21 April 2020
Despite the current COVID-19 situation you have been invited to an interview. (Congratulations! Always take the time to celebrate getting through to this stage.) Then you learn that the face to face interview you were expecting will now be conducted by video and you are not sure what that will involve.
So, I thought I would share some top tips for how to prepare and shine at video interviews.
There are two common types of video interview, the first being Live, where it is a recreation of a face to face interview, and the second being pre-recorded. This might involve being given pre-written or pre-recorded questions which you have to answer, possibly within a time limit. Don’t panic and don’t rush.
For some, remote interviews are fantastic as it means they can stay in an environment they feel comfortable, possibly have (and take) notes and can really focus on the presentation of their best selves. For others, this whole concept feels unknown. The reality, however, is that they really aren’t that different from face to face interviews as the preparation and practice will be much the same with a few added technical considerations. The main hurdle is that not all candidates feel comfortable being on camera, so preparation and practice is key.
Ensure that you have a quiet place to undertake your interview with no distractions. Remember the interviewers can see you and your background so dress appropriately, try to make sure you are seated with a blank wall behind you and consider whether you can clearly and comfortably see the screen.
Test out the software you will be using before the interview to make sure that it’s all working correctly (Skype and Zoom are typical examples) and on the day aim to log in or set up around 15 minutes in advance in case you encounter any issues.
During the interview you will want to maintain eye contact as you would in a face to face interview but remember, in this situation you will need to look at the camera, not the screen in order to do this. Also, the temptation to look at ourselves and how we are coming across can be very distracting so try to set up the display to hide or minimise your view of yourself!
Prepare for the remote interview in just the same way. Do your homework on the organisation so you feel confident about their essential aims and values. Use this information and the job description to think of questions they may ask and use the STAR technique to help develop your answers. Think of questions you want to ask them.
Try recording yourself answering questions in advance, to see how you behave and respond. It’s a brilliant way to highlight any habits you want to be conscious of in an interview such as bringing your hands up over or near your face or fidgeting too much.
Easier said than done I know but try to relax. You can only try your best. There will always be another opportunity out there for you, and each interview you undertake is just good practice for the next one.
During these difficult COVID-19 times, remote interviews will possibly be the only method for employers to recruit. As well as video interviews, telephone interviews are also commonly used and you can find help with these here.
For further support on preparing for your remote interview take a look at some of the great resources on the Career Centre. You can also use the Interview Simulator to gain some initial practice and – if you're a current ARU student – book a remote practice interview with an Employability & Career Adviser by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Issy Flexer, Employability & Careers Adviser
Image of video interview by Andrey Popov on Shutterstock.