Why you need to consider video interview as the new normal and how to prepare for one

The rise in technology over the recent years has evolved the way that we interact with others and the world itself. Especially with COVID-19, this has affected the way businesses recruit candidates and the interview process itself. Until social distancing restrictions have been lifted, interviews are unlikely to resume the traditional ways of being conducted in person. With many companies being forced to conduct video interviews during the pandemic, the amount of video interviews has increased by 67% from 2020 – 2021. Even post-COVID, many organizations will still be wary of any health & safety procedures and would want to take as many precautions in order to maximise safety. In fact, 60% of employers plan to keep video interviews after lockdown restrictions have been lifted. 

This is why it is more essential than ever to become accustomed to video and telephone interviews. Only 2% of candidates who apply for a job are selected to attend a job interview, so learn the best video interview tips and techniques, as well as the most popular platforms used by interviewers, in this article to ensure maximum success. 

Most popular platforms for video interviews 

Many platforms are available to conduct video interviews. Skype, Zoom, Hinterview, and Odro are some of the most popular platforms for phone and video interviews so it is important to understand how they operate to ensure you are prepared as best you can be. You want to have no stress prior to an interview, if that’s even possible, to amaze them and secure your dream job.  

Zoom

So the first platform that has gained popularity over this COVID period that I’m sure you have all heard of is Zoom. From participating in thought-provoking quizzes to having a family call, this platform has allowed us to keep in touch with our loved ones and socialise with others by having virtual meetings and conferences with many people in one call. 

The process to join a Zoom call is very simple. By using a link that is provided by the interviewer, you can join using the web client which does not require any additional software or plugins. You can also join using the Zoom desktop client which will provide a smoother user experience but is not essential. You will then be prompted with a screen that says “Waiting for the host to start this meeting” if it hasn’t already. There will also be a button to test out audio if you so wish to do so.  

Hinterview

Hinterview is another popular platform used for interviews. It is a two-way video interview tool that is optimised for recruitment. There is no need for logins or to download any additional software so it ensures a smooth process for both parties. 
One feature for Hinterview is conducting a live interview with the employer or recruiter, which is the most traditional choice. However, Hinterview allows for pre-recorded messages to be sent in order to make the process more efficient. So you will be sent the video by the interviewer and you will be allowed a certain time to respond to it. Some may even allow re-recording your response so check if this is possible. This method allows the interviewers to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of your video to see if you are the suited candidate for the role. If you get nervous speaking to an interviewer live, this may help as it can be less intimidating. It is also GDPR compliant which means it is secure and that all of your data and recordings are safe. 
 
Hintro is an additional Hinterview video engagement tool that allows recruiters to record quick videos to engage with clients and candidates. This can be used to enhance your CV giving the interviewer a glimpse into who you really are and how you express yourself. Your CV will be displayed next to your video so it is also important to refine that as well. There are many templates and tips on the internet that can help you do this.  
 
The video can easily be trimmed and edited without any specialist software so you can enhance yourself and increase your chances of success. The traditional CV on paper is only a small portion of what you have to offer so make sure you convey yourself authentically if you have to do this. Our tips later in this article will help you do this to ensure success. 

Odro

Odro is similar to Hinterview in the features it offers. There are no downloads, logins, or passwords that are required. All you need is a link to join and you will be set up. 

You can have two-way video interviews as with any video conferencing software, but you also have the option to answer pre-recorded interview questions sent by the recruiter or interviewer. You can answer these questions in your own time so you can take an adequate amount of time to prepare. Odro also offers Zoom & MS teams integration so this can make your experience smoother if you already have these platforms. They also have complete data security (ISO 27001 certified) so there is nothing to worry about in regards to your data. The principles are the same for both platforms essentially and you would need to prepare yourself in a similar fashion. 

Skype 

I’m sure you have all heard of Skype. It has been one of the most popular software for video interviews for a considerable amount of time. You cannot send pre-recorded messages with skype so it would be a live interview if this was arranged with your interviewer. 

Skype requires you to download the software for a call so make sure you allow yourself enough time to download this in preparation. 

Spark Hire

Similar to Hinterview and Odro, this platform for video interviews allows you to have a two-way live interview as well as one-way interviews with pre-recorded messages. Some interviewers may even allow you to re-record answers so it is useful to find out if this is an option. Make sure you are comfortable and in the correct mindset when you record them. The last thing you want is to rush an answer to a question that you can answer in your own time. 

Microsoft Teams 

This is another platform for video interviews that has gained popularity over this COVID period. With Microsoft Teams you can have live two-way video calls with multiple people, however, you would need to download the software to use it. 

Now, we will give you some essential tips and hacks that will help you prepare for an interview so you can exude confidence and be in the optimal mindset!

The best tips for a video interview 

1. Dress appropriately 

As much as we try not to judge by first appearances, it is in our nature to do so. Therefore, it is crucial we make an effort to dress appropriately for the interview. You should wear the same outfit as you would for a normal job interview, so, for example, a male may wear a shirt with a tie and smart trousers. As tempting as it may be to wear joggers or even no trousers, it is important that you feel the part and you are in a professional mindset as opposed to a relaxed one. I would recommend maybe even wearing smart shoes to affirm your mindset and determination to get the job. Also, avoid wearing any busy patterns or stripes as this may distract the interviewer. A smart, minimalistic shirt or dress would be ideal for a professional role. 

2. Notes on screen 

One benefit of having a video interview is that you can put stickers or post-it notes around the screen without the interviewer seeing them. This can remind you of any key points that you want to mention or any facts about the company that you want to remember. However, do not put too many around the screen as the interviewers can still see your eye movements and it will be obvious if you are not looking at them.   

Also to make sure that you are looking at the interviewer directly, move the interviewer’s video window close to the position of the camera. This will make it more personal as opposed to having them in the corner of the screen where it would look awkward like your eyes are focusing on something else.   

3. Good lighting  

This determines how you will appear to the interviewer so it is important to make sure that you have strong lighting so that you are bright and glowing. Avoid having a bright light in the background as this will be too contrasting, ideally, you would want the light shining on you from the front.  

4. Good webcam  

 A sharp and clear image can make you look more presentable and professional to the interviewer. Ideally, you would want to use a webcam that is up to date, however, most modern laptops contain one that is sufficient. If possible, avoid using tablets and phones as their quality generally isn’t great and their smaller screen sizes can allow you to be distracted easily. 

5. Speak clearly and calmly 

Nerves can get the better of us in an interview and make us rush through what we’re trying to say. Keep your voice calm and clear as speaking too loud or too fast can make your sound cut out. Practice this as much with your friends and family so you can refine this skill and be prepared for whatever the interviewer throws at you. 

Using earphones that come with a built-in mic is a good way to improve your sound quality and avoid most issues, however, you would want to consider if this may come across as unprofessional for the role. If unsure, you may ask the interviewer if it would be appropriate to wear headphones. Doing vocal exercises can help warm up the vocal cords prior to your interview and allow you to speak clearer and more confidently. This can be as simple as humming at various pitches or singing at the top of your lungs. 

6. Practice in the mirror  

This may seem unnatural at first, but practicing in front of a mirror allows you to get a different perspective you how you present yourself. You may notice some unconscious movements or actions that you make when you are nervous and may want to avoid them in an interview. This exercise will also help you gain confidence in your speaking and will benefit you greatly when speaking to others. 

7. Clean background           

Having a clean and neat background shows that you are an organised person. It also allows the interviewer to concentrate on you and not get distracted by anything. Try to have a light-coloured background to ensure that you stand out against it.  

Make sure that there is nothing potentially embarrassing in the background such as silly photos or a mirror that could reflect something that didn’t need to be seen. Having books in the background can also make you appear more intellectual and portray yourself in a good light. If you notice, this is a tactic that many professionals use for interviews on various news stations.  

A feature that is useful on Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom is the blur background option. This defocuses the background and allows the interviewer to concentrate on you. This can be done in a call or through the settings of the platform by going into the background options.

8. No distractions 

You need to be focused and attentive during your interview, so a quiet and distraction-free environment is essential. Make sure your phone is on silent and not vibrate as that can distract you. 

Close any windows in the room you will be interviewed in as well so there is no outside noise. Also, alert any family members in the house and tend to any pets to make sure that they don’t disturb you.

9. Be yourself 

This is easier said than done but it is nonetheless important to remember. You want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression and you won’t do that by being like every other candidate. Make sure to smile and laugh in agreeance when appropriate. It is good to show you have a humorous side and that you are a human and not just a robotic worker. 

10. Questions 

You are always going to be asked if you have any questions at the end of an interview so it is important to have some prepared. This shows that you display genuine interest in the company and can see yourself there. Some questions that can be good are: 

  • What is the next stage in the process? 
  • How did you get involved with the company? 
  • How do you find it working there? 
  • What is the company culture like? 

Try to avoid asking any questions that are related to finance as it can make you appear greedy, and you can sort out any finance-related issues in the later stages of the interview or even if you are successful. 

11. Check username  

 Make sure your username is professional on your personal account if you are using one. If in doubt, make a new account for the video interview just in case. You would not want to have any unnecessary reasons for the interviewer to make a judgment about you.  

12. Pre-recorded interview 

As we have discussed before, you may be given a pre-recorded interview question as opposed to a live conversation with a person. You’ll record your answer to each question and then the interviewer will review the recording later. Your preparation will be useful for this setting so make sure to have answers at the ready. Normally there is a time limit and you may be given more than one chance to record an answer so use this to your advantage. 

 Video interviews are currently more prevalent than ever and it seems that they are not going away any time soon. It saves time and money for the employers and candidates and is more efficient than the traditional methods of face-to-face interviews. The time to adapt to this new age is now so why wait to learn? 

Have we missed anything? Are there any tips that you have used for your own success?  
Let us know by contacting us at admin@acceptrec.co.uk or messaging on one of our social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or LinkedIn) and follow us whilst you’re there! 


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