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Interview Tips

Interview tips

An invitation to an interview with an employer is an opportunity for them to learn more about you and your abilities. It is also an opportunity for you to create a good impression while assessing them, the role and what they are offering.

Be confident

As in all things, in an interview, confidence really is key. If you appear at ease, you appear as someone who can take control of a situation. Don’t drink too much tea or coffee beforehand, get a good sleep the night before and don’t be afraid to take a moment before answering big questions.

Remember the small stuff

Remember to get the basics right: Dress smart – suits are best – keep your hair out of your face if needed and keep the colours of your clothes muted. Black, navy, dark grey etc. Also, be 10 minutes early.

Think about their questions

Find out as much about the company as you can: What’s their position? What’s their history? Who are their competitors? Based on these things, figure out what sort of a person they’re going to want and the sort of questions they’re going to ask to find that person.

Think about your questions

Without appearing over confident, don’t be afraid to ask your own questions i.e. “Where do you think you’ll be in five years?” and “If I take this job, where could I be in five years?” An interview is a two-way street, so don’t be afraid to use this opportunity to make sure this is the best job for you.

Remember the purpose of the interview

The purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to find the person that can bring the necessary skills to the vacant position. So, when you’re talking about your skills, talk about them in the context of the job you’re interviewing for. It’s a simple change: Instead of saying “I’m a great organiser,” say “With me at your company, you’d have a great organiser on board.” Small changes like this in the way you speak indicate your confidence and ability and set you apart from the competition.

Video interview tips

  • Find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions.

  • Remove any inappropriate items that might be visible once you are on screen.

  • Ensure your internet connection is stable.

  • Check that your computer’s audio is working.

  • Test your computer’s webcam.

  • Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.

  • Dress professionally and avoid bright colours.

  • Have a pen, notepad and copy of your resume on your desk.

  • When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged.

  • Use hand gestures when appropriate.

  • Place your phone in silent mode

Video interview locations

You will need to find a quiet location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Specifically, you will need:

  • An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second.

  • A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option.

  • Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.

  • A quiet, private, and well-lit place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that is free from distractions. Avoid coffee shops and other communal spaces.

If you don’t have these resources already, you may want to consider the following:

  • Explore the resources available at the public library in your area. Some libraries have private rooms you can reserve and may be able to loan you the equipment you need.

  • Ask friends if you can borrow equipment.

  • Rent equipment.

What to wear for a video interview

For your video interview, you should dress professionally—the same way you would for an in-person interview.

To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and patterns and opt for softer colours instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centred on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.

Video interview body language

Eye contact is very important during an in-person interview, and you want to convey that same level of connection during a video interview. To do this, avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, you want to direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen.

Throughout the interview, keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism with your body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk.

When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you’re giving them your full attention. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate and keep your movements close to your body. Avoid fidgeting or letting your gaze drift away from the screen.

Preparing for your video interview

To get used to the technology and the body language of a video interview, it’s useful to do some trial video calls with friends or family members. Ask them to give you candid feedback about your appearance and eye contact. Run through it a few times until things start to feel natural.

Practising can make all the difference in your interviews. So make sure to set aside time for this in your schedule in the weeks and days leading up to your video interview—you’ll find it will help your confidence grow as you become more comfortable in front of the camera.

On the day of your interview, review this checklist as you’re setting up:

  • Ensure that you won’t be interrupted, either by locking the door or by alerting others that you can’t be disturbed (a note on the door of the room as well as the door to the outside may be helpful).

  • Clear your desk space, except for a notepad and pen/pencil for you to take notes.

  • Have a copy of your resume and any other notes ready for you to reference.

  • Set out a glass or bottle of water for yourself.

  • Check that your webcam is working.

  • Check that your audio is working.

  • Close any windows, tabs or applications on your computer that you’re not using.

  • Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background.

  • Set your phone to silent.

  • Check that the background behind you is neutral and free from clutter.

  • Adjust the lights in the room. If things appear dark or dim, you may want to bring in an extra desk lamp to brighten the space.

If things go wrong

With technology, there is always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case.

  • If your video or audio stops working

    Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.

  • If noise interrupts the conversation

    If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.

  • If someone enters the room unexpectedly

    If family members, housemates or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologise to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Try to ensure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.

Good luck with your interview!