Video interviews are becoming an increasingly popular recruitment tool, growing 57% from pre-pandemic times, and are a convenient way for employers to streamline the hiring process and attract the best talent, regardless of location. The same principles of preparation apply to both face to face and video interviews, with learning about the role and company, defining your skills, strengths and weaknesses, and asking relevant questions being the key to success. However, interviewing in a digital environment can bring an added layer of complication. Whether it’s practicing using the technology beforehand or dressing appropriately, here we share our top tips to help you navigate the video interview process and land your next job in sport.
Despite the fact the interview is not taking place in an office environment, it’s important to still dress appropriately to ensure you convey a great first impression to your potential employer. Make sure to choose an outfit that won’t be distracting on camera, so its recommended to avoid bright colours or patterns. Although only your ‘top half’ will be shown on camera, dressing professionally from head to toe will help to put you in the right frame of mind, increase your confidence and set you up for success.
Where you chose to locate yourself for the interview is crucial. Choose a quiet location that has a neutral and tidy background and avoid using the themed or blurred background features that video applications such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams offer. This will help to convey a more professional approach and reduce any on screen distractions. Most importantly, if you’re at home and live with others, make sure to warn them of the time and date the interview will take place, so they won’t interrupt you. Remember to check that your location and has a reliable and secure internet connection, turn off your phone and mute any notifications that may pop up on the screen during the interview.
Although a video interview offers a more informal setting, it’s still a formal interview and your body language is a critical part of making a good impression. Keep a formal posture by sitting up straight, with both feet on the floor and your arms resting either on the desk or your lap. Make sure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer by looking directly into the camera and not around the screen or at yourself. You may find it helpful to remove your own video entirely to ensure you are solely focused on the person(s) conducting the interview. Finally, remember to smile, show enthusiasm and pay attention to your non-verbal communications, such as hand movements or expressions.
"Make sure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer by looking directly into the camera and not around the screen or at yourself."
If you're looking to improve how you build rapport in an interview, check out our advice here.
An advantage of a video interview over one that takes place face to face is the ability to use keywords or prompts to help you construct your answers more successfully. Whilst this can be useful and may reduce your stress levels, keep them short and brief, and only refer to them subtly as a checklist if you need to. Avoid being reliant on them or reading directly from them, as this will be obvious to the interviewer and will make you sound unnatural.
Before the interview occurs, do a practice run using the employer’s chosen video platform, to familiarise yourself with the digital environment and perfect how you conduct yourself on camera. It may feel like an unnatural setting at first, so practicing may help you feel more relaxed before the actual event. Make sure you know how to navigate your way around the video platform, such as how to start or end the interview, or how to share your screen if you’re expected to carry out a practical task. If possible, do a test with a friend or a family member, to make sure the microphone, camera and connection are all working correctly and gather any feedback from them that may help you improve. This will also give you the opportunity to choose the best lighting and camera angles, helping you to feel confident and give you the greatest chance of succeeding.
"It may feel like an unnatural setting at first, so practicing may help you feel more relaxed before the actual event."
On the day the interview is scheduled to take place, ensure your laptop is fully charged and plugged in. It’s also a good idea to log in early to the interview to demonstrate you’re professional and organised, and it also allows you to do a final sound and quality check. If for any reason there are any technical problems during the interview, make sure to let the interviewer know as they may be easily solved, helping the overall interview run smoother.
Whilst it’s important to maintain a professional approach, the end of an interview is the best opportunity to adopt a slightly more relaxed attitude. For example, you may ask more informal questions, such as where the offices are located or any social events the company runs, allowing more personal interactions with the interviewer. Make sure you also use this opportunity to reinstate your excitement and passion for the role and company, and ask relevant questions, ensuring you leave a good lasting impression which can help you stand out from other candidates. Finally, always thank the interviewer for their time and follow up with a post-interview thank you.
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