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8 tips to ace your next video interview

Although you’ve probably has plenty of video calls with friends or family, doing a job interview on Zoom or Hangouts or Skype can be a whole different experience.

With more people being willing to move for the right job – and more than a third of the EthicalJobs.com.au community say they would consider moving to a regional area or interstate for a job – we thought we’d put together some tips to help you put your best face forward on video interviews!

1) Find the right place

It’s probably most convenient to do a video interview from home, and if so, choose a room that’s going to be quiet, and where you’ll feel relaxed. You don’t want barking dogs, flushing toilets or yelling housemates as the soundtrack to your interview.

Also consider what the interviewer will see behind you – a blank wall is usually best, or a bookcase. Avoid tatty or potentially embarrassing posters or art. Also avoid sitting in front of a bright window, as you’ll end up looking like a dark silhouette.

If there’s not a good space at home, consider heading to a local library or community centre – they often have quiet rooms that you can use for an hour.

2) Eliminate potential interruptions

Make sure that those around you – housemates, neighbours etc – know that you’re doing an important interview, and you shouldn’t be disturbed. If you’re outside of home, consider bringing a “Do Not Disturb” note for the door of whatever room you’re using.

If you have responsibility for a child or another person, make sure someone else is looking after them while you’re doing the interview.

3) Dress appropriately

Despite the image we’ve chosen to accompany this blog, just because you’re interviewing from home doesn’t mean you can stay in your PJs or not wear pants! Dress as you would for a normal, in-person interview – if you’re not sure how people at the organisation dress, err on the side of more formality, even if you’re sitting in your own bedroom.

Getting dressed up can also be helpful in getting you into the right mindframe for the interview too.

4) Be prepared

Lots of things can go wrong with technology – and often do. Be sure to download the software or log in and test your camera, microphone and internet connection with a friend well before the interview. Right before the interview is not the best time to find that your connection isn’t good enough, or your microphone isn’t working.

Have a phone backup in the room with you just in case something goes wrong at the last minute, and you need to resort to a voice call.

5) Look at the camera

Make sure your camera and screen are aligned in such a way that you can comfortably talk while looking directly at the camera. If your camera is mis-aligned, you’ll be missing out on important eye-contact with the the interviewer, which can interfere with making a personal connection, and can also make you seem distracted.

6) Try not to gesture or move too much

In person, gesturing can be a really effective way to keep someone engaged with what you’re saying. On video calls, it can crowd out the screen and be distracting to the interviewer.  If you like to use your hands while you talk, make sure you’ve got something to hold onto while you talk. Try not to move your head too much either – that can also be distracting.

7) Relax

Interviews – whether in person or via video call – can be stressful. It’s even harder to develop a rapport with someone when you’re not in the same room as them, so remember to relax, smile and be as friendly as possible – consider a Post-it note on the side of your screen with the words “Smile” and “Relax”. If seeing your own face on the screen while you’re talking is distracting, try covering it with the Post-it note!

Don’t be too relaxed though – remember good posture. Try to sit up straight, roll your shoulders back and speak as clearly as possible.

8) Practice

One valuable feature of interviewing via video call is that you can do a practice run and record yourself to see how you did. If it’s an important interview, consider doing a mock interview with a friend and playing it back so you can see how you come across. Make a list of things you could do differently in the real interview.


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