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How to prepare for a video interview

Published on: 24 Jun 2020

Maximise your chances of success at your next video interview with these 7 simple tips.

How to prepare video interviewDespite the general dampening effect that the Coronavirus lockdown initially had on recruitment within finance and accountancy, we have started to see the number of vacancies on GAAPweb begin to grow again.

However, it is not entirely ‘business as usual’ in the world of recruitment, as government-ordered social distancing measures mean that many businesses have had to move their interview and onboarding processes online.

With a growing number of accountancy firms and industry employers now meeting with candidates via Zoom or Skype, we thought it would be worthwhile to provide you with some best practice tips for video interviews.

If you are looking to start a new job over the coming weeks and months, there’s a good chance your interview and onboarding process will happen remotely. For those who haven’t taken part in a video interview before, the prospect can seem a little nerve-wracking, however, your success hinges on many of the same factors that contribute to the success of a face-to-face or phone interview, while the differences can be prepared for with relative ease.

Follow these 7 simple steps and learn how to prepare for a video interview.


Dress to impress

All you need to remember here is that you already know what to wear for your video interview, because it’s exactly the same as what you would wear if you were having an interview in person.

A potential employer needs to see that you are presentable, professional and serious about the job for which you’ve applied, so dress appropriately and if you’re unsure of the level of formality expected, keep in mind that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Your video interview outfit isn’t exclusively to impress your potential employer either. Wearing smart, formal or business clothing can help to get you in the right frame of mind for an interview, which can be particularly hard to achieve when you’re sat in your kitchen at home.


Choose the right location

There’s no point going to all the effort of looking your best if you are going to take the interview in a messy or disorganised room. Our advice is to set up your computer somewhere at home with a tidy, neutral background free from distractions - a blank wall is best.

Before your interview takes place, test the lighting in the room to make sure that your interviewer will be able to see you clearly. Avoid having light directly behind you, and it shouldn’t be too close to your face either.


Eliminate distractions

When taking part in a video interview it can be very easy to become distracted by disruptions around you at home, so it’s essential to eliminate any potential interruptions before they have the chance to take place.

Let any housemates, partners or family members you live with know that you have an important call and aren’t to be disturbed, then make sure your phone is set to silent and any notifications on your computer not related to the interview are muted. Use a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone for the interview to eliminate any potentially distracting background noise.


Avoid technical glitches

Download, install and set up any necessary video conferencing software well in advance of the interview, making sure the username and email address associated with your account are professional and appropriate.

If the interview is scheduled to take place on a mobile application like FaceTime, make sure the app is downloaded and set up and that the location you’ve chosen has strong phone reception or Wi-Fi.

In either case, we recommend running a practice call with a friend or family member ahead of the scheduled interview to ensure there’s no issues with your camera or microphone.


Handle tech issues with grace

If, despite your precautions, any technical glitches arise during the interview, ensure that you handle them promptly and with grace. For example, if you cannot hear the interviewer due to an unreliable Wi-Fi connection, alert them immediately and try to fix the issue in a calm manner.

You may feel frustrated but don’t let yourself get worked up by the glitch. No employer wants to hire someone unable to handle unexpected problems, but if you’re able to show that you can solve issues in a stressful situation without losing your cool, you’ll be ticking one of their boxes.


Build rapport with the interviewer

A video interview provides the opportunity to show off your interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport in the same way a face-to-face interview does. From the start ensure you are making eye contact, smiling and using affirmative gestures to quickly develop a relationship with the interviewer and show them you are present and interested.

You may be saying the right things, but if you’re looking away from the interviewer or slouched over with your arms crossed you’ll be giving off the wrong signals. Use positive body language and maintain good posture throughout the interview to make sure your movements match what you’re saying.


Wrap it up

As with any interview, thanking your interviewer for their time at the end is very important. Make sure to ask any final questions, reinforce your interest in the role and enquire about when you can expect to hear back. Avoid asking about salaries and benefits at this point as it can make it seem like you’re only interested in what you can get out of the job. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss your rewards later in the hiring process.

Good luck with your next video interview!


How to prepare for a video interview

  • Dress to impress in your usual interview attire
  • Choose the right location with a tidy, neutral background and good lighting
  • Eliminate distractions and let those you live with know not to disturb you
  • Avoid technical glitches by testing your equipment and planning ahead
  • Handle tech issues with grace to impress your interviewer
  • Build rapport with the interviewer by smiling, making eye contact and staying engaged
  • Wrap it up and say thank you