors. Is the company your ultimate dream workplace? Make it known by placing something meaningful and of relevance in your background – the logo of the company’s partner charity or the CEO’s favourite book – subtle details can make a profound difference.

Rule #7: Practice a lot. And then practice some more.

Whether you’re having a video or a face-to-face interview, practice makes perfect. The more you go over the questions, the more confident your answers become - it's as simple as that. The advantage of a video interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you with key points – you may

Rule #8: Show your passion

In her Harvard Business Review article, Sabina Nawaz talks about passion as one of the main indicators of a great job candidate. To demonstrate your enthusiasm to hiring managers, she recommends starting with the “why” when talking about your career history and goals. This means explaining your motivations – why you did what you did and how important it was for you (this is the time to mention your unpaid work experience). Another good opportunity to demonstrate genuine interest in the company is to ask questions – prepare them in advance, but make sure they are genuine and not a mere formality (also, never ask anything that you could find out on the company website).

Rule #9: Get the recruiter on your side

Your recruiter might not be the person making the final decision on your job application, but he or she can definitely work to your advantage. To make the most out of your relationship with recruiters, develop a good rapport with them before you even start applying for jobs. To become your recruiter’s superstar candidate make sure you:

  1. Are courteous and polite

Don’t overwhelm your recruiter with emails and calls. Talk respectfully. Send thank you notes.

  1. Follow through with commitments

Keep your promises, make it to meetings, stick to arrangements.

  1. Show them trust and respect for their expertise

Ask and listen for the recruiter’s advice and let them guide you in the right direction.

Rule #10: Breath in, breath out.

If, like most people, you’re prone to interview anxiety, try this NHS-approved breathing exercise to calm your interview nerves.

We hope that you feel confident and prepared to ace that virtual job interview you’ve been dreading. Now that remote interviewing is becoming a new normal under the pandemic, make sure you know how to win employers over via video. Learn more on our blog.