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How to Prepare for a Video Interview

11 November 2020

By Francis Kelly

How to Prepare for a Video Interview
Prepping for Video Interviews

Video interviewing is far from a new concept. Employers and recruitment agencies have been using similar tools to this for a long time now. However, Magpie’s innovative video platform makes it all that easier!

Some of you reading this will have had experience with video interviewing software already, while others may only be familiar with the classic in-person set up. However, it is clear to say: video interviews are here to stay. So, now its time to embrace them and ace them! If we’re honest, considering the current circumstances, it is more likely than ever that you will be required to complete an online interview. Here’s a quick run-down to help ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when the time comes.


The Rise of Video Interviewing

First things first, it’s worth understanding the reason why video interviewing has become as popular as it is. Video interviews are way more flexible than a typical on-site, face-to-face. There’s no travel involved and no time off work required. Plus, with our industry-leading platform, there’s no downloads, registrations, logins or passwords to contend with either. We’ll simply send you a link and you’re good to go. This means you can complete the video interview anywhere, anytime and on any device. Plus, in many cases, one video interview can be used for several opportunities.


Types of Video Interviewing

There are several differing types of video interviews that you may be required to do. The most commonly used is a live, two-way scenario. If this is the case, you would be sent a link from one of our employees; you simply click it, and you will be sent to the online ‘interview room’. You will then come face-to-face with the interviewer(s) via a split-screen. The process of a live interview thereafter is exactly the same as it would be in person, only you’re face-to-face in the cloud instead.

Another, less common but increasingly popular method of video interview is our solo interview/ video profile software. These are also easily accessed via a link. However, the difference this time is that, instead of coming face-to-face with the interviewer(s), you’ll be in your own virtual room and presented with a few questions from the employer. The interview questions will appear, one at a time, for you to answer. If you feel you didn’t give your best answers towards the end of the interview, you can restart and reattempt your answers. Although we do recommend keeping the attempts to a minimum as the more versions you do, the less natural you’ll become. Also, don’t write out your questions to read them out; if you do, you’ll sound like a robot and as flawless as you believe your script recital to be, the employer will always realize. You would never read out pre-written answers in a real face-to-face interview, so don’t do it online!

Although they’re more convenient, it’s imperative to not take shortcuts in your preparation. The most successful interviews are completed by those who treat it as if it were an in-person interview. They are the same, after all, just completed using a different medium.

Preparing for a Video Interview

You should prepare for a video interview in exactly the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. Prepare answers for any and all eventualities, do background research on the company and compile some questions to ask the interviewer; all the usual stuff applies.

On top, there are few additional considerations to factor in:

  • Set up – test that your microphone, speakers and camera are working.

  • Connection - check your internet connection, close-down unnecessary programs and web pages and make sure you aren’t downloading, installing or about to run updates.

  • Surroundings - be mindful of your backdrop in terms of what’s in the frame. Consider your position and check your lighting.

  • Where to look – look into your camera, rather than at the interviewer. This way it’ll appear like you are looking at them.

  • Do not disturb – unlike in a face-to-face interview, you’ll likely be at home or even on your lunch break at work. It seems an obvious one but make sure people around you know not to disturb you. Ideally, find a place where you feel completely at ease and where you can speak freely and comfortably without fear of interruptions or distractions.

  • Appearance - just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you don’t need to look the part. You should dress exactly as you would for an in-person interview. Psychologically, you’ll feel more ready too.

  • Stay focused – Because you’re not face-to-face, it can be easier to become distracted and do things you wouldn’t do in a face-to-face setting. Stay focused throughout.

  • Notes – avoid reading off notes. It’s okay to refer to notes but don’t try to be sneaky about it. Equally, avoid taking excessive notes. And definitely do not try to Google during the interview, no matter how subtle you think you’re being.

  • Smile and engage – a tendency on video versus face-to-face is that candidates are less focused on being engaging and less aware of ensuring their personality comes across. Avoid falling into this trap and bring as much to the video as you would if you were sitting across from the interviewer.

Aaannnndd Breathe...

In summary, video interviews should be treated in the same way as any other interview, with a few additional considerations considered. You may find yourself to be a natural or it might be a little out of your comfort zone at first. But even if that is the case, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. The best advice we can give is don’t be complacent and to get some practice in. You can do this with friends or family and can even record yourself using your phone to give yourself some critique. As with anything else, the usual combination of research and advance prep will go a long way.

Best of luck!

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