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How to succeed in a video interview

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 Video interviewThe way companies are interviewing is changing. Gone are the days when, similar to the BBC2 programme The Apprentice, potential candidates pitted their worth against an interviewing panel; or, more precisely, gone are the days when this was the only means of interviewing. 


And thus phone and video interviews are increasing in practice in all kinds of positions, from the grass roots of an organisation to the very top. And with agencies such as Staff Bay appreciating the changes, the how to succeed at a video interview can be an important lesson for many.

The video interview – the 7 common mistakes (and the solutions!)

Mistake 1: being too casual in your approach

The most common mistake for both phone and video interviews is that potential candidates approach them with a far more casual attitude than the traditional face-to-face grilling.

Would you turn up for a job interview in slippers? You may be in the comfort of your own home and the interviewing panel may not be looking at your feet, but the essence of you not quite being prepared, a bit too casual and so on will come across.

The solution 

Be professional in your ‘best way’. Your body language needs to ooze professionalism and confidence; your dress attire needs to be spot on and you need to be thoroughly prepared, just like a face-to-face interview. Don’t skimp on the details.  

Mistake 2: Not having a backup plan

Technology is a fabulous thing; from being able to communicate with the other side of the world to making life so much easier, the Internet, the PC, the phone, the mobile phone, the modem and routers of this world have all made a massive, manly positive impact… when it works.

The solution 

If you know your signal is poor at home, then get yourself another venue where you can concentrate on the interview. Background noise can interfere not only with your signal but concentration and focus too. Anything from the quiet of a friend’s house, to hiring a room at the local library, hotel etc. is better than the intermittent signal in your lounge. Be prepared beforehand.  

Mistake 3: Not practicing

Appearing on screen can be awkward, immediately making the most confident person self-conscious. Likewise, for many people, seeing themselves on screen can either turn them in a gabbling mess or render them speechless.

The solution 

Practice. Get used to talking and seeing yourself on screen. Check how clear and well you are coming across at the other end. It takes a certain set of skills to come across well on video interviews.  

Mistake 4: Leaving it to the last minute

A bit like packing your bag the night before school speech you undoubtedly had as a child, you need to ensure that your webcam and technology is ready.

The solution 

Prepare well in advance when it comes to the technology. Be sat at the PC, in front of the webcam 5 to 10 minutes before the interview time, just as you would be in a face-to-face situation.  

Mistake 5: Being over-prepared

Up to this point we have talked about preparation being key BUT, with video interview there can be a tendency to be over-prepared, to the point it sounds like you are reading from a script. This, like giving a presentation, is all down to nerves, brought on by heightened emotions and unfamiliarity.

The solution 

Have bullet points and snippets of information that can be an aide memoir, rather than scripted answers. You will come across more natural and in a more conversational style, rather than clipped and ‘trained’. 

Mistake 6: Not showing your personality

Companies need to ensure that they not only get the right skills to fill a post, but the right cultural fit too. Interviews via phone and video can be difficult in that the interviewer has to work somewhat harder to get the feel of the person and their personality.

The solution 

Be natural. It is normal to be nervous but try to act in the most natural way you can. Smile, and use your humour too. Make sure you comes across as warm, approachable and professional.  

Mistake 7: Gabbling or talking too fast

Video interviews are used to the benefit of both the company and the candidate. People no longer apply within a 50 mile radius of their home for work and thus, applying for a job several hundred miles away or in a different country just got a whole lot easier.

Nerves, however, makes us gabble, talk fast and can make us difficult to understand.

The solution 

Practice and breathe. Listen for when you start to gabble or talk too fast, and make a conscious effort to slow the pace of your talking. If you have a strong accent, be aware that this too can become ‘stronger’ when you are under pressure.  

Video interviews are a great way for companies to meet potential candidates; are you prepared?