Video interviews: what to do before you log on

Posted by on

Virtual job interviews are here to stay. And while your game plan might be the same as if you were meeting in person - to show that you’re the right person for the job - there are some key differences to get to grips with.

Make sure you sort these things before you log on to up your chances of creating a great impression with a potential new boss.

Get to know the platform

If you’re familiar with the platform that’s hosting your interview call you’ll feel more relaxed and confident. So make sure you find out things like how to join the meeting, how to change your video settings and crucially how to mute and unmute your microphone.

Joining the platform for the first time? You’ll need to choose a display name – so pick one that looks professional and leave the jokey profiles for calls with friends.

Do a test call

You can’t be professional and personable on-screen as you are in person if the tech side’s not sorted. Any tech issues will distract from what you want to concentrate on, which is persuading a boss-to-be that you’re the best candidate for the role.

Ask a friend or family member to call you on video, if possible using the platform your interview will be on. This will give you a chance to test your equipment’s working and give you more confidence. You’ll also be able to check how you look (do you touch your face or hair a lot?) and sound (do you speak too fast?) and make an effort to adjust those for the real interview. If the lighting's not great bring in some extra lighting from elsewhere and make sure you're well lit. Adjusting where your lighting is located will also make a difference - and now's the time to experiment.

And if things do go wrong with the tech on the day? Don’t worry - recruiters are used to the technical hiccups of job interviews. If you deal with any sudden problems coolly and calmly they’ll also see that you cope well under pressure - a definite plus point in candidates.

Clear your background

This is another chance to create a good impression.  No one expects a wall of heavyweight books or impeccably styled interiors, but just aim for neat and tidy - chances are your interviewer would be distracted by mess, and put off by dirty dishes or unwashed laundry strewn behind you! Our tip? Stick to a blank wall, or just use the blurred background feature to hide anything you’re not sure about. Give yourself time to Google how to fix the background if you're not sure.

Log on early

The thing that’s most likely to make you late for an in-person interview used to be transport delays. Now in the era of virtual interviews, it’s definitely tech issues. Plan to get yourself ready to sit down at your screen early, closing any extra tabs or applications that you won’t need. It’s a good idea to switch your phone to silent or airplane mode while you’re doing this, too. The last thing you need is a phone interruption in the middle of your interview.

Giving yourself enough time means you won’t have last-minute panic if you can’t find the link to join the interview - or worse still, if your device insists on carrying out that dreaded event: a software update minutes before your time slot.

...But prepare the same

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a remote interview needs any less preparation than if you were meeting face to face. In fact, the lack of in-person contact means that you should perhaps do even more to show you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the job you’re going for. So find out as much as you can about the company and the role, what the workplace culture is like and prepare some decent questions to ask your interviewer (we’ve come up with some great interview questions, here).

In the age of coronavirus, showing what a good fit you’ll be with the company you’re interviewing with still means prepping hard. But adding some technical preparation on top will give you even more chance of success.

Check out our complete interview guide for more great tips!

Recent blogs