Despite how many interviews you’ll go through over your life, it often feels like it never gets any easier!

Now throw in the added layer of conducting that interview online, and the stress levels can easily go through the roof.

Video interviewing was already becoming a popular alternative to in-person interviews – and all social distancing requirements have done is accelerate it!

First time going through a video interview? Want to know what to expect? Looking for ways to prepare yourself?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

As permanent recruitment consultants, we run our fair share of video interviews.

We think that this gives us a bit of a unique insight into what you need to do to prep for an upcoming video interview…

1) “Testing, testing, 1-2-3”: start with a tech check

The very first thing you should do when you confirm a video interview is make sure that you can get the tech to work.

That means checking your connection for stability, looking up any scheduled outages or maintenance and ensuring that both your microphone and webcam work and are properly set up.

Don’t forget to check your settings, either. Before interview day, you might want to go into your sound settings and configure your microphone to ensure that you can be hard loud and clear.

And finally, make sure you know how to use the platform properly!

Many interviewers will use their preferred program for hosting video interviews. Before the interview, find out what specific system your interviewer is using, learn how to use it and fiddle around with the settings to get the best possible audio and video quality.

Find out if you can use the platform online or if you need to download the software – and get it prepared in advance.

Also make sure you know how to access the interview. Is there a simple link you can follow? Do you need a special code or password?

A successful video interview kick off is a big relief for you, but also a great sign to your interviewer that you’re well prepared.

2) Make sure you have a backup plan

Testing your software and hardware can help you avoid technical issues on interview day.

Of course, we all know how finicky technology can be – and in some cases, errors can be beyond your control.

That’s why it’s so important that you have a backup ready, just in case things don’t go according to plan.

For example, it’s a good idea to keep your smartphone on standby and fully-charged so that you can use it as a mobile hotspot in case your internet is patchy.

And while we’re on the topic of smartphones, it might be worth installing the video conferencing app on your phone in case technical issues stop you from using your computer on the day.

3) Make sure your “studio” is ready

The next thing you’ll want to do when preparing for a video interview is to find a part of your home to use as your “recording studio”.

That means finding somewhere that’s quiet, and where you won’t have to deal with unexpected interruptions and white noise (for example, rooms that are close to roads should be avoided).

Another thing to think about is lighting. Natural light is ideal, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing! Especially if your webcam is facing a window – all that natural light can lead to overexposure, leaving your face in shadow!

As with point 1, be sure to make a couple of test runs from your selected space at the same time of day your video interview is scheduled for.

And finally, be sure to clean up and remove anything from the background – that means cleaning up any laundry or moving the dog toys!

Remember, working from home is new for many of us, and interviewers simply have to expect that we’ve turned living rooms or spare bedrooms into our offices. While that’s perfectly fine, just be sure to keep it neat and professional.

4) Dress the part

Everyone knows they need to dress up for the interview – when it comes to video interviews specifically however, it’s crucial that you dress up fully.

Trust us, you’d be surprised by how many people seem to forget this!

Many people (such as this news anchor) assume that since they’re only going to be seen from the waist-up they don’t need to fully dress up.

Our recruitment consultants have seen more than our fair share of interviewees who’ve dialled in to video interviews dressed appropriately above the belt, but who are still wearing pajama bottoms and bunny slippers below.

Just to be safe, we advise against falling for this trap. What if you need to get up at some point, or you adjust your webcam in such a way that it exposes your comfy tracksuit pants?

Thankfully, most interviewers will let it slide – that being said, it’s certainly a good habit to get into.

5) Get rid of interruptions

You aren’t the only one who’s working (or rather, applying for work) from home – a lot of us are in the same boat, including your family members.

And that can mean a lot of potential distractions.

The last thing you want is your virtual interview being interrupted by an attention-hungry pet cat, your kids’ demands for help with their schoolwork or yet another online shopping delivery!

When preparing for a video interview, you’ll need to eliminate as many of these distractions and interruptions as possible by:

  • Choosing a quiet corner of the house
  • Letting your family members know when the interview is
  • Closing your doors and keeping pets out
  • Muting your landline phone (if you can)

6) Deal with interruptions gracefully

Of course, try as you might, there are still going to be some instances where you might be interrupted.

When this happens, don’t panic – instead, collect yourself, mute if necessary (after informing the interviewer, of course) and deal with the interruption quickly. Come back to the interview (and don’t forget to unmute!) apologise, and move on.

Once again, most interviewers will be understanding, and won’t hold it against you. In fact, they may have had something similar happen to them before.

7) When you leave, make sure that you’ve truly left the chat or hung up before you relax

Remember that time when…

All of these incidents have one thing in common: all of the people involved forgot that the microphones were still recording.

If you want to avoid a similar “hot mic” incident at the end of your video interview, you’ll want to:

  1. Double check when you’re muted (and when you aren’t)
  2. Watch your tongue (this is good policy, interview or otherwise)
  3. Make sure that the call has actually disconnected

Only then can you relax and breathe a sigh of relief (and get back into your trackies!)

8) Practice, practice, practice!

Really, this should go without saying!

Breathe, speak slowly (yes, even slower than you think!) and remember to look at the camera rather than faces on screens. Smile, sit up straight, and show them why they should choose you!

Looking for work? Get in touch with our recruitment consultants in Melbourne

Our recruitment agency specialises in connecting applicants like you to positions that perfectly match your:

  • Skills and experiences
  • Personal traits
  • Career objectives and goals

It’s about more than just connecting the dots – it’s about getting to know you, recognising your potential and your goals, helping you get there.

We specialise in temporary and permanent recruitment in Melbourne, including all manner of different office support roles.

Find out how we can help you today – contact our team on (03) 9821 4144 or click here to submit your application.

You can also visit us for recruitment agency in Melbourne: pop into our office at Level 5, 437 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004, if you prefer a more hands-on approach.