I’ve often thought that video interviews are similar to a performance at the theatre.
- You have to prepare what you are going to say – just as actors have to rehearse their lines in advance.
Except that you don’t know what the questions are going to be….
- It’s the real thing, not a dress rehearsal !
If you fluff your lines you won’t get a second chance ….
- You’re depending on the technology working, e. the internet connection and your computer, rather than the lighting, sound and stage management at a theatre
Except that you don’t have a team of technicians to help out when things go wrong….
- It’s live !
You have an audience (the interviewers), who will be scrutinising your every move and phrase. There is also going to be an element of unpredictability with the possibility of something not going to plan…..
So what can you do to ensure that YOUR performance goes without a hitch?
1) Prepare and rehearse
Many of the ways you prepare for a video interview are the same as for a face to face interview. You need to:
- Research the employer
- Prepare what you are going to wear
- Prepare your answers to key questions – practising out loud if that helps you
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewers
For a video interview, in you also need to :
- Check you are familiar with all the functions of the video platform you are using. You could do a test call with someone the day before
- Check the internet is working properly
- If you’re using Skype, check your Skype account and username look professional
2) Setting the scene
Which room is going to be the most suitable? You should choose somewhere the backdrop is as uncluttered as possible. A view of a weeks’ worth of ironing in the background is not going to help you to create the professional image you want.
You also need to be sure that you are not going to be disturbed. This is particularly problematic at the moment when children are off school. Make sure that partners, pets, and children don’t disturb you.
3) Check the sound and lighting
The background should be well lit. A light behind you may cast a shadow over your face.
Log in in advance and check the sound. Set the volume to the right level, and decide if you are going to use the computer audio or your phone.
4) Get your props ready
Make sure you have everything to hand that you might need such as your notes, CV, and questions that you want to ask.
5) Choose the right costume
Dress smartly but avoid stripes or busy patterns. Wear colours that you know suit you; white can be draining for most people. Don’t make the mistake of wearing your scruffiest tracky bottoms normally reserved for DIY or gardening (or worse still your pyjamas!) You never know if you might need to get out of your chair to fetch a document or adjust the lighting.
6) Give your best performance
Pay great attention to your body language. It’s vital that you make eye contact by looking at the camera, remembering to smile occasionally. Lean forward slightly and use your hands a little to convey engagement and energy.
7) Project your voice
Don’t be a ‘Johnny One Note. ’Make sure you speak clearly, with enthusiasm, and vary the pitch so that you don’t sound monotonous.
8) Engage the audience
Maintain eye contact and nod when the interviewer is speaking, to show you are engaged in the process. Use the interviewer’s name to build rapport – the right name of course!
9) Ending the performance
Instead of taking a bow, thank the interviewer for their time and ask when you are likely to hear about the outcome.
10) After the performance
Be sure to send a follow up email as soon as possible after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time, confirming your interest in the position, and making any points you feel you missed in the interview.
Didn’t get the award? Be gracious in defeat.
If you aren’t offered the job, take the time to email and say you for the opportunity. You never know what other roles the organisation may have in the pipeline that you may be considered for.
Many of the recruiters currently hiring are now using video interviews as a replacement for face to face interviews. Even before the lockdown, they were becoming more commonplace in the hiring process. By following these tips, you can still succeed in getting the role you dreamed of!
And remember if you don’t get the role, don’t get too down about it, there will undoubtedly be others you can audition for. Console yourself with this quote by Sean O’Casey:
“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”!
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