Graduate recruiters are increasingly making use of Skype and video interviews as a cost-effective way to filter out the strongest candidates to be invited for a first-round interview. Though these might seem a bit less scary as they can be done from the comfort of your own home, many graduates are thrown off and often underestimate how much they differ from face-to-face interviews.
It's important to remember that Skype and recorded video interviews vary from one another. A Skype/video call interview is a two-way conversation in real time between employer and candidate, similar to a normal interview except through your webcam.
On the other hand, video interviews (sometimes called asynchronous interviews), are a one-way interaction which you can choose to complete at any time within the given period, often a 72-hour window. It's common for the candidate to be presented with either a video of someone asking the questions verbally, or they can be presented in writing, for which the candidate will need to record their answers on camera. There will often be a countdown timer in the corner, so you will be aware of how long you are expected to talk for, before moving onto the next question.
1. Look at yourself and not the camera
It may be tempting to check that your hair still looks good, but remember that you want to look at the camera as if you're looking the interviewer in the eye. If you're not focusing on the camera and looking at something else, you may give the impression that you're distracted or nervous (or vain).
You haven't had to move from your house, so there's no excuse! Body language says a lot about you, so don't get caught out by coming across as too relaxed, as tempting as it may be. Sitting up straight can also improve your productivity and concentration levels, both of which will help you when answering your questions. You can get back into your pyjamas and finish watching Netflix straight after.
3. Forget to tell your housemates/family
Make sure all of your housemates are aware of what time your interview will be, as you won't want anything to distract you or anyone barging in your room. Similarly, make sure your phone is on silent, and that any TV or music is turned off.
4. Show a messy room
Make sure there is no clutter in the background as you don't want to divert any attention away from you. You don't want the employer to see your ever-growing pile of laundry or take-away boxes, and it might be a good idea to take things like posters down from the walls behind you.
5. Rely on your notes
The good thing about Skype/video interviews is that you can take advantage of having notes with you, as long as you are sneaky about it. Although it's good to prepare some answers, avoid looking down too much at these during the interview, as this can be distracting to the employer and they will most likely pick up on it. Write out some bullet points of things you definitely want to mention, so they can help prompt you without making yourself sound too rehearsed.
1. Look smart
Make sure you dress the part. Even if you know the company has an informal dress code, dressing smart will show that you are able to present yourself in a professional light and they will appreciate that you've made the effort. It's always better to overdress than to feel too informal. (ed: If you're feeling particularly lazy, remember, only your top half will be on show! Half suit, half pyjamas - sorted)
2. Check your Wi-Fi and webcam
It's crucial that your Wi-Fi is strong enough and that your webcam and microphone is working properly. Ensure that you practice recording yourself on camera beforehand to check the sound, lighting and picture quality, as any technical glitches during the real thing can fluster you and throw you off track. If you're doing a pre-recorded video interview, try and do it at a time of day when there is plenty of natural light. If your connection isn't strong enough or if you haven't got access to a webcam, your university may be able to help you out and set you up somewhere on campus, or alternatively ask your friends.
3. Actively listen
During Skype/video call interviews, it's inevitably harder for the interviewer to hear and see you, compared to face-to-face. So, it's crucial that you give them cues to know that you are listening and that you are acknowledging what they are asking, giving them reassurance. It will show them that you are paying attention, and will make the whole conversation flow better.
4. Ask questions
This is where your notes can come in handy. Make a list of questions that you want to ask the employer, so anything that hasn't been covered by the end can be brought up before it draws to a close. It will show your initiative and will express your interest in the role. Make a list of about five, so hopefully at least a few of these will be left uncovered for you to ask at the end.
The screen can often act as a barrier between you and the employer, meaning that it can be more difficult for you to demonstrate your natural enthusiasm and energy. Make sure you don't forget to smile, as this will show your confidence and self-belief!
Now that we've run through the Dos and Don'ts of Video Interviews, have a look at The 8 Best Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview, The Worst Answers to the 5 Most Common Interview Questions as well as our Careers Advice section.