Video camera for an interview

Top tips: Preparing for an online video interview

So you’ve researched and chosen a firm to apply to. After the application forms, the online video interview will likely be the next stage. This stage can feel quite daunting, especially if you haven’t done one before. Here are our top tips for preparing for an online video interview.

1 – Know the format of the interview

The online video interview usually takes the format of a series of pre-recorded questions which will come up on your screen. After this, you may be given some time (usually about 30 seconds) to think and prepare your answer.

Once the preparation time has ended, the video recording will begin and you will need to present your answer. Usually, you will be given a time window in which to record your answer. After this window has ended, the recording will automatically end and your answer submitted.

2 – Prepare your answers

As with any other interview, it helps to be prepared with answers for common questions. Make sure you have thought about how you can demonstrate each of the competencies which the firm is looking for.

Know your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to talk about previous experiences to evidence them. It can help to have several examples jotted down on a notepad to help jog your memory during your preparation time.

Because you have a limited time, practice answering questions concisely and clearly. Some applicants find it useful to practice sitting in front of their laptop and presenting answers as if they were in a video interview. Speaking into camera isn’t natural for all of us, so it’s useful to get comfortable with it before you record your interview.

3 – Have a notepad ready

During your preparation time, you might find it useful to write down some key points that will form your answer. This might help to organise your answer and enable you to answer more fluently.

Additionally, just before the recording starts, you can prop up your notepad in front of your laptop screen. This means that you will be able to look towards the camera and see your notes without having to look down.

4 – Tidy and organise your room

One of the easiest things to improve your video interview is to tidy your room. Check that there isn’t anything distracting in the room behind you and tidy away any mess. Whilst it doesn’t have to be a completely blank wall, you should aim to present yourself professionally.

Another key tip is to ensure that your room is well lit. This will improve the image quality of your recording and make it look more professional. Remember, this might be the first time that any of the recruitment team will have seen your face, so be sure to make a good first impression!

Don’t be that person where all the recruiter can see is a pair of eyes, lit up by a computer screen. I can guarantee that you won’t pass this stage if you hide your face in darkness.

5 – Dress the part

Another seemingly obvious, but very relevant tip is to dress as if you were attending an interview in person. Just because you record a video interview in the comfort of your bedroom, it doesn’t mean that you should dress informally.

Dressing smartly, shows the recruiter that you can present yourself in a professional manner. Additionally, dressing the part can also help get you into a professional mindset and may improve the way you answer questions.

6 – Look directly into the camera

One common mistake that many people make at video interviews is not looking into the camera. Whilst you may be able to see your recording on your screen, there is no need to be looking at your screen the whole time. Not looking into the camera is similar to not making eye contact; you will come across as less personable and professional.

Position your laptop or your chair so that your eyes are level with the camera. You don’t want to be looking down on your ‘interviewer’, nor do you want to be looking up at them throughout the recordings.

7 – Check that you have a stable internet connection

Another hugely important way to ensure you have a successful interview is to make sure that you have a stable internet connection. If your internet connection drops during the interview, it might fail to upload your answers.

This creates further problems and you might need to email graduate recruitment to explain what happened and then ask to attempt any missed questions. To avoid this hassle, keep things simple and check your internet connection and speed before you begin.

8 – Remove all disturbances

Just as you would with face-to-face interviews, make sure your phone is turned off or on silent. Additionally, let all your flatmates know when you’re going to record the interview so that they know not to disturb you. It might be useful to put up a sign on your door just to remind them of this.

Make sure that appliances such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners aren’t being used. If you live by a noisy road, shut your window to reduce the sound of traffic. Background noises can be very distracting to whoever is assessing you and shows a lack of professionalism.

9 – Check your sound

Nothing is worse for the interviewer than to put up with constant crackling or feedback noises. To get around this, I would recommend using a pair of headphones with a built in microphone. This will prevent sound from your speakers from reaching your microphone causing feedback. If you want to go the extra mile, it could be worth investing in an external USB microphone. This will have a much higher sound quality than your laptop or headphone microphone. It’s a great investment which you’ll be able to use it in future video calls and interviews.

Good luck!

This may well be the first time that the recruitment team have seen you and heard you speak. In addition to preparing your answers, much of the work is making sure that you look and act professionally in your recordings.

Follow all our tips above and to ensure that you make a good first impression. Soon, you’ll be one step further to your training contract and you’ll want to begin preparing for an assessment centre!

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