As more employers start to integrate technology into the hiring process, video interviews have become an increasingly common step in the Accounting job search process. Whether it is the initial screening, or it is taking the place of the face-to-face interview, video conferences have a few nuances to consider. It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we see candidates forget the basics and make silly mistakes when they get in front of the camera. To help you succeed in your next video interview, here are our top tips to keep in mind.
To take the added stress out of an upcoming video interview, don’t underestimate the importance of being well-prepared before the interview begins. In particular, allow plenty of time to get all the necessary equipment set up, tested and working – so many candidates skim over this step, only to have their interview interrupted with technical issues. This is where a trial run can be extremely helpful, ensuring that everything works exactly the way you are expecting come the time for the actual interview.
Ensure the camera angle and distance show your face, check the signal and connection (and have a backup plan for if it drops out), remember to turn off all email, watch and phone notifications, and, if using Skype, make sure it is logged in. If using a phone or a tablet, you might consider propping it up against something so that your picture is not wobbling as you move your hand. A little extra preparation, even if it seems like common sense, can make a big difference to the outcome of the video interview.
Create a Professional Setting
Whilst a video interview may seem less formal than its face-to-face counterpart, there is still a dress code (unlike a phone interview!). Although wearing professional attire is routine for interviews, it’s important not to underestimate the way it can give you a boost in confidence and put you in the right frame of mind. Don’t be tempted to dress up on top and wear your pyjama bottoms – it only takes a small slipup for potential employers to get a view of your sleepwear!
The setting and backdrop also play a major role in video interview etiquette. Find a quiet spot away from noise and shut windows and doors (consider using a headset to ensure optimum audio quality). Ensure the space you’re using has good lighting and is free of distractions such as TV screens or people moving around. It’s best to find a blank, neutral-coloured wall to act as a backdrop for a video interview, as an area that is free from clutter will be less distracting for the interviewer. Don’t forget to let friends and family members in the house know that you are not to be disturbed to avoid being interrupted like the man in the viral BBC interview below - although he wasn't impressed, the rest of the world certainly got a laugh out of it!
Be Aware of Presentation and Mannerisms
Video interviews often mimic in-person interviews because you’re sitting face-to-face with the interviewer, albeit across screens. However, there are a few extra video interview tips to think about when it comes to presentation. Whilst the usual body language advice you've been given around traditional interviews still applies, ensure you:
- Maintain eye contact by looking at the camera, not the screen (this can cause you to appear as if you are looking down or away from the screen)
- Try to avoid fast hand gestures and movements which may appear blurry on screen. Equally, don't try to stifle what is your normal gesticulation; just be more cogniscent
- Be aware of any video delays, especially if your interviewer is in a different country. It pays to take a pause between answers and allow time for the interviewer to fully listen to the response and form a reply.
- Ensure that you are seated at eye-level to the camera
Don't forget, there might be some mannerisms and habits (both verbal and non-verbal) that you're completely unaware of. Try recording yourself beforehand and see if there is anything you're doing that might need toning down.
Treat it Like a Face-to-Face Interview
Regardless of how the interview is conducted, the preparation and execution should remain largely the same. We have seen candidates get distracted by the nuances of video interviews and neglect what would normally be their face-to-face interview style. Prepare for the interview process (and for interview questions) just as you would do for a face-to-face meeting; review the job description, find out who is doing the interview and do your research on the company.
When it comes time for the interview, avoid rushing through answers and take the time to consider the questions to ensure all points are covered. Aim to use concrete examples to back up points, and be genuine and engaging with responses. Don’t forget to prepare some questions of your own. Most importantly, be yourself – the employer already thinks you tick the right boxes, so use this time to show what makes you stand out.
Thanks to technology, the recruitment game is changing, but the players are ultimately staying the same. Although video job interviews require some unique preparation, the interview itself is no different from any other – so don’t let the medium intimidate you.
For more information on how to succeed in your next video interview, or if you are in the market for an Accounting job, reach out to the Sydney Accounting recruitment experts at Richard Lloyd.