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Smile for the camera: how to impress in your video interview

You’ll have no doubt noticed considerable changes in the world of work recently in light of remote working and social distancing regulations. Much of the UK workforce has had to adjust to working from home where possible, and for the time being, hiring processes are taking place remotely.

Accountants applying for roles currently should be prepared for a remote hiring process and a major component of this is the video interview. For some, the perceived lack of real interpersonal interaction this interview method presents can be a cause for anxiety. 

In order to put your best self forward for a video interview, it’s important that you counter this by fully preparing and making some adjustments to your interview preparation and style. Here are my top tips for how you can impress in a video interview and give yourself the best chance of being hired for the role.

Get ahead of the game 

Just as a physical interview requires you to arrive at a certain location at a certain time, a video interview also requires some vital preparation which will help you avoid embarrassing technical difficulties and any uncomfortable silences. 

First things first, install the necessary programs and software in good time and familiarise yourself with how they work. If you do have technical difficulties during the interview, you want to know how to handle them as best you can. Test your connection and video software plenty of times beforehand by making some practice calls to check sound and picture quality and how the camera angle is positioned. 

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A good recruitment consultant will help you prepare for the interview and advise you on the kind of questions you are likely to be asked, but there is a lot you can do yourself to make sure the technology doesn’t let you down.

Find your confidence in front of the camera

Another helpful bit of preparation you can do is to make sure you’re comfortable looking into a camera and speaking into a microphone. It sounds easy but you might be surprised at how unnatural it can feel, particularly if you haven’t had much experience with video calling. 

My top tips are to first avoid the temptation of looking at your own image on the screen – instead look into the camera itself as it will help you to make eye contact with the interviewer, otherwise it may look like you are speaking to a picture on the wall and looks like you are disengaged. Second is to remember to smile, as this goes a long way to building rapport with your interviewer.

During the interview, try to stay confident even if you get stuck on a question. Simply ask if you can move on and come back to this when you have gathered your thoughts. Silences can be difficult when you aren’t in the same room, so try rehearsing with a family member or friend to minimise awkward pauses when you are delivering your response. Another tip is to take a sip of your water which you should have next to you as you would do in a normal interview. You may need it if your mouth goes dry but more importantly, it can buy you some thinking time in a natural way! 

Project your professionalism

Remaining professional, staying relaxed and keeping calm all apply in a video interview just as they do a physical one. Even though your interviewer can only see you through their screen, it’s likely that they’ll pick up on these traits through your body language and tone of voice. 

The key to coming across confident over video is sitting up straight, gesticulating as you would when talking in person and giving your interviewer signals like nodding or smiling to show that you’re engaged. Confidence is even more of a decisive factor in video interviews than it is during regular face-to-face interviews, as without the encouragement of your self-assured body language, the interviewer might have difficulty reading you.  

My last piece of advice is not to panic if your video interview is disrupted, your signal breaks up or you lose connection. In this instance, don’t be afraid to hang up and restart the call – just quickly contact your interviewer to update them. If you’ve done your preparation, practiced in front of the camera remembered your professionalism, you’ll paint yourself in the best light and impress your employer, even if it is from afar.


Karen Young is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy and Finance

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