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7 steps to a successful video interview

Written by: Ethan Cumming
Published on: 13 May 2020

Make sure your next video interview is a success by following these 7 simple steps.

Successful video interview

Despite the general dampening effect that Coronavirus has so far had on recruitment, some businesses continue to advertise vacancies and hire new employees. However, it is not entirely ‘business as usual’, with government-ordered lockdown and social distancing requirements meaning that the interview process has had to move online.

With an increasing number of law firms and legal employers now making hiring decisions based on the impression that candidates make via Zoom or Skype, we decided it would be useful to provide some best practice tips for video interviews.

If you are planning to apply for jobs in the coming weeks and months, it’s likely that your interviews - and on-boarding - will happen remotely. If you haven’t had a video interview before, the prospect may seem a little nerve-wracking, but in reality, your success depends on many of the same things that contribute to the success of a face-to-face or phone interview, while the differences are easy to prepare for.

Follow these 7 simple steps to give yourself the best chance of success at your next video interview.

7 steps to a successful video interview

  • Dress to impress in your usual interview attire
  • Choose the right location with a tidy, neutral background and good lighting
  • Eliminate distractions and make sure you won’t be disturbed
  • Avoid technical glitches by testing and planning ahead
  • Handle tech issues with grace to impress your interviewer
  • Build rapport with the interviewer by smiling, nodding and staying engaged
  • Wrap it up and say thank you


Dress to impress

It’s easy to get stuck at the first hurdle, but remember that you already know what to wear for your video interview because it’s exactly the same as what you would wear if you were meeting your interviewer in person.

Employers want to see that you are presentable, professional and serious about the job so dress appropriately for the role you’ve applied for and if you’re unsure of the level of formality expected, it’s always better to be overdressed.

Your interview attire isn’t just there to impress your potential employer either - it will also help to get you in the interview mind-set, which can be hard to achieve when you’re sat in your own kitchen.


Choose the right location

There’s no point dressing up nicely if you are going to take the interview in a room that is messy or disorganised, so set up your computer somewhere at home with a tidy, neutral background that is free from anything that could potentially distract your interviewer - a blank wall is best.

Ahead of the interview, test the lighting in the room to make sure that your interviewer will be able to see you properly. You don’t want the light directly behind you, but it shouldn’t be too close to your face either. 


Eliminate distractions

To avoid becoming distracted or disrupting the flow of the interview, it’s important to eliminate any potential interruptions before they happen. 

Start off by letting any housemates, partners or family members you live with know you have an important video call and aren’t to be disturbed, then make sure your phone is on silent and any notifications on your computer not related to the call are muted. To eliminate any potential background noise, use a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone for the duration of the interview.


Avoid technical glitches

Install and set up Zoom, Skype or any other necessary software on your computer well in advance of the interview, ensuring the username and email address associated with your account are professional and appropriate.

Alternatively, if the interview is to take place on FaceTime or another mobile based application, make sure the app is downloaded and the location you’ve chosen has reliable phone reception or Wi-Fi.

Either way, consider running a practice call with a friend or family member ahead of the scheduled interview to ensure your camera and microphone are working properly. 


Handle tech issues with grace

If, despite your preparation, you encounter any technical issues, glitches or mishaps on the day, make sure you handle them promptly and gracefully.

For example, if you’re unable to hear the interviewer due to a weak Wi-Fi connection, alert them immediately and attempt to resolve the issue in a calm manner. Although you may feel frustrated, don’t let yourself get worked up by the glitch. No employer wants to hire an individual unable to handle unexpected problems, but if you’re able to demonstrate the ability to solve issues in a stressful situation, you’ll be ticking at least one of their boxes.


Build rapport with the interviewer

A video interview is a great opportunity to show off your interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport so ensure that from the start you are making eye contact, smiling and using affirmative movements to quickly develop a relationship with the interviewer and show them you are present and interested in the conversation.

You could be saying all the right things, but if you’re looking away from the camera and slouched over with your arms crossed you’ll be sending out all the wrong signals. Maintain good posture and utilise positive body language throughout the interview to make sure your movements match your words.


Wrap it up

As with a face-to-face meeting, thanking your interviewer for their time at the end of the appointment is essential. Ask any final questions you may have, reiterate your interest in the role and, if it has not already been covered, enquire about the next steps in the hiring process and when you can expect to hear back about your performance.

Good luck with your next video interview!