5 Essential Tips for a Successful Video Interview

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Since PR is all about enhancing reputations and portraying outwardly good impressions, it is no wonder that the most important skill any potential employer will be looking out for is your ability to market people, products and businesses but firstly, yourself.  Mastering how you are viewed to others is therefore key to being successful; which is why things like video interviews are not uncommon in the application process. Not only do video interviews enable employers to ‘meet’ prospective candidates before a face to face meeting, it enables them to see how candidates come across as video conferencing becomes increasingly a preferred option for companies as opposed to spending lots of money on employee travel.  It also allows interviewers to record your interview.

Video interviews usually use VoIP software like Skype which requires internet connectivity, a webcam, speakers and a microphone.  A video interview can be a daunting prospect but fear not, here are some tips and advice that will help you relax, enjoy and more importantly make as good a first impression as possible.

1. Appearance

Just as you would for a face to face interview, ensure that you dress professionally – head to toe, not just waist up!  Dressing professionally serves a double purpose: not only does it give a good impression but it also makes you feel more professional which in turn impacts your ‘performance’.   Given that much of the interview is visual, try and plan ahead so that your outfit doesn’t clash with your background.

2. Be Prepared

Video interviews can sometimes feel quite informal but it is worthwhile remembering that whilst you are in a position where you are being assessed, no part of the application process is informal.  This is why you should prepare for your video interview just as you would for a face to face one.

Go through answers to questions that are likely to be asked during the interview and think about what you want your interviewer to know about you so that you can be sure to include all the important points in your interview.

3. Don’t take technology for granted

The nature of technology is that it will let you down when you need it the most!  And there is nothing more unnerving nor frustrating for both parties involved if technology fails during your interview.  It is therefore a wise idea to check that it all works beforehand.

Most webcam or VoIP software nowadays allow you to see a view of what the other person sees – use this to make sure that you look good and professional.  Check the lighting, the angles and your background – basically, everything within the spectrum of what your webcam shows.  It would look pretty unprofessional if you had your laundry drying in the background when you switch your webcam on!

4. Look at the camera not your screen

Given that you can see yourself and the person you are speaking to you on your monitor, it is only natural to want to look at your screen but if you do this, for the interviewer, it will look like you are looking elsewhere and can therefore give the impression that you are not focused.  Just as you would maintain eye contact in a face to face interview, emulate this eye contact by ensuring that you look at the camera.

5. Remember that it is a video interview

Although you want to appear as natural as possible, you must remember that there are technical influences at play that would not be a factor if you were meeting face to face.  It is not uncommon for there to be slight lags – delays between you speaking and your interviewer hearing what you are saying so, always leave a slight pause before answering questions and don’t be unnerved if there is a gap between you finishing your answer and your interviewer speaking.

Nick Williams works for Acuity, a UK-based training company.  Nick is engaged in a variety of workshops, including assertiveness training and time management.

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