Be at your best when you sit in front of your webcam

Beep beep! An email lands in your inbox ‒ it's good news! Your CV has grabbed attention and you've landed yourself a video call interview. You can barely control the butterflies in your stomach and you immediately hit "reply" and accept the invitation. However, now that you've got your conference call lined up, you need to make sure that you're well prepared for it. Here's everything you need to do to ensure that your video interview goes as well as possible.

When you are offered the video interview:

Confirm the time ‒ and timezone

One of the first things that will be established between you and your interviewer is the time of your video call. However, there's more to scheduling than the hour ‒ you'll need to clarify the timezone too.

Working from home among non-self-employed professionals has grown by 173% since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Remote working is certainly the way of the future, allowing us to collaborate with businesses around the world. So, there's a decent chance that the company you're applying to work for won't be based in the UK. If that's the case, you need to ensure that you confirm the timezone of your video interview ahead of time; simply agreeing to talk at 4 p.m. won't cut it and could lead to confusion. Ensure that you're on the same page when it comes to the time you're having the video interview.

Agree on the software you will use

Next up, be sure about the software you plan to use. Zoom is perhaps the best-known medium for video calling and conference calls. However, you shouldn't presume that a "video call" always means a Zoom call  ‒ it doesn't. There are plenty of other video conferencing systems out there, such as Teams, Skype, and BlueJeans. The company with which you're interviewing may subscribe to any one of these. If you weren't initially provided with this detail, check with the interviewer and ensure that you can access it.

Ask what you need to prepare

It pays to be prepared when it comes to job interviews. When the company representative offers you a video interview, ask if you need to prepare anything specific. There's a good chance that they will say no. However, asking this simple question is essential as it means that you won't get caught out when the video interview comes around. For example, the team may want you to come up with a short presentation or examples of your work for the call, or even test a specific knowledge base. Understanding their expectations in advance will help you to meet them when the big video call comes around.

Directly before the video conference:

Check your camera is working

It might sound obvious, but you cannot miss this vital task. Right before your conference call interview is scheduled, make sure that your laptop camera and microphone are working. Giving yourself an hour or so ahead of the call means that you can troubleshoot any problems. You might even want to have a practice call with a friend to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Should you find that the hardware is not working, you may need to contact the company to reschedule the conference call. If you're lucky, you could try to borrow a friend or family member's computer.

Choose a place to set up

When you're sure that everything is working, it's time to decide where you will host the video call interview. If you're at home, choose a quiet room where you're sure that you won't be disturbed. 

Before you hit that "call" button, check the area that will become the background of the call. Is there clutter behind you? Spend some time tidying up to make sure that the backdrop is clean and minimal.

Dress professionally

The fact that you're not commuting for your interview does not mean that you shouldn't dress for the occasion. Not by a long shot! Before you have your call, dress in a professional, interview-worthy outfit. It's a video interview, not a phone call, so the interviewer will be able to see you. Let's face it, if you're sitting there in your pyjamas or comfortable sweats, you're hardly going to look fit for the role. A massive 50% of interviewers believe that candidates can be eliminated based on the outfit they wear. So, if you want to increase your chance of success, you need to dress to impress.

During your video conference:

Speak clearly at all times

Sure, video conferences bridge the gap when it comes to communicating with people far away. However, systems are far from perfect. During your video call, your interviewers may have a harder time than usual understanding what you're saying. With that in mind, make sure that you speak clearly at all times.

The general idea is to make this process as easy as it can be. Speak loudly, pronounce words clearly, and avoid talking too fast.

Look into the camera

When you're in the midst of a video call, it's easy to forget that you're on camera. You might be sitting in the comfort of your own home and ‒ for a brief moment ‒ lose sight of what's going on ‒ literally. Don't allow your eyes to wander. Instead, make sure that you are always looking into the camera. It's hard to connect with someone via video call, which is why this extra level of attentiveness is so important. While you're not in the room with the interviewer, you can at least make them feel as though you are.

Smile and be engaging

It's time to turn on your charm! Again, it can be difficult to connect with a person who is miles away at a computer. That's why you need to be as charming and approachable as possible. Ensure that you smile and answer all of the questions in an engaging manner. Just like in-person interviews, video calls offer you the opportunity to show that perfect balance between professionalism and personality.

The takeaway

If you've ticked all of the above boxes, you should be well-prepared for your video call interview. Remember that many of the rules of face-to-face interviews translate to your video interview, so if you conduct standard interview preparation, you're already on your way. The most important thing you need to remember is to plan your tactics in advance so that you're ready when the big day comes around. Good luck on your upcoming interview!

Haven't landed the interview yet? Your CV may be the issue. Find out how yours stacks up with a free CV review.

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