What to consider before a video interview

How do you interview for a job during the coronavirus pandemic when interviews are likely to be conducted online? Andrew Fennell from StandOut CV gives some advice.

Woman smiling into camera on a video interview

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Interviews are nerve-wracking experiences, let alone a video interview. Now most of us are locked down at home, internet connection issues, the realities of childcare and last-minute Zoom invites have made them even more difficult to navigate.

The recruitment process has changed and both candidates and interviewers are feeling confused. This is how to make your next virtual job interview a success.

Create a quiet space

We’re all used to pets and children needing us at the most inconvenient times. One interruption probably won’t matter to a sympathetic interviewer, but background noise and disturbances won’t help you perform at your best.

If you can, try to keep your interview space away from the busiest areas of the house. Set it up so you’re sitting comfortably, the screen is at a convenient height and you’ve got plenty of light and air in the room.

Give your family plenty of notice

It’s likely you and your family have settled into a sort of lockdown routine. Instead of disappearing for an hour without warning, make sure they know you have an interview and you need to be left alone for a while. This might take a bit of pre-planning and schedule changing, but it’s worth it for maximum peace and concentration. If you think it will incentivise your kids to stay quiet, promise them something fun when you’ve finished.

Choose a time/day that works best for you (if you can!)

If your interviewer has given you free reign over when the interview will be, take advantage of the flexibility. If your kids like to go for a walk in the middle of the afternoon and someone else can take them, time it for when you know they’ll be out of the house. If you have lots of work on and want to get the interview out of the way first thing, ask for an early start.

If your children are young give your interviewer a heads up

Finding yourself a nice, quiet, undisturbed hour might be impossible. If you’re looking after young children on your own, and you’re not sure they’ll stay quiet, give your interviewer a heads up that you might have to pause if they need anything. Any employer worth working for will understand. They might even be in the same boat!

Do a video interview dry run

Logging onto Zoom and finding out it’s a huge palaver to connect your webcam is definitely not the best start. Test it out a day or two before. Check your laptop and internet’s ability to cope with video calls and make sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re doing a virtual presentation, practise sharing your screen and delivering it too.

Pretend it’s the real thing

Job interviews come with a routine. You look up the location, plan your journey, print off your CV, and get your outfit prepared well in advance. Now you’re working from home you don’t need to do all of that, but maintaining some parts of the pre-interview routine can help you get in the zone.

Do everything you’d usually do. Prepare your CV, make sure you’re dressed as you would be for a face-to-face meeting and give yourself plenty of time to get your laptop set up. You’ll feel calm and ready to go.

Preparation is the key to interview success whatever the circumstances. Make sure you’re feeling ready, look the part and can rattle off your best experiences and achievements. As long as your internet connection is strong enough, nothing can stop you!

*Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.



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