As companies increasingly tell their employees to work from home until the coronavirus pandemic gets under control, job seekers are finding that potential employers are switching in-person interviews to video.
Video interviews are often used in the early stages of the interview process to filter out large numbers of candidates. They can vary in style and length. The obvious benefits are the money and time savings for both you and the company. It also means that the recruiter and their colleagues can watch the interview again rather than just relying on notes.
Research the format
It's important that you know in advance what format the video interview will take, as the two main types can create different experiences:
Live - this is similar to a regular face-to-face interview. You'll speak to the interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time over a video connection using a service such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Live videos enable employers to recreate the traditional interview format without requiring the candidate to travel to their office, meaning they can recruit from anywhere in the world. In this situation it's important to treat the conversation as you would an interview at the employer's offices and build a rapport with the interviewer.
Pre-recorded - this is a much less personal experience as you won't be speaking to a real person. You'll be presented with pre-recorded or even written questions on screen, and then you'll have to record your answer on video, often to a time limit. This method is used to help employers who have lots of candidates, as they can simply watch your answers later at a time that suits them. Practice is very important in this situation but you may be able to do the interview at a time of your choosing up to a set deadline.
Prepare your surroundings
Make sure you choose a quiet space for the interview, and tidy the area so it looks presentable. It's always good to have a clear, uncluttered space to help you to concentrate on the task at hand, and to remind you that you're in a formal situation.
Your interviewer will be able to see more than you think, and the smallest distraction in the background that you thought wasn't in view could give too much away about your personal life, or reflect badly on you.
Ultimately, a video interview is supposed to follow the same rules and format as a face-to-face interview, so it's a good idea to wear the same outfit you'd wear if you were going to the workplace. Being professionally dressed will also put you in the right mind-set, and stop you from falling into an overly comfortable 'I'm at home in bed' state.
Log in five or 10 minutes early so you can be calm and centered when the video interview begins. Print out your resume and have it nearby, along with the job description and any speaking points you want to hit or notes you've taken about the company or position.
Maintain good eye contact and body language
It's easier for your eyes to wander when the person you're talking to isn't in the room. Maintain "eye contact" by looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen or at your own photo. Make sure your face is centered and try not to move around. Keep good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.
If you take the time to prepare your answers and follow these video interview tips, you'll be more likely to make a strong impression and hopefully score the job - or at least another interview.