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7 Tips for a successful video interview

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Although the unemployment rate is making headlines all over South Africa, there are still some companies that are in the process of hiring. If you are fortunate enough to land one of those interviews, it’s important to be prepared. Once you’ve passed the screening process, it’s likely that the rest of your interactions will take place via video conferencing.

While video interviews may offer some up-sides, like being comfortable in your own home, online interviewing – whether it’s via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype of Google hangouts – can present a new set of unique challenges which could cause you to feel less confident.

But fear not! Here are 7 interview tips to help you execute your job interview flawlessly.

1. Set up your space

The best time to look for a good space is at the same time of day that the interview is scheduled for, as lighting can vary quite a bit depending on the time of day. Look for a room that offers a soft well-lit natural light. If you can’t find a space, you will need to create one. Use overhead lighting and desk lamps, making sure you are not hidden in any shadows. Another important factor is the background. It’s best to find a neat space as your “backdrop”, this ensures that the interviewer is not distracted and feels invited to get to know you a bit.

2. Get familiar with the video platform beforehand

Once you’ve found the best location, it’s time to sit down and get to know the conferencing platform. Now days, many different video conferencing platforms require sign ups, downloads or permissions on your device. Spend the time learning the platform you will be using. This will avoid any technological mishaps that may happen during your interview.

3. Minimize distractions

Set your computer to “do not disturb” (Mac) or “Focus Assist” (PC). There’s nothing worse than a text from a friend or missed calls from your partner interrupting the interview. Also, make sure to switch off your mobile phone to prevent any temptation to reach for your mobile while on the interview, as the interviewer can see your hand cover the phone.

4. Research the company

Make sure you know enough about the company to answer any questions the interviewer may have. It’s also important to scour the company’s social media accounts. Keep tabs on their online platforms and see if you can casually incorporate references to their latest announcements or any other news-worthy talking points during your interview.

5. Be concise

It can be easy to get carried away when answering questions during a video interview as we feel more comfortable and don’t feel the same pressure that we usually would feel if we were sitting down face to face with the interviewer. Make sure that you get to the point, and try not to ramble on when answering any questions. If you feel yourself starting to ramble on, stop, apologize and as for a few seconds to recollect your thoughts.

6. Write down a few points you don’t want to forget

The best part about video interviews is that the interviewer can only see what is directly in front of the camera. This give you the opportunity to write down any notes or talking points that you may not want to forget. Stick them behind the camera screen and don’t be afraid to take a peek at them now and then.

7. Follow up on the call

This may seem like a simple one, but it can be so easy to forget. Take a few minutes after your video interview to write a thoughtful thank-you note to your interviewer. Make sure to highlight specific conversation topics that may have got your attention so that the interviewer will remember the conversation more clearly (and of course, you).

Just a final note – patience is key. Interviewers can be very busy. If you start to feel a company is moving too slowly in responding to your candidacy, remind yourself that there is likely a lot happening behind the scenes. Set yourself a reminder once a week to follow up with your interviewer. Remember to be polite but clear in showing your interest in the company and the role.


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