Preparing for a video interview

By Dan Carroll

Covid-19 has had a significant effect on the way companies recruit.  Even when the pandemic is a distant memory, I expect some of the changes to stick around as we have all gotten used to the convenience of technology, and moved past the social awkwardness that we felt at first.

So, with the video interview likely to be a key stage in any recruitment process going forward, here are some top tips to help candidates prepare for their – literal – screen test.

1. Raise your armrests

Setting the armrests as high as they will go on your chair gives you somewhere to rest your elbows, and forces you to sit up and open your lungs to help project your voice.  Sitting with your hands in your lap will make you slump forward and arch your shoulders. That can make you look less confident.

2. Dress for success

Hoodies won’t cut it, and the suit and tie have died, certainly in the tech industry.  Wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in.  Don’t try to dress as someone else, dress as the best version of yourself.  If you can get some insight from your recruiter, you can aim to mirror the level of casual v formal that your interviewer is likely to opt for. Wear shoes in case you need to step away from the camera to get something you’ve forgotten.

3. Don’t spend all day on screen

Fitting a video interview in amongst a full day of video meetings will show in your energy levels. Clear a good space in your diary, move around and get some fresh air before you begin.  The convenience of being able to dial in and out in moments can make it too tempting to squeeze too much into your day.  If you want the job, it’s worth dedicating the time you would usually take to travel to prepare in a different way.

4. Let there be light

An influencer light might be a step too far, but make sure your space is well lit, without glare or making your head shiny. It’s also a nice idea to have something obvious in the shot, like an interesting object or picture which can act as a conversation point and ice breaker.

5. Two is better than one

If possible, use two monitors.  This enables you to maintain eye contact by having your camera at eye level, while being able to easily refer to relevant information like your CV, notes, or examples of work.

6. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

Difficult questions are an important part of any interview – it’s not just the content of your answer that the interviewer is looking for, it’s how you handle being put on the spot.  Practice explaining your reasons for leaving a role, a poor track record from previous employment, redundancy, and so on. Take ownership of mistakes you’ve made in the past – don’t be defensive and try to justify them.  The more you say these things out loud the more comfortable you will feel in talking about them, and the better they will sound.

7. Engage, engage, engage

Imagine you’re standing in front of the interviewer in person.  It should feel like giving a presentation every time.  You need to engage your audience.

At BMS Tech Sales, we provide career navigation coaching including interview tips, presentation review, and practice sessions.  Contact us to find out how we can help you prepare.