A Novice’s Guide to Video Interviews
I just finished one of my first ever video interviews. It was an interesting experience, we couldn’t get the video to work for a start. It ended up being a phone call via computer. The whole process, from me figuring out the platform my interviewer wanted to use, to realising a couple of days beforehand that I didn’t have internet in my new apartment, was a new experience that had me floundering.
I figured out some handy tips that should prove useful if you, like me, are just starting out with the video interviewing process.
Double check your internet connection.
I recently moved into a new apartment, and between finding a comfortable and cheap couch, and buying myself my first ever fridge, internet was the last thing on my mind. I had enough data on my phone to get me by for a couple of weeks, and hotspotting is pretty reliable.
Then I got an email for a video interview. Then I got a text saying that my data was juuuust about to run out. You bet I was out of the apartment the next second, trying to sort out a stable internet connection.
If you’ve got a video interview coming up, make sure that your internet connection will withstand anything. Do you have enough data? Have you paid your internet bill? Have your parents paid theirs? If no to all these questions, get yourself to a place with communal Wi-Fi. Now, I’m not saying to head down to your local Maccas, but have some sort of back up plan. Originally I was going to head to UTS and access their student Wi-Fi and book a private study room.
There’s always a way to conduct your video interview, you’ve just got to make sure you’re organised for it.
Make sure your login works.
On the morning of my interview, I had a moment of pure panic. I opened the link to my video interview only to realise that I had to download a new program onto my computer to make the link work. Thankfully, this only took a couple of minutes, and I was testing the link out fifteen minutes before my interview.
However, I have been in a situation where my computer has taken at least 30 minutes to download something. Learn from my mistakes and check that your link to the video interview works at least a day beforehand. That way if there’s any glitches, you’re giving both yourself and your potential employer ample time to fix it.
Test out how you look.
This isn’t a vain statement. When I opened my computer, I realised that my video angle was all wrong. Instead of seeing me you could see the open door to the kitchen in the background, and my clothes spilling out of my cupboard. Not the most professional of backdrops.
Make sure you set up your computer and check how you’re going to look when the call goes live. Rearrange, check, and rearrange again. You’re not going to win yourself any favours if your interviewer is looking at a blank wall instead of your lovely face.
Follow up with an email.
The biggest downside of an electronic interview is that you can’t immediately hand your interviewer that beautiful portfolio you’ve been crafting for the better part of a year. If you’re super organised you could always have this sent BEFORE your interview, but boundless something is going to come up that makes you wish you could just pysically hand it to them.
During my video interview my potential employer asked me for some examples of my work. While I have a print portfolio, I have yet to amass a digital one. Instead I asked for her email and, after our interview, I immediately sent her a message with links to all my digital work, still in the drafting stage.
If it all goes wrong – try, try again.
As I said before, my video interview was not perfect – there wasn’t any video! The most important rule is that if it all goes wrong, make sure you follow up.
If, for some reason, the internet fails part way through and you can’t get it back up and working again that minute, make sure to call your interviewer and explain the situation. Try to get back online, and if that doesn’t work, reschedule a time with your interviewer after you’ve fixed whatever is going on with your computer.
Just like physical interviews, things can go wrong in the process. You just have to hope that they’re understanding and that you’ll be given another chance.
Video interviews are just as important as a regular interview, maybe even more so. They allow you to connect with potential employers working in different time zones and countries as you. Video interviews are here to offer you boundless opportunity, you just have to be prepared to take it.
For even more advice, check out UTS Careers’ 5 Tips for Nailing a Video Interview, and be more prepared than I ever was.
By Clare Aston
Copywriting and content intern at UTS Careers
Clare Aston is the current copywriting and content producing intern for UTS Careers. She is studying her Masters of Creative Writing at UTS, as well as juggling other interning and writing opportunities.
She thrives on literary discussions and is always on the hunt for new book recommendations. She has experience copywriting for both print and digital media and is interested in the way social media can be read as a narrative structure.
Clare is often to be found with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds.