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Video Interviewing Advice for Job Seekers

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Video Interviewing Advice for Job Seekers

As governments encourage their citizens to stay at home and self-isolate, organisations are adapting to what is for now, the new normal. Recruitment processes are still going ahead, but now in a virtual capacity. If you’re unsure about video interviewing, read on to find out how to perfect your video interviewing skills.

The different types of video interviews

There are a couple of different formats your video interview could be in: live and recorded. Your consultant or interviewer will let you know in advance about the type of video interview.

A live interview runs like an in-person, face-to-face interview would. You’ll have an interviewer, potentially a hiring manager, who will ask you questions which you will have the opportunity to answer. This runs as a normal interview would and will last between 30 minutes to an hour. If you have more than one interviewer, the likelihood is that you will be in a three- or four-way video call. Like with an in-person interview, your interviewer will let you know the structure of the interview ahead of time.

A recorded interview is structured differently. You will be shown a question and will be given anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes to read the question and formulate an answer. You'll then have a limited time to answer the question, which is typically around two minutes. With some recorded interviews, you’ll get the opportunity to record a practice answer and watch it back. Although this may seem bizarre, it will allow you to review your answer. In this sense, you’re given a second chance at answering questions; an unexpected advantage of recorded video interviews. With recorded interviews, you will be given a certain time frame to complete it in. This is beneficial as you can complete the interview when it suits you. It may feel unnatural to record yourself, so practice by videoing yourself answering generic interview questions on your phone. It may feel even more uncomfortable watching these videos back, but they will give a good idea on what you do well on and how you can improve.

Set up the technical parts

Ensure that your microphone works, that you’re not muted and that your camera settings are on. Make sure that you have access to the internet, and that it’s a stable connection, as you don’t want your interview to continuously cut out. Prior to your interview, make sure your device is fully charged and ready to go. Not everyone will have access to a laptop, but most video interviewing software are supported by smart phones. Don’t be afraid to ask your consultant or interviewer ahead of the interview if you’re not sure of the more technical parts or if you are struggling to set up. They will then be able to advise you.

If you do not have access to a laptop or a smart phone and are therefore unable to do a video interview, let your consultant or interviewer know beforehand. The interview will then be conducted as a telephone interview. Additionally, if on the day technology fails all, the interviewer will provide a back up to have a phone call instead of video interview.

Body language is still important

Being on video, and in the comfort of your own home, it’s very easy to lose a formal mindset. Remember not to slouch in your chair, fiddle with a pen or an object near you and don’t gaze away from your computer. Trying to find a place to look can be difficult over video interview; you want to look at the interviewer, but it can feel unnatural. Try drawing a smiley face on a post-it note and place it beside your webcam (be careful not to cover it). It may seem silly, but it helps to emulate eye contact. This will also help focus your attention, so that you’re not distracted by your surroundings.

Be mindful of delays

With video interviews, you may experience a lag between being asked a question and answering it. It’s easy to cut one another off, so to prevent this from happening, pause for a couple of seconds after being asked a question. This is to ensure that you have correctly heard the question and that the interviewer can hear your answer clearly.

Keep your notes beside you

An advantage of video interviewing over in-person interviewing is that you can keep your interview research in front of you. This can support you in answering questions, alleviating the pressure that comes when interviewing for roles. Be mindful not to stare continuously at your notes; from the point of the interviewer, constantly looking down at your desk may seem distracting and unprofessional. If you’re worried about this, bring out the post-it notes again, write your key points and place these around the edge of your screen. This will help prevent you staring in the wrong direction, as well as being a subtle help to your interview.

Be aware of your surroundings

Video interviewing from home means different things to different people. Some people live with their families and others with roommates. Let those you live with know in advance that you are interviewing to ensure you don’t have unwanted intruders disrupting your interview, and potentially putting you off. The situation can be more difficult if you have smaller children in the house; video interviews typically last between 30 minutes and an hour, so ask a relative or friend for some help looking after them in this time if needs be. As well as this, make sure your background is tidy and presentable to your potential employer. To help eliminate any unconscious biases, interview in front of a blank wall. Ensure that there is proper lighting; if you’re in a darker corner of your home, something as simple as turning on the light can improve the quality of the video interview.

Dress for the interview

As you’re interviewing in the comfort of your own home, it’s very easy to forget the formality of the interview. Dress how you would for an in-person interview. If the interview is for a corporate organisation, such as a bank or professional services firm, wear smart attire. If you’re interviewing for a more laid back, start-up organisation, then opt for smart casual (even if your interviewers are in t-shirts and shorts!)

Take away any distractions

Like with an in-person interview, you will need to put your phone away and on silent, as well as taking away any other items that could distract you during your interview. Try and keep a clear desk for the interview. If you have any pets, keep them in another room for the duration of the interview.

Practice makes perfect

If you’re interviewing through a recruitment agency, speak to your consultant about how to stand out in video interviews. It may be worth doing a practice run with your consultant. They’ll be able to advise on your answers but also on your posture, gaze and other aspects to ensure that you have a successful outcome.

If you need further support and advice for your video interview, then contact our team today.


VMA GROUP is a leading international interim and permanent communications, digital and marketing recruitment, and executive search specialist. Specialist practices cover internal and change communications, external communications, public affairs, marketing, digital, and agency services.

We have a reputation for providing leading consultancy services and advice supported by in-depth knowledge of the professions we recruit for. Our thought leadership and benchmarking studies have become go-to resources for the communications and marketing industry supporting planning and decision-making.

VMA GROUP has offices in London, Manchester, Amsterdam, and Brussels, but we work with organisations and individuals on a global basis.