What makes for a successful video interview? We share our insights and experiences.

As recruitment specialists and interviewers we know these can be difficult, so here are our top tips for a successful online video:

The basics

  • Wear something appropriate (the whole outfit just in case you need to stand up!).
  • Have an appropriate background – it doesn’t have to be a blank wall.
  • Think about lighting – front lighting is better so if you can move a lamp in front of your computer that would work well. Don’t sit at the window or in too much shade. If you can, try it out at the same time the day before to ensure the natural lighting works well.
  • Ensure you’re not looking down into your laptop if you can help it – use a stand or stack some books up or even lower your chair so your camera is as near to eye level as possible
  • Noise – try and minimise background noise – some households are busy so try and tuck yourself away if possible.

Body language

  • Remember where your camera is on your computer and (although it feels a bit weird) try and look at it rather than the screen as much as you can – that will appear to them as eye contact! Remember to follow normal eye contact though – don’t stare at them and equally don’t look out the window or at yourself!
  • Don’t use hand gestures as it comes across badly on screen. Try and ‘listen’ with your eyes, small nods, etc. Think about your posture and how your screen is set up (see above).
  • Remember you have a mic on your computer so don’t bang about or type as people will hear you.

Use video interviewing to your advantage

  • Have your notes in front of you – ideally printed or on another screen so that you can remember what you’re saying. Don’t read from them though.
  • Do take the opportunity if you can – depends how you’re interviewing – to screen share and show them your work if appropriate.

Things don’t always go to plan

Technology might not work, Wifi can drop in and out, just because it’s a video call doesn’t mean that other meetings aren’t also happening – people can still be delayed, you might be interrupted by others in your household, using technology to communicate sometimes means there’s a time delay or lag. Make sure you leave a beat between the end of someone else talking and you starting to avoid talking over someone else – especially if it’s a meeting with more than one other person.

Don’t let any of these things phase you – if there’s a problem on your side ensure you apologise just as you always would if you’d been unavoidably late to an interview. Everyone is understanding so try and take it in your stride.

Tone / messaging

If I’m interviewing for the same roles I have always done what has changed? What do people want to hear?

  • Positivity: People want to hire positive individuals who are going to be able to cope well with joining a firm at a very different time.
  • Honesty: It’s really important that people are transparent and able to be open with how they’re feeling – and the challenges the present situation faces.
  • Communications skills: Now more than ever the ability to communicate effectively is critical – interviewers are probing to try and understand how you communicate, if you can manage up, what you’d do to ensure you were visible in a virtual environment where you can easily become invisible.
  • Organisational skills and proactivity: Working remotely requires new levels of planning and self-motivation – questions around how you drive yourself and how you organise your day / week in terms of work may come up – be open about how you work best as it’s important that they know from the outset how to get the best from you.
  • Technology skills: The more tech savvy you are, the easier your virtual transition to a new firm.
  • Kindness: Ensure to ask how they’re keeping / wish them safe and well / thank them for their time in the same way you always would.
  • Be prepared: To ask additional questions about how you’re currently working / your set up / how you are / COVID-19 conversations, etc, and be able to answer these questions in an appropriate way.

Interview practice is always helpful – if you can, schedule a test to ensure that any tech problems are ironed out – also think about booking in a mock interview with your recruiter who can point out any issues and help you to improve your technique.

If you have any questions on this topic or would like to know more about the roles we are working on please contact Joanna.milne@totumpartners.com

You can also find our current roles here https://www.totumpartners.com/job-search