Video interviews

In light of the COVID-19 emergency and social distancing restrictions, many organisations have turned to conducting interviews using video conferencing software such as Whatsapp, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, WebEx and others.

This page contains advice and tips on how to ensure your video interview runs as smoothly as possible.

Get in the zone

On the day of the interview, it's good to get "in the zone" as you would in a usual face to face interview.

What would be your normal routine? Try and mirror this as much as possible as some individuals find the adrenaline and nervous energy focuses them for the interview. 

Background and composition

Plan in advance where you will position yourself for your interview. Make sure your background is tidy to create a good impression.

Have a think about whether you will just want to show your head and shoulders, or whether you want to show your upper body, e.g. have yourself sitting at a table or desk; whatever you feel more confident with and whichever you feel works best for you.

Lighting

Lighting is important as you will want the interviewer(s) to see your facial expressions to help build trust and rapport during your interview.

Try not to have a window behind you as this is likely to cast your face in shadow. If you are in a darker room, you may want to consider using an extra light to illuminate your face. Experiment in advance of your interview to make sure you’ve got it right when the day comes.

Interruptions

Let everyone in your household know when you have your interview and make plans in advance to ensure your interview space will be as free as possible from any potential interruptions.  

If you do have children, family members or pets who could possibly interrupt you, mention this to your interviewers at the start of your interview, who are bound to be sympathetic given the circumstances.

If you do experience an interruption, apologise, stay calm and resolve it. Acting calmly and professionally during unexpected or challenging situations can be a good reflection of how you might handle tricky scenarios in your work life.

Eye contact

Eye contact is crucial for building trust and rapport. When you are being interviewed, take care to look directly into the lens of the camera that is recording you rather than the screen. You may want to practice beforehand if you're not familiar with video calling.

Body language

Don’t forget about your body language as it’s still important. Take care to sit up straight and have your camera or recording device at an angle that naturally allows you to keep your head up straight. Both of these postures can convey professionalism and confidence.

Consider using your hands to emphasise points or to help punctuate your speech. Research shows that showing open hands can aide trust and rapport building, and it can also be used to convey confidence. If you’re not used to doing this, make sure you practice beforehand until you feel comfortable.

Facial expressions and non-verbal cues

Smiling can help make you look more personable, confident and approachable, and simple things like nodding while your interviewer is talking can convey good listening skills.

Notes

Arrange some notes around your interview area to help jog your memory or serve as a prompt. Don’t go overboard as you don’t want it to sound like you’re reading from a script.

Practice run

Make sure you have set everything up way in advance of your actual interview and do a practice run with friends, family or colleagues. You will want to check that the lighting and camera work is suitable, that the sound is good, and that you are comfortable and familiar with whatever technology and software you are using.

Be kind to yourself

Remember, these are unprecedented and difficult times so be kind to yourself. Very few people will have had experience doing video interviews. You’re going to be in the same boat as your fellow candidates and no interviewer will be expecting perfection.

RCN Careers resources

You may want to see our page on interview skills for general advice on interview techniques, structuring your answers and practice and preparation tips, as well as sample interview questions and how to answer them.

RCN Careers also offers career coaching appointments over the telephone for those wishing to hone their interview techniques.

 

Interviews

Interview skills and techniques, as well as example interview questions.

Your Career

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