Interviews. Like going to the dentist….hardly anyone enjoys it, but it’s a necessity of life. So, rather than sit and worry about them, it’s far better to be ready to hit them head on and give yourself the best chance of making a brilliant first impression.
And interviews have evolved – The world as we knew it changed in the UK in March 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many people, and this has also been evident in the world of business and work. We now live in a world where it is easier to communicate than ever before. Talking to people has never been easier. It wasn’t that long ago that we only spoke face-to-face or a good old telephone – but in 2022, you’re just as likely to chat on Teams, Skype, and Zoom than you are in an office. And that goes for interviews, too…….
But the principles of doing well in an interview remain the same, whether you are sat in front of an interview panel in a room, or sat behind your laptop in your dining room! The venue may be different, and you might have saved on petrol – and in this day and age that may be a huge bonus! – but most of the key principles and processes that you go through will be the same.
Here are GPN Recruitment’s top 6 tips for succeeding at video interviews…..
- Perfect preparation prevents poor performance
No matter where the interview is taking place, be prepared. Fully prepared. That means making sure that wherever the venue, you are dressed appropriately for an interview. If in doubt, dress up not down. I’ve never heard any negative comments when someone has made an extra effort, but I’ve heard plenty of negativity when it’s the other way around. And just because you might be interviewed whilst at home, it doesn’t mean you turn up in a onesie or t-shirt!
If you are at home, make sure that you tick the following off:
- Ensure that your internet connection is good
- Have a back up form of communication – mobile phone, another laptop, iPad etc….
- Set up a business-like environment. Don’t do the interview in your bedroom!
- No family photos or backdrops that aren’t needed.
- No clutter around you
- Use earphones if possible, not the device speakers
- Pens and paper etc at the ready, even notes to help you!
In-house or in your own house, don’t give potential employers the opportunity to get a negative first impression of you.
- Enjoy it!
For interviews in any format – try to enjoy it. Look at it as a chance to tell people how good you are and what great things you have done and how you’ll add value to the company. Smile, make eye contact, and make sure that you leave a positive impression by really looking as though you want the job. It’s so easy for even the very best candidates to be miserable, quiet, unresponsive and then at the end of the interview kick themselves for not showing themselves in the best light.
- Do your research
Do as much prep as possible. This ties in with our first point, but it’s really obvious when a candidate hasn’t done any research on their potential new employers, their potential new job, and just what might be asked of them at the interview.
If it’s held at the company, ask employees and staff there some questions about the company or the environment they work in as you are walking around. It’s not being nosey, it’s taking a professional interest, and showing that you really want the job. Taking more of an interest than your competitors is great, as employers like nothing more than people taking an interest in their company. It’s professional ego-massaging and it shows that you’ve gone that mile further than some of the other candidates.
- Keep your eyes out….
If it’s done remotely by Teams, Zoom etc…here’s a tip….
Try not to look at the screen and the person who is talking…..divert your gaze into your device’s camera, as that will mean that you are looking at the interviewer directly. This is quite hard, and it’s not a game-changer, as your body language is probably more important. An interview is quite simple in a way – it’s basically about engaging with and impressing other people.
- Question time
Yes, there will be curveballs thrown in, but good preparation should mean that you will already have guessed many of the questions that will be fired at you before you even arrive at the interview. Some will be generic questions designed to put you at ease and give you the chance to be positive, whilst others will be targeted specifically at aspects of the job.
No matter what the question, be positive, be honest, have answers already in your head, and always back your answer up with examples of success and track record wherever possible. “Yes, I have led teams, and in 2018 I led a marketing team of 7 and we hit all our KPI’s, and sales grew by 43% etc etc….”
Some generic questions you can expect to receive are:
- Why have you applied for this position?
- What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Why do you feel you would be a good fit for this position?
- What do you look for in a (line) manager?
- Tell me something about yourself that I will not find in your CV….
- What do you bring to this job that is unique and would make us want to hire you?
- Do you prefer working alone or in a group?
- Why do you want to work here?
Plus, have one or two questions ready to ask at the end of the interview. It shows that you’ve done your research and are still very keen on the available position. Make them positive questions that show the company in a good light.
- …..and things can, and probably will, go wrong
Things going awry – That’s life, that’s the world of employment, and if you’re at home, that’s technology for you!
When things do go wrong or a question stumps you – stay calm.…..…think of it as a test or part of the interview, as the world of work often throws unexpected surprises at us. If something does go amiss, don’t panic, smile, be professional, and then try to sort it out. Easier said than done, but employers often ask you questions about things that have gone wrong in your career and how you reacted – this might be an on-the-spot chance to show them!