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    It’s increasingly likely that your next job interview process will include at least one video interview. What has been a growing trend over the past decade has seen a stratospheric increase in recent times due to global events and so utilising the many benefits this process offers, whilst navigating several easily avoidable hazards, has never been more important. Here at Keylime Consultants we thought the time has never been better to pull together our Guide To Video Interview Success to offer some assistance to job seekers who may be new to this approach or seasoned remote interviewers who may need a refresh.

    Two Types of Video Interviews;

    Remote interviews will predominantly take two formats: Live Video Interview and Pre-recorded Video Interview.

    Live video interviews. Live video interviews allow employers and candidates to connect remotely in real-time offering the convenience of a phone interview with the advantage of capturing the personal connection you get from an in-person meeting. Much of the preparation you’d undertake for a face to face interview should be applied here as there are no second-takes and you will need the same conversational flow as a conventional interview. Employers may use video software tools to conduct the interview that can also record, replay and share the interview with colleagues.

    Pre-recorded or One-way video interviews. One-way interviews require applicants to respond to preset interview questions which will be recorded and reviewed by the interviewer at a later date. With this format, you will more than likely be given a fixed amount of recording time for each question and so it’s equally as important as ever that you are familiar with all aspects of the role and business you are applying for in order to demonstrate your capabilities in this timescale. One-way interviews are becoming increasingly common among hiring managers allowing them to quickly and efficiently screen more candidates, often ahead of final shortlisting. Videos can be watched anywhere at any time and schedules don’t need to be cleared for a full-on interview.

    The Do’s & the Don’ts of Video Interviews

    We’ve picked out 8 key areas you need to consider that will really improve your overall performance during a video interview. Regardless of whether the format is live or pre-recorded, our advice is the same.

    Definite Do’s…

    • Know how to use your software: Whether it’s Skype, MS Teams, WebEx, Zoom or GoToMeeting etc etc, know how to use the technology and use it well. Whether you choose to do the video interview on your laptop or desktop, you should do a test run. Familiarise yourself with your webcam and microphone, and check the strength of your internet connection too, a stable link is of paramount importance. Try and avoid using a smart phone unless the interview has been set up with very little notice, it may signal a too casual approach and is typically less stable by way of hardware.
    • Prep your surroundings: When it comes to where you’ll be doing your interview, try to find a quiet spot that’s tidy, presentable and professional looking. Check what’s visible in the background and consider whether it’s appropriate for an interview. If you don’t have bookshelves showing how well read you are as a back drop then a blank wall in a neutral colour is equally as good. Adjust your lighting to avoid shadows or over-exposure. Soft, natural lighting is the way to go. Choose somewhere you can concentrate and feel comfortable and try to remember to get a glass of water ready nearby.
    • Get the right angle: Your camera needs to be at eye level and you need to maintain ‘eye contact’, especially when delivering your answers, by looking into the camera and avoiding the temptation to keep your eyes fixed on the screen.
    • Prevent potential distractions: Remember the video that went viral where the kids walk in on their Dad’s televised news interview? Awkward interruptions can really throw you off piste, so ensure your phone and email notifications are on silent, let your friends know you’re busy and ask the people you live with not to disturb you. If you have pets, it’s best to keep them in another room. Hiring managers tell us that avoidable disturbances are a significant detractor from a good video interview performance and can reflect badly on the candidate’s perceived professionalism and preparedness.
    • Dress to Impress: You’ll be in a stronger mindset if you treat it like a face-to-face interview and put on something you’d wear in person. Even though you’ll hopefully only be visible from the waist up (if we can see your legs, you need to get closer to the camera!)  it’s a good idea to wear something smart on the bottom too. You may need to get up to adjust the equipment or lighting and mismatched attire isn’t a good look.
    • Body Language: Even though you’re not physically sitting in front of the interviewer, you still need to be mindful of your body language. No fidgeting, slouching, or over animated arms and hands. Make sure you sit up straight, maintain eye contact and look engaged. Most importantly of all, especially in a video interview format – don’t forget to smile. Smiling naturally disarms tense situations and demonstrates confidence, energy, openness, and warmth.
    • Write up key notes: Know what you plan to say. If necessary, you can post key headlines on prompt cards at eye level behind the camera. It’s fine to refer to your notes occasionally in the interview but if you really want to impress interviewers look at the camera almost all of the time and only refer to your notes when you need to.
    • Practice makes perfect: We make no apology for stating the obvious, there’s no such thing as being over prepared. Try practicing so you can get comfortable both with your interview skills and any potential awkwardness of interviewing on camera. Better yet, record your practise run – that way you’ll be able to see first hand how you’re coming across.

    Check out the link here to try out a webcam test, or here to experiment with a free video interview practise zone.
    When you come to undertake a pre-recorded video interview, you may get the chance to complete a practice question. It might be tempting to skip over it and jump straight into the real thing, it’s definitely worth taking the time to complete it. Not only will you get a feel for what you can expect throughout the rest of the interview, it’s also an opportunity to check if you’re loud enough, clear enough and discover the best angle for your camera.

    Absolute Don’ts…

    • Don’t move around too much:  Stay still and focused and avoid using a swivel chair – you may find yourself channelling your nerves into inadvertently shuffling around on wheels.
    • Don’t log in with an unprofessional username: At best you may come across as juvenile, at worst inappropriate. Think ahead!
    • Don’t get distracted by other windows or programs. The only thing on your screen should be the other person’s face. Disable any notifications.
    • Don’t fall foul of a time lag: Pause before answering. Consider that there might be a short time lag in the video so you don’t want to appear as if you are interrupting or talking over the interviewers.
    • Don’t forget the importance of that vital first impression: It matters more than ever as video interviewers are hyper focused on you as you fill their screen. Prepare those opening few hello’s, a warm and sincere greeting accompanied by a smile will ensure that your first impression is impressive and confident.

    What if things go wrong?

    With software led interactions there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. Here’s our suggestions about how to save an unplanned situation just in case.

    • If your video or audio stops working: Before the interview, consider and discuss contingency plans and ensure that the interviewer has your phone number and invite them to contact you by telephone to complete the interview in the event of technical difficulties.
    • If noise interrupts the conversation: If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
    • If someone enters the room unexpectedly: If, despite your best efforts, family members or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.
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