4 tips to prepare for a video interview

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Part of our range of guidance and support for fundraisers who are currently unemployed or in need of redundancy support.

As social distancing measures spread due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, employers are forced to abandon traditional hiring techniques and opt for a virtual approach instead.

This means that many are now choosing to conduct interviews remotely using video conferencing tools.

There are essentially two forms of video interviews: the live versions and the taped or on-demand format. The latter require you to record your answers in your own time and send them back to the employer to review at their leisure. 

As with any ‘normal’ face-to-face interview, preparation is key. This means you’ve researched the role thoroughly, have practised common interview questions or even tried a mock interview and are dressed appropriately and professionally. However, there are a few additional steps you need to take to ensure your video interview runs smoothly.

Here are our top tips to help you prepare for success:

1. Find the right location

'Recce' a few potential locations: you are looking for a quiet, bright, uncluttered space with a neutral background where you won't be disturbed. Make sure your face is fully visible; for the best view, position the camera at a good height so that it's looking down at you from a slight angle. For a simple, but effective lighting solution position two lights in front of you on either side of the screen - ordinary lights can be clamped to the screen. 

2. Test your equipment

While technical glitches can happen, they may still reflect badly on you so it’s important that you test your equipment beforehand.

3. Practice

You may not be used to talking in front of a camera, so take the time to practise. You could even video call a friend to do a mock interview. Pay attention to your body language, voice and background noise and ask feedback from your friend on how you come across. Also make sure you familiarise yourself with the video tool you’re using; tools like Zoom, Google Meet and Skype all work slightly differently and getting to grips with them will help you feel more confident going into the interview, while also reducing the risk of any accidental technical glitches.

4. Don't forget those last-minute safety checks

Those final minutes before the interview are crucial. If you're interviewing live it's a good idea to log in early to give yourself time to get ready and deal with any issues. 

However, make sure you don't accidentally start transmitting before you're ready – put the microphone on mute and pop a post-it note on the camera just in case. Then give the camera lens a wipe to remove any smudges.

The trick to a successful video interview is to approach it as you would the traditional, face-to-face version, while not underestimating the differences. Some will be more confident using technology than others, but time taken to properly prepare will truly make all the difference.

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