Ultimate Guide to Nailing Your Video Interview

Now that we’re all advised to stay at home, video job interviews are becoming increasingly common. You should prepare for video interviews in the same manner that you prepare for in-person interviews. The key is to appear confident and show your true self.

And although the goal is the same as in a traditional interview, there’s a major difference in the setting. It’s important to ensure that the environment will allow the interviewer to focus on your best qualities and not on the noises in the background.

If you have a video interview coming up, you should be familiar with all the variables involved to ensure a successful outcome. To help you with this, here’s the ultimate guide to nailing your video interview.

#1: Always Over Prepare

You need to be overly prepared for the job interview by doing enough research beforehand. Find out more details about the company and learn about the company culture and work environment so you will know the most appropriate answers to the interview questions.

It’s also a good idea to research the possible questions for applicants who are applying for the same position. Listen to interesting recruitment podcasts and gather ideas and tips from the HR recruitment experts that know everything there is to know about interviewing via the medium of video.

Understanding the history and background of the company you’re applying to is one way to make a good impression on the interviewer. Spend some time reading about the company through its official website.

Follow its social media accounts so you will be updated about the latest happenings in the company. Read news reports and press releases so you will have a solid understanding of the company’s operations. Familiarize yourself with the company’s goals and find out how you can contribute to help achieve these goals.

#2: Create Anchor Points 

Consider making pre-interview notes. Prepare possible answers to the most common questions, such as “tell me about yourself”, “why are you interested in working for this company”, etc. Make bullet points about the key things you want to get across when answering these questions, so you will have something to refer to in case you get lost or go blank.

The notes should be off-camera and don’t make it too obvious every time you need to check the notes to pick up some important points.

Review the job description and familiarize yourself with the roles and responsibilities of the position that you are applying for. Think of the previous work experiences that you have that are related to these roles. Include this in your notes because you will most likely be asked about your previous work experiences.

To minimize the need to look up your notes during the interview, practice answering the questions beforehand. When asked to talk about yourself, the idea is for you to communicate who you are and what about yourself you think you can contribute to the company. Ask a friend or family member to run through the possible interview questions and practice answering them confidently.

#3: Set the Scene

The biggest difference between an in-person interview and a video interview is the environment. Instead of going to the company for the interview, you will not have to leave your home.

This is an advantage for those who often get nervous and anxious when going for in-person job interviews. Since you are in control of the environment, it is your responsibility to make it more appropriate for the interview. Remember that a proper environment is a key factor in the overall success of your job interview.  

Look for a quiet and well-lit area in your home where you can sit down in comfort and not get distracted. But just because the interview will be on Skype does not mean that you can take the call from your bed. Remember, this is a job interview, so make your background look as professional as possible.

Choose a neutral colour for your background and avoid crowded places so your interviewer will not be distracted. More importantly, double-check your Internet connection, audio quality, camera angle, and computer battery, you don’t want to be running around your house mid-interview.

#4: No Interruptions 

When preparing your space for the interview, look for a quiet place that’s free from any form of distractions. Sure, things could happen in life that we cannot avoid, but that is why you have to prepare ahead to avoid any distractions.

For instance, if you have small kids at home, ask someone to look after them, so you won’t be interrupted during your interview. Put your mobile phone in silent mode so you will not be disturbed in case someone calls.

Turn on your laptop at least 30 minutes before the interview. Make sure it’s fully charged and that you are connected to the Internet. Close all unnecessary windows or apps that could cause distraction.

Make sure you won’t receive irrelevant notifications, such as live updates of your favourite shows or the latest sales and promotions from your favourite online shops. Above all, dress appropriately in the same way that you would dress for a traditional in-person job interview.

#5: Strong Internet 

It is crucial to ensure that your Internet connection is strong when preparing for a video interview. If your Internet is not reliable enough, you should get it replaced as soon as you can.

Look for a dependable Internet provider to ensure excellent quality on audio and video feeds. Remember that the last thing you want is to get cut off while you are trying to demonstrate your skills and abilities.

Electronics and embedded systems recruiters know that everyone can suffer from internet issues at some point but it’s one of the most frustrating issues for recruiters of video interviewing when a candidate’s internet cuts out, especially when they have a client on the call and they are interviewing for a tech or electronic position. 

To avoid this test the speed of your Internet using websites like speedtest.net. This will provide both a download and an upload speed. If the interview is through Skype, the recommended speed is 1.5 Mbps for download and upload speed.

If your Internet connection at home is not reliable, you can also consider going to places with excellent Internet access, such as in the public library or Internet cafes.

Don’t forget to bring a headset if you’re going to have an interview in another place. Again, look for a place that’s quiet and free from any distractions. Avoid coffee shops, cafes, and other communal places because these places are obviously too noisy.

If you want to refine your interview technique, enrol in this online interview course.

Featured image credit: Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Telephone interview tips

Companies are increasingly using phone interviews, especially now due to COVID 19. Phone interviews are also often used to narrow down candidates for a traditional face to face interview. It is a way of quickly and easily evaluating if an applicant is suitable for the role and determining whether to keep them in the recruitment process or not.

Furthermore, they involve minimal expenses and allow employers to interview people anywhere in the world. As remote working has become a reality for so many jobs, telephone interviews can sometimes be the only option. You also might be offered a video interview, you can read about how to prepare for them here.

With that in mind, here are our best telephone interview tips to help you succeed.

Research

As with a face to face interview, it is necessary to have researched the company. You should know several key details about it, such as it’s size, structure, products and services, and the markets and industries it’s involved in. The employer’s website will usually have most if not all of this information. You might be able to find reports on growth and expansion online through news articles or journals. Also make sure to have a look at some competitors, to give yourself more context on the industry.

If you know who is going to interview you, it is worth googling their name and finding out about them, such as checking their LinkedIn.

You need to also know well the skills and experience that the job specification requires of you. You will be able to tailor your answers and demonstrate to the interviewer that you are a good match for the position.

Be prepared

Be sure that you are somewhere with a strong phone signal and that you have full battery. Double-check who is going to be calling and at what time, be ready 15 minutes beforehand. You should be in a quiet room where you can talk freely, a place where nobody is going to barge in unexpectedly. If there are family members around, let them know not to bother you for the next hour. Also, make sure there are no apps on your phone that are likely to disturb the call with notifications, and of course, turn off any distractions such as a TV or radio.

Write down some questions to ask

Like an in-person interview, a phone interview is also an opportunity for you to find out more about the job and the company. Have some questions written down, as they will ask you at the end if you have any. It is a way to show the employer that you are interested and enthusiastic about the role. The questions can be about things such as the culture of the company or opportunities for progression. If you want some more ideas, here are some good questions to ask at an interview. Resist the urge to ask about the salary, benefits, and holidays. If the interviewer hasn’t mentioned any details about the next step in the process, you should inquire about this.  

Have your CV to hand

You should have your CV next to you and be prepared to talk through it as in a normal interview. They will often ask you about your experience at the start, and having your CV to hand as a point of reference will make this easier. They will want to check that your CV and cover letter are accurate and factual, so it is a good idea to have evidence ready of your work experience.

Be ready for competency questions

Competency-based questions are being increasingly used in interviews. The questions will often ask about soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. For graduate jobs, teamwork and being able to learn quickly are popular skills.

A possible example is: “Describe a time when you were put under a lot of pressure at work. How did you cope?”

A good way to prepare for competency questions is to have a list of examples of when you’ve demonstrated the skills desired in the job specification.

The best technique to use for this is the STAR technique. This is where you explain the situation you were in, the task required of you, the action you took, and the final result. This will give a coherent structure to your answers to help the interviewer see that you can get things done. Here you can see some examples of phone interview questions with answers.

Smile

Though the interviewer obviously cannot see you, it is still important to smile. This will help you come across as more enthusiastic and alert. You do not want to come across as bored or uninterested in the role, so make sure your body language reinforces your positive attitude.

Listen

Listening is of course crucial in any interview. Make you sure you listen carefully to fully understand their questions and what they expect in your reply. The interviewer needs to know that you are attentive and that you pay attention to the details. If anything sticks out as important you can write a quick note in case it gets referred to or if you have a question related to it.

You don’t want to dominate the conversation when you are responding to questions. It is a two-way conversation and you don’t want it to become a monologue, you want to find out a bit about the employer too. Allow the interviewer to control and guide the conversation.

Be professional

It is important to have a professional phone manner in order to come across as a viable candidate. You are not having a casual chat, so your speech should reflect this. Do not use informal phrases or slang and try to maintain a professional tone.

Firstly, answer the phone promptly. During the call, make sure you are aware of the speed of your speech. Often in interviews candidates are nervous and speak to quickly, so avoid rushing your responses to come across as more relaxed and confident. However, you don’t want to ramble on either, so be concise and to the point.

Allow a few seconds after a question has been asked to respond, to avoid talking over the interviewer and to have some time to think. Having a brief pause will also let the interviewer know that you are considering the question and not just saying whatever comes into your head.

You also might want to dress as if you were going for a face to face interview. This will help you get into the right mindset and reinforce a professional attitude. It will be harder to take it seriously if you are in your pyjamas.

Have a practice call

If you get nervous at the thought of a phone interview, you can ask a family member or friend to give you a practice run. Have your CV and research ready in order to make it as close to the real interview as possible. You can also record yourself to see how you sound and come across on a phone.

Don’t distract yourself

Make sure all devices in the background are turned off. You also want to sit at a desk or table and not slouch in bed. Make sure the only things on the desk are relevant documents to the interview like your CV and questions to ask. If you are easily distracted, you might not want to sit near a window where something might catch your eye. Finally, do not eat anything during the interview, even if it would calm your nerves. Make sure you have eaten well beforehand.

Don’t interrupt

You are trying to impress the interviewer and show them that you are the type of person they want to work with. Interrupting them will not help you achieve this goal. Make sure to let them finish what they’re asking, and do not jump in too early just because you think you already understand the question. Be polite and allow them to have the dominant role in the conversation.

Don’t sound bored

During a telephone interviewer, you want to come across as positive and excited about the job opportunity. It sounds obvious but when you are talking on the phone, it is possible to forget. Be sure to avoid yawning or mumbling.

Conclusion

Succeeding in a telephone interview requires many of the same things as succeeding in a face to face interview. It is necessary to do your homework in researching the company, and preparing answers for the questions they will likely ask regarding the skills required in the job description. As with all types of interview, practice makes perfect, the more you do the more natural you will become at adeptly handling interview questions. If you are still struggling with interviews after reading these telephone interview tips, you can check out our 1 to 1 coaching course.

Featured Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels

How to use the STAR interview technique

Interviews come in many varieties, from casual to formal, but in the current job market, you are almost certain to come across competency-based or behavioural interviews. It is crucial to know how to use the STAR interview technique to handle these interviews.

The aim of behavioural interviews is to try to make the recruiting process more objective. The interviewer will have set questions that they will ask each applicant, to remove any bias.  Competency-based questions are asked in order to gather information about the candidate’s experiences in certain situations, so as to assess whether they are right for the job.

The kinds of questions asked will also be informed by the type of job you are applying for. For a job in engineering, you may need to answer logical and problem-solving skills.

 Critics of this type of interview say it is too mechanical and makes it more difficult for the interviewer and interviewee to have a natural conversation. Nevertheless, these types of interviews are widely used, so it is imperative you prepare well for them.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. The STAR interview technique is invaluable in preparing for situational and behavioural interview questions. These techniques will make it easy to give meaningful and concise answers to these types of questions using examples from your life.

Interviewers like to use behavioural interview questions to assess whether you have the required skills and experience for the job. The STAR technique will allow you to clearly explain situations in the past where you have taken decisive action to overcome challenges and to explain the action’s positive results.

You can read more about behavioural interview questions at Wikijob.

How does the STAR method work?

When using the STAR method to answer a question, it creates a four-part response which is easy to follow, with a problem and a clear resolution. Here is an explanation for the four-letter of STAR:

Situation

Provide context for your response by explaining the situation you were in and the challenge you or your team had to deal with.

Ideally, you want to talk about experiences at work. However, if you can’t think of a relevant example from work or if you lack work experience then you should give an example from university or from volunteering or internships.

You don’t want to spend too much time outlining the situation, as the action you took and the resolution are more important.

Example: “A customer phoned us to complain that they had not yet received their package which was now far outside of our normal delivery times.”

Task

For this part of your response, you should detail your role or responsibility in regards to the situation. Basically, talk about the task set for you to resolve the situation.

This part of the response should also take little time describing the situation.

Example: “I had to address the customer’s complaint, find out what had happened to the delivery and ensure that their package got to them as soon as possible.”

Action

Here you should clearly explain what actions you took to resolve the problem. This part of your response should be the longest, as the interviewer is most interested in how you deal with difficult situations. You need to tell the interviewer the most important steps you took to fix the situation.

It is important to emphasise your personal actions, even if you were involved in a team effort. Make sure to say “I” instead of “We” when discussing your actions, after all the interviewer is looking to hire you, not your team.

Example: “I apologised to the customer and asked for their details. By checking our system and contacting our delivery firm, I was able to find out that the cause of the problem was an email inbox being neglected by our company and the address misspelt by the customer.

I then called the customer for the correct delivery details and ensured their package was with them the next day. I also offered them a discount on their next purchase.”

Result

Here you need to describe the positive result of your actions. This is also an important part of your response so make sure to give some detail.

Tell the interviewer two or three of the outcomes of your actions to demonstrate that you had a positive impact on the situation. You could also talk about what you learned and how you’re now a wiser employee.

Example: “I recommended a new system to my manager, that would lead to all of the company’s email inboxes being checked more frequently. I contacted the customer a week after, they informed me that they had used the discount and had given us a positive review on google.”

The STAR method is one of the best behavioural interview tools, but we’ve also got tons of interview advice for all stages of the process: All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Answering Interview Questions.

Why Is the STAR Technique Important?

During interviews, you want to provide a detailed and coherent answer that explains your strengths. The STAR method gives your answers clear and memorable structure. If you stick to the STAR method, you won’t forget anything important, and it also ensures you don’t go off track.

Many companies now train their interviewers to give competency-based interview questions, often having the STAR method in mind. They will be listening intently to see if you use the framework in your answers, as a sign that you have understood the question and answered appropriately.

They may continue to question you if part of your response is lacking, for example, if you don’t adequately outline the results of your actions. Giving coherent STAR answers will impress them and improve your chances of proceeding further in the recruitment process.

How to prepare for an interview with the STAR method

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It is important to learn how to use the STAR method when preparing for your interviews, in order to give yourself the best chance of success. But first here is some background on behavioural or competency-based questions to help you better understand how to apply the STAR method to answer them.

What are behavioural interview questions?

Interviewers use behavioural interview questions to learn how you have worked in previous roles. They want to know about specific examples in the past that will give them an idea of how you will deal with problems and what you will bring to the company.

The questions will often ask about soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. For graduate jobs, teamwork and being able to learn quickly are popular skills.

You won’t know the questions ahead of the interview. Most interviews however will concentrate on past work experiences that demonstrate a variety of skills.  

There are several specific categories that behavioural questions all fall into:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Initiative/Leadership
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Pressure

When preparing for your interview, review the role you are applying for and try to think about what types of questions they will focus on. If it is a customer-facing role, they will be most interested in your interpersonal and conflict resolution skills.

By focusing on the skills that the company is looking for in the role, it will help you prepare appropriate answers from your work experience.

STAR interview question examples

Here are some examples of common behavioural questions you might be asked during an interview:

  • Have you ever made an unpopular decision? How did you and your team handle it?
  • Describe a time when you were put under a lot of pressure at work. How did you cope?
  • Describe a mistake you’ve made. How did you handle it?
  • Give an example of a time you had to make a difficult decision. What did you do?
  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your boss. What happened?
  • Describe a situation when you had a conflict with a colleague. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a situation where you used data or logic to make a suggestion.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to persuade a co-worker to do something.
  • Share an example of a time when you failed. What did you learn?
  • Have you ever had to motivate others? What did you do?
  • Share an example of when you set and achieved a specific goal.
  • Tell us about a time you collaborated with other departments to complete a project. How did it go?

You can read here for more examples of possible STAR interview questions.

Steps to prepare

1. Review the job description

Re-read the job description and reflect on what sorts of skills are required and challenges you might have to face in the position.

2. Go over common behavioural interview questions 

The list above is a good place to start. The questions will not be exactly the same, but the themes will be.

The interviewer might ask about a situation where you have had a tight deadline or they might ask about handling stress at work. Their goal in either question would be to understand how you perform under pressure. It is invaluable to go over the question and prepare answers for them so that you will not be caught out on the day.

3. Write down examples

Make sure to write down examples of situations you’ve had in your professional life that would display the sorts of skills you’ll need to gain the role. Again, make reference to the example questions to help.  Prepare each example using the STAR structure.

4. Practice giving your answers 

Practice speaking your replies out loud to make sure each story is clear and coherent. This will also help you to feel more confident and relaxed during the interview.

5. Be quantitative.

Recruiters and managers like hearing about numbers. If you can quote tangible results to support up your STAR stories, they will be impressed. For example, maybe your actions increased productivity by 10%. Having facts and data to support your stories will always be welcomed.

6. Be concise

You want to keep your stories short and to the point. You don’t want to lose yourself in unnecessary details or bore the interviewer. Always have the STAR structure in mind and don’t spend too long on one section of the answer.

7. Be honest

Companies want to hire somebody who is genuine and honest. You don’t want to bother impressing the interviewers with false stories. They may pick up on it or it could be revealed later on in your employment, either way it will not reflect well on your character.

An Example of a STAR Response

Question: Describe a situation when you had a conflict with a colleague. How did you handle it?

Response: Yes, in a previous role there was a colleague who took against me early on. She would ignore my suggestions in meetings and on more than one occasion gossip about me in the office cafeteria.

I decided to deal with the situation in a mature way. I understand that you cannot get on with everyone in the workplace, however, situations like this can negatively affect the whole company. Therefore, my aim was to find out if I had annoyed her in the past and try to find a solution.

I approached her and asked her if we could have a private meeting when convenient. We sat together away from our colleagues. I calmly explained my concerns about our professional relationship in a non-confrontational manner. At first, the conversation was difficult but then she relented and apologised for her obtuse behaviour.

We both agreed that we should foster a professional and cordial relationship for the benefit of both of us and the department. I think it is crucial to tackle interpersonal conflicts in a professional manner before they develop into larger problems.

Common Mistakes When Answering STAR Questions

1. Not answering the question

If you are asked a behavioural question and you can’t think up an answer on the spot, then it is better to come out and say that. This is always better than trying to invent a story.

You shouldn’t ask the interviewer to move on though. You could instead explain to the interviewer what you would do in the given situation, maybe with reference to your previous answers.

2. Not being well prepared

An interviewer will be able to tell if you haven’t done your homework. If you are coming up with an answer every question on the spot your answers will likely also be less clear and concise.

Make sure that you have prepared well and it will come across to the interviewer. It will also help you relax.

Prepare about 4 or 5 STAR stories that demonstrate a range of your skills and the behaviours an interviewer is looking for.

3. Appearing too prepared.

You don’t want your responses to come across as being overly-rehearsed or robotic. They need to seem organic. Do not memorise your responses exactly word for word, but make sure you know the key points to build your responses around.

4. Giving a response that is not a success

Make sure you stick to giving responses that have positive outcomes for the company and for your own growth.

The interviewer might try to inquire into your story in order to pry extra details out of you. So be aware of this and make sure the examples you cite do not have traces of details you don’t want to reveal or bad outcomes.

5. Giving an irrelevant response

Giving a response that does not refer to the question asked tells the interviewer that you are not focusing, or that you just want to give a well-rehearsed response even if it’s irrelevant. Either way, it will not come across well.

6. Over-Exaggerating

You might be tempted to exaggerate your responses to make yourself sound better to impress your interviewer.

Don’t give a response where you are a superhero who saved the company from financial ruin. You do not need to exaggerate your actions or the results, the interviewers are looking for competent and truthful candidates. Also, it will not reflect well if you belittle the efforts of your past co-workers or make it seem like you were the only employee getting things done.

If you’ve just graduated and don’t have a long work history to draw from, you can consider examples from volunteer work, internships, or group work you completed for university. Sometimes you will be asked for an example from outside work, so also think of challenges you’ve tackled in your personal life. You can click here if you are struggling because you are a graduate with no work experience.

The key to all your responses is to make sure they have a clearly defined Situation, Task, Action and Result. This is the best way to demonstrate your skills and abilities that relate to the role.

Key Points to Remember

The fundamental points when remembering how to use the STAR interview technique are the following:

Memorise

 Having the STAR acronym memorised will help you put your thoughts in order to answer a list of behavioural interview questions.  Also, remember the proper order to give a clear answer and tick all the interviewer’s boxes.

Practice 

Devote some time to writing out STAR responses to practice questions before the big day. Make sure all the points have enough detail for the story to be coherent, but not too much that the important points get lost.

Prepare 

Prepare well for your interview and avoid panicking on the day by studying the practice questions above.

Conclusion

Learning how to use the STAR interview technique will pay off in your interviews.

Standing out to your interviewers at a behavioural or competency-based interview relies on you giving clear and concise responses to their questions. You don’t want to leave any doubt in their mind that you are a competent employee who can overcome a range of challenges. Add quantifiable data to your answers when possible to support your claims.

It’s okay to add on some mistakes that you made in order to come across as relatable and human. It will also help convince the interviewer that you are being truthful. Do not focus on mistakes and make sure your responses have positive outcomes.

Do not over-learn your responses so that you find yourself reeling them off word for word. You need to come across naturally. Keep your responses natural and conversational and you will find that the STAR technique is invaluable in helping you demonstrate your skills in an ordered and easy to remember the way.

For more advice on interviews and the recruitment process, you can visit Graduate Coach. We also offer one to one interview training.

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14 Body language tips for interviews

First impressions are essential to successfully nail down any interview, especially because they are often close to impossible to change. Whilst it is important to prepare your answers for your interview questions, it is equally important to bring attention to your body language. 

Your body language can have a huge impact on how you are perceived. In fact, you are being judged by the interviewee before you even utter your first word! Here are 14 body language tips for interviews that ensure you make the best impression of yourself. 

1. Walk in confidently 

Your body language can say a lot about your behaviour. For example, if you are slouching while you walk, this may show that you are feeling nervous. This can be resolved by rolling your shoulders back and naturally elongating your neck. 

Even if you are feeling nervous, when you adopt a good posture and walk tall, you will start to become more confident. In other words, you become what you think you are. In some cases, employers may analyse your body language (from their office) before your interview has even begun. 

This is to determine how your body language changes from the moment you arrive into the building to the moment you enter the room in which the interview will take place. So, it is vital that you carry yourself with confidence and professionalism straight from the get-go. 

2. Deliver a firm handshake 

Body language tips for interviews. Man giving lady handhsake.
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Next up on our list of body language tips for interviews is to deliver a good handshake. An optimal handshake should be firm. This means it should not be a forceful grip and neither should it be limp as a noodle.

A forceful grip may give an aggressive impression, or it may seem that you are trying too hard. On the other hand, a weak grip may present you as being a submissive individual or that you lack confidence. 

Other than personality, handshakes may also provide subtle non-verbal cues regarding your business style and negotiating skills. For example, a firm grip can set the tone for hard-line negotiations and allow you to take the upper hand at negotiations. 

Evidence shows that handshakes do play a vital role in making a good first impression. A firm handshake is easy to perfect after a few tries, so make it count! To prevent any awkward situations, remember to also make eye contact with the interviewer and smile. 

Check out Psychology Today to find out more about the power of handshakes.

3. Make eye contact 

Maintaining good eye contact with the interviewer demonstrates that you are not intimidated and that you are engaged. Ensure that you are not constantly staring at the interviewer, such that it becomes uncomfortable. 

But rather, aim to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time. If it becomes awkward, look away for a few seconds before bringing your gaze back to the interviewer. However, note that avoiding eye contact for too long may make your answers appear dishonest. To prevent this, balance it out by making eye contact for a while and letting your eyes wander for a bit too. 

If there is more than one interviewer, ensure to make eye contact with all of them. When responding to a question, address the interviewer who asked the question, followed by holding eye contact with the other interviewer, before shifting your attention back to the first interviewer. 

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4. Smile 

This may seem like a no-brainer but smiling, where appropriate, will show that you are attentive to what is being said and that you have a personality.

Smiling will help to signal to the interviewer that you are friendly, and you will come across as more likeable. Even if you are feeling nervous, smiling will help to make you appear more relaxed and comfortable in front of the interviewer. 

5. Be graceful 

When your interviewer invites you to take a seat, sit gracefully into the chair. This might seem obvious but ensure that you do not plop yourself into the chair, as this will make you appear to look unprofessional.

A key tip to note is that when offered which chair to take a seat in, select a straight-backed chair, as opposed to a more comfy or cushioned chair. A straight-backed chair will help you to maintain good posture. 

6. Sit up straight 

In addition to walking confidently, your posture must remain good when sitting down too. You can achieve this by keeping your back straight and the small of your back touching the chair.

Keep in mind that fully reclining against the chair may give the impression that you are bored or not interested in the job. 

At the same time, you will want to make sure that you are not too stiff. To show that you are interested in and keen on the job role, you can lean slightly forward, as this depicts that you are listening to the interviewer. 

7. Don’t cross your legs 

In terms of leg positions, keep both your feet planted on the floor or you can have them crossed at the ankles. If you cross your legs higher up, this is not a good option as it may make you come across as arrogant or defensive.

Moreover, it is not a good option as we tend to uncross our legs when sitting for long periods of time, which also falls under tip number 10 of not fidgeting. 

If both of these options do not feel comfortable, you can place one foot in front of the other, allowing your back foot to slightly rise such that only your toes remain on the ground. To visualise this, it may look like a ‘ready for action’ stance. 

8. Use your hands 

Do not keep your arm crossed and avoid clenching your fists in your lap. This gives a closed impression and may suggest that you are nervous, defensive or uninterested. Instead, keep your hands in your lap with your palms facing upwards, as this signals honesty and engagement. 

If you tend to use hand gestures while speaking, carry on letting them move naturally, as stopping them may make you appear to look awkward. However, take note not to go overboard with hand gestures.

If you struggle with keeping still, you can keep your hands busy by taking notes when appropriate. This will also show that you are paying attention. 

9. Mirror your interviewer 

A trick to get on good terms with your interviewer is to align the position of your body, such that it mirrors their positive body language. This technique is known as mirroring and when done properly, it gives a sense of agreement and creates a common ground. 

An example of mirroring can be copying a nodding if they nod or subtly shifting your posture if they do, to share a common body language. However, note that mirroring should be done sparingly so that you do not appear too bold.

It should not be obvious to the interviewer that you are attempting to copy them. 

10. Hold still 

Another body language tip is to avoid fidgeting and keep still. For instance, do not keep adjusting your clothes, twirling your hair, or tapping your fingers against the table.

This is distracting for the interviewer and suggests that you are not focused or that you are disinterested in the job. 

If you do have a nervous habit, such as tapping your fingers on the table, try your very best to keep still. Check out our post to learn how to beat interview anxiety

11. Breathe deeply 

If you are feeling very nervous before your interview, take a few deep breaths to calm your body and mind. You can do this before you walk into the interview room so that you feel calm and composed. Deep breathing helps to reduce our heart rate, blood pressure as well as our stress hormone level. 

If the feelings of nervousness have not gone away and persist during your interview, you can still focus on your breath to soothe interview nerves. When responding to an interview question, breathe deeply (yet quietly) when the interviewer asks you a question.

Following this, exhale when you respond. This may additionally help to prevent any nervous habits, such as drumming your arm, during your interview. 

12. Vary your voice patterns 

To show off your personality and make you interesting to the interviewer, ensure that you do not speak in a monotone. This may make your responses, however smart they may be, boring and disengaging to the interviewer.

Instead, vary the tones in your voice to give away some emotion and connect to the interviewer. Visit Executive Career Advice to find out more about how the tone of your voice can affect your interview performance.

3. Show interest in your surroundings 

Once you have finished your interview, keep in mind that the interviewer may still be analysing your body language, until you leave the office. This falls under tip 1 of walking confidently and adopting a good posture. In addition, take some time to look around slightly. This will give the impression that you visually appreciate the working environment. 

14. Practice makes perfect! 

Once you have read through all of these body language tips for interviews, the final important step is to practice applying these techniques as much as you can, prior to your interview. Firstly, you can do this by consciously applying body language techniques to answer common interview questions that you have prepared by yourself. 

Once you feel a bit more comfortable with applying these techniques, you can then ask your friends or family to assist you in the rehearsal process. Rehearse with friends and family over and over again until you don’t have to consciously think about whether or not you are applying the correct body language technique. 

Preparation is key as the more you practice, the more likely you will be able to maximize these body language tips in your interview. This is especially true when nervous habits tend to arise in an interview. If you have practised sufficiently, you will be able to consciously overcome these natural tendencies. 

Summary: 14 body language tips for interviews 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! We hope that these body language tips will assist you in your interview preparation. If you would like more help and want to stand out in your interview, sign up for our graduate interview coaching.

If you need any help with applying these body language tips for interviews, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Feeling Sad after Interviews: Dealing with Post-Interview Blues

You’ve done brilliantly to get an interview with your dream company for a role that is seemingly perfect for you. You attended the interview and sent a great thank you email, but now you feel sad.

You’re dealing with a case of the post-interview blues. You really want to receive a call offering you the job, but you’ve started to question your interview performance and your candidacy as a whole. Self-doubt creeps in, and you start to wonder how you compare with the competition.

In this post, we will address why you may be feeling sad after interviews and share advice on what you can do to restore your confidence, boost your interview technique and generally feel a lot more positive.

Why you are feeling sad after an interview

There are many reasons why you could be feeling sad after interviews. Identifying what is making you feel this way is the first step to working out a solution. Here are some reasons why you might be feeling down.

You are struggling to bounce back after a bad job interview

We all have off days. It’s just incredibly frustrating when we feel ultra prepared for something but fail to perform when it really matters.

That feeling of letting yourself down and all that hard work going to waste can make you feel down in the dumps.

If you think your last interview went horribly wrong you might end up in a spiral of negative thought patterns. It can be difficult to bounce back when this happens.

Learning how to bounce back, learn from mistakes and improve is vital when it comes to navigating the job search.

Instead of feeling down after interviews that you feel went badly, focus on getting feedback and improving your interview technique. There will be plenty of opportunities for you in the future.

You regret not saying something during your interview

Maybe you’ve just thought of a perfect answer to one of the questions you were asked during your interview. Instantly you start to regret that you didn’t give that response during the interview.

The feeling of missing out on an opportunity is bad enough but it can feel worse when you miss out on an opportunity despite knowing your stuff.

Regret is a horrible feeling because we can’t go back in time. The best way to overcome this feeling is to focus on the present and the future.

The good news is that there will be several more opportunities for you and there is always room for growth and development whether you get the job or not.

You’ve been to so many interviews without any success

Perhaps you keep failing job interviews and you are sick of it.

If you’ve been unsuccessful after interviews continuously, you may start to take it personally which can make you feel upset.

Noticing a pattern of getting rejected after interviews isn’t a nice feeling at all. However, it does give you the opportunity to seek the help you need to get the job you really want.

What to do if you are feeling sad after interviews

FEELING SAD AFTER INTERVIEWS

Feeling sad after an interview is a sign that you really want the opportunity and you are anxious about the outcome.

However, the fact that you are feeling sad may mean you feel as though you didn’t perform well enough or that your confidence level has taken a hit.

We will now share some practical advice to help you to feel better if you are feeling sad after an interview.

Feeling Sad after Interview

Continue your job search

The search isn’t over. Don’t wait to hear the outcome of your most recent interview. Regardless of what the outcome will be, you should keep looking. Who knows, you might even find something better.

Putting your focus and energy into searching for new opportunities will take your mind off of feeling sad about your last job interview and make you feel optimistic about your next one.

Embrace the process

Think of your job search as a journey. One of self-discovery and resilience. As with all journeys, you will face setbacks and hurdles. How you overcome them will shape you into a stronger person.

If you’ve been continuously failing job interviews, now is not the time to feel sad or pessimistic about your future. it’s time to pinpoint what is holding you back and formulate a plan to overcome it.

Maybe you’ve been applying for jobs that just aren’t right for you. Or perhaps you need to brush up your interview technique.

Persevere, and you will eventually get your dream job.

Improve your interview technique

Don’t feel down about your weaknesses. It’s not productive. If you are unhappy with your interview performance, take actions to improve.

Being able to perform highly in interviews is a lifelong skill that you should invest in.

The fastest way to improve your interview technique is to get help.

Take an online interview course

We have put together a 9 module course called Nail That Interview which is designed to help you to land your dream job.

As well as access to 9 key modules, you’ll also:

  • Receive 8 downloadable guides
  • Get a list of frequently asked interview questions
  • Have the opportunity to practise video interviews and get feedback

You can try module one of the online interview course for free! You will learn how to:

  • Convince the interviewer that you can do the job and that you really want it.
  • Demonstrate your key employability skills
  • Make the right impression
  • Ask the right questions at the end of your interview
  • Follow up after the interview

…and more!

Get interview coaching

Investing in an interview coach is a wise investment.

At Graduate Coach, our interview coaching programmes are designed to teach you the art and the science behind passing your interviews and getting the jobs you really want. 

Interview coaching is a short term investment for long term success. 

Chris Davies, Interview Coach

Feeling sad after interviews: summary

It is important to assess how we feel after interviewing.

A bad interview can make us feel sad or even depressed and a good one can make us feel elated.

However, once you’ve completed your interview and sent your thank-you note, the decision is in the company’s hands.

Therefore, there’s no point dwelling on the past and thinking of all the things you’ll miss out on if you don’t get the offer you are hoping for.

The best thing to do is to keep searching for new opportunities and to invest in improving your interview technique.

We hope this post has cheered you up a bit if you have been feeling bad after an interview. Keep your chin up and don’t let this negative experience define you.

Remember, we can help you to refine your interview technique. Drop us a line to find out how we can help you here at Graduate Coach: [email protected]

How to Beat Interview Anxiety

Wouldn’t it be great if you could walk into your next interview feeling confident and anxiety-free? 

In this post, we will share tips on how to beat interview anxiety before, during and after your interview. 

What is interview anxiety? 

Anxiety is the state of feeling uneasy such as feeling fearful or worried. 

We all experience feelings of anxiety at some point during our lives. 

Feeling fearful or worried about an interview is common. 


Interview anxiety can range from being mild to severe.  Some job seekers feel worried just before their interview, whilst others miss interviews due to severe interview anxiety. 

How to Beat Interview Anxiety before an interview

Here are some tips on what you can do to reduce your anxiety before your next interview.

Prepare 

Being prepared for your interview will help to reduce your anxiety. 

It is important that you research the: role, company and industry in detail. 

During your interview, you will need to convince the interviewer that you can do the job. Therefore, you will need to prepare for competency-based interview questions. 

When it comes to researching the company, it’s not enough to skim over the website. Be sure to find out as much as possible about the company especially the company’s mission and values. 

We offer interview coaching that is designed to teach you lifelong interview skills. Over the past decade, we have helped hundreds of people who came to us feeling anxious about their upcoming interviews. 

We also offer an online interview course called: “Nail That Interview“. We condensed our learning from our one-to-one coaching to design this course.

The course is divided into 9 modules and contains 8 downloadable guides.

Be organised

As well as preparing for your interview, it is important that you prepare the following in advance:

  • What you will wear to the interview
  • The directions to where the interview will be held
  • What you will bring to the interview i.e. your CV, notebook and a pen
  • plan to arrive at the destination of your interview 20 minutes early
  • Decide what you will have for breakfast on the morning of your interview day
  • Plan to have a good night of sleep before your interview

Having all of the above ready in advance of the interview will help you to beat your interview anxiety.

How to Beat Interview Anxiety

Reducing anxiety on the day of your interview

So, you’ve prepared for your interview well and you’ve organised everything you will need for the interview in advance. This will significantly help you to reduce your interview anxiety.

However, as it gets closer to your interview, you may notice a spike in your anxiety levels.

On the day of your interview, it is important to stay as calm as possible.

Use the S.T.O.P method to reduce feelings of nervousness and anxiety on the day of your interview.

S = stop what you are doing and focus on your thoughts
T = take some deep breaths
O = observe what is going on in your mind and body
P = proceed with an action that will help you to feel more confident

The S.T.O.P method is a cognitive behavioural technique used to nip racing thoughts in the bud.

If you are sitting in the waiting area before an interview and start to feel anxious do the following:

  • Stop and acknowledge your anxious thoughts and nervous energy
  • Take 5 deep breaths to reduce tension
  • Observe how you are feeling and what you are doing. If you are fidgeting, stop.
  • Proceed by taking positive actions. Sitting up properly and taking further deep breaths can help to reduce your anxiety.
interview nerves before an interview in a waiting room

Get into the right mindset

Block out anxious thoughts by rationalising the situation. Remind yourself that an interview is a conversation. The interviewer isn’t trying to catch you out and this is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can do the job.

Be present with your thoughts instead of thinking “what if my mind goes blank” or “what if I don’t get the job”. Focus on the task in hand.

How to reduce anxiety during interviews

Ask for a glass of water

You will normally be offered a glass of water at the start of the interview.

Don’t decline the offer as there are many advantages of drinking water during your interview.

  • If you are asked a challenging question, taking a sip of water can give you extra time to gather your thoughts.
  • It will help you to stay hydrated. nervousness or anxiety may make your throat feel dry. To prevent this sip on some water during the interview.
  • Drinking water may help to reduce your stress levels

Check out our blog post on the benefits of drinking water during an interview.

Speak slowly

Many people speak very quickly when they are feeling nervous or anxious. However, even if you are feeling this way, speaking slower can help you to come across as being calm and confident.

Don’t worry if you hesitate. It is ok to take some time to think about your answer before you start speaking.

Taking just a few moments before responding, thinking of a strong answer and speaking slowly can help you to give better answers.

Remember, the interviewer will understand that you may feel nervous

Most candidates feel anxious during interviews.

The person interviewing you has most likely interviewed several nervous interviewees. The likeliness is, if they sense that you are feeling particularly anxious they may try to make you feel at ease by encouraging you to take your time with thinking about your answers.

Remember, the interviewer is just another human being. There is even the possibility that they feel a bit anxious during your interview as well.

Dealing with post-interview anxiety

Waiting to hear back from hiring managers after an interview can be extremely nerve-wracking.

You may start to over analyse your performance and the responses you gave.

Some people experience job offer anxiety.

Job offer anxiety is the stress and anxiousness experienced by someone who is waiting for a call back to learn about the outcome of their interview.

Continue your job search: After your interview, continue your job search. Having other opportunities on the horizon will put you at ease regardless of the outcome.

Put things into perspective: if you don’t receive a call back the next day, it might be because the people involved in the interview process may not have had the opportunity to meet yet. So don’t worry if you haven’t heard back after a few days.

How to beat interview anxiety: summary

We hope that this post has helped you to reduce your interview nerves.

Job interviews make most people feel anxious. Feeling a bit anxious can be advantageous, but if your anxiety is negatively impacting your interview performance, it’s time to take action.

If you have been receiving rejections after your interview check out our post called: “Why do I keep failing at interviews?

Here at Graduate Coach, we offer coaching and career advice for students, graduates and career changers. Our coaching helps candidates to land the right job. We also offer support with CVs, cover letters, video interviews and more.

Benefits of drinking water during an interview

Drinking water during an interview has many benefits. In this post, we will outline how having water with you in an interview is advantageous. 

Saying yes to a glass of water helps to break the ice

At the beginning of your interview, you’ll probably be offered a glass of water. 

The interviewer will be trying to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Therefore, it is ok to accept the glass of water. Doing so will make the host feel more comfortable in your presence. 

Many people feel that taking up the offer of a glass of water will be inconveniencing the interviewer or wasting time. However, this is not the case. 

Chances are, the interviewer may also want to get themselves a beverage too. Also accepting a glass of water before the interview starts is much better than realising you need one halfway through the interview. 

Accepting the glass of water will also help you to engage in some small talk and break the ice. 

Whilst the host gets your water you’ll get some extra time 

Many interview rooms will be set up with a jug of water. If this is the case, you’ll get a few moments to gather your thoughts and to get comfortable. 

If the interviewer needs to get the drinks from another room you will get some more time to:

  • Gather your thoughts
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Look over your notes and CV/resume

A glass of water can act as a prop 

If you are asked a tricky interview question, you can take a sip of water to buy yourself some time to think of a strong answer. 

Many interviewees feel as though they need to give a response straight away. However, taking some time before answering can improve the quality of your answer. 

Drinking water during your interview will keep you hydrated

glass of water

A combination of being nervous and talking a lot can cause a dry mouth or throat. Drinking water during an interview can help to keep your vocal cords moist. 

Benefits of drinking water during an interview: summary 

In your next job interview, don’t feel apprehensive about drinking water. Take a bottle of water in your bag with you just in case you are not offered any. If you are offered water, take it. Even if you do not drink all of it, having it nearby to sip on can come in handy.  

If you have an interview coming up, book an interview coaching session with us! We will help you to improve your interview technique and help you to feel confident and ready for your upcoming interview. 

FAQs about drinking water during an interview

Is it OK to drink water during an interview? 

Yes, drinking water during an interview is ok. Ideally, you’ll take sips of water at appropriate times during the interview such as before or after being asked a question by the interviewer. 

Try not to drink water whilst the interviewer is asking you a question because you’ll want to show them that you are actively listening to the question being asked. This will involve giving the interviewer eye contact. 

Also, try not to drink excessive amounts of water during the interview as this may become distracting. 

Should you accept drinks during an interview?

Yes, accepting drinks during an interview is a good idea. The interviewer may offer a cup of coffee tea, water or even juice. There are many benefits of accepting a drink during an interview so it is worth it even if you do not finish your drink.

Why Do I Keep Failing At Job Interviews?

So you’ve attended several job interviews now but you haven’t landed yourself a job yet. You’re probably thinking to yourself: Why do I keep failing at job interviews?! 

Don’t worry, we have the answers. 

By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of why you keep failing job interviews and we’ll give you some actionable tips on how you can finally outperform the other candidates and land your dream job. 

1:  Nerves get the better of you

Interview nerves can really have a negative impact on your interview performance. 

Nerves will make you come across as being less confident. 

Confidence is key when it comes to performing highly in interviews. 

Unfortunately, we notice job seekers who continuously keep failing job interviews become less confident over time. 

If you don’t come across as being confident in yourself and your ability to excel in the role, you’ll find it difficult to convince the interviewer to have confidence in you.

The best way to beat your interview nerves is to adequately prepare for your interview.  

Being adequately prepared for your interview will allow you to walk into the interview room knowing exactly what to expect and knowing exactly how to answer any interview question in a way that will impress the interviewer. 

It is important to note that confidence is not just conveyed by what you say. Your body language also gives away your level of confidence.

Action point: Learn and practice some body language tricks that will make you come across as being more confident during your interview such as: 

  • Maintaining a good posture i.e. sitting upright instead of slouching in your chair. 
  • Using eye contact effectively, i.e. getting the balance right between giving your interviewer’s eye contact without continuously staring at them. 
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets
  • Keep your head and your chin up 

On average, people only spend 36 minutes preparing for their interviews and that is simply not enough. 

We will share some tips and advice on how you can ensure that you are fully prepared for your interviews.

We collaborated with StudentJob UK to write a post about getting rid of nerves before an interview so if you’ve identified being nervous as being a reason why you keep failing job interviews, be sure to check out that post. 

interview coaching

2: Nobody has ever taught you how to prepare

We always tell our interview coaching candidates to not beat themselves up if they tell us that they keep failing interviews. 

This is because the chances are, they’ve never been taught how to interview before. 

Most things that we want to get really good at in life require some guidance either from a coach, teacher, trainer or instructor. 

Think of it this way, If you wanted to get really good at singing, you’d get a vocal coach. If you wanted to become a pro at Tennis, you’d get a Tennis instructor. 

Getting really good at performing highly in interviews is no different. 

Hiring an experienced interview coach can really help to give you the edge over the vast majority of the competition who wouldn’t have even taken adequate time to prepare for their interview. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have been teaching students, graduates and career changers the art and the science of succeeding in interviews for the past decade. 

We offer face-to-face interview coaching as well as an online interview course. If you are looking to give yourself the best chance of passing your next interview and gaining lifelong skills, get in touch with us. 

You know the saying – fail to prepare, prepare to fail! But before it’s not just about preparing for your interview, first, you need to know how to prepare for interviews. 

If you do feel as though you always prepare for upcoming interviews but you’re wondering why you always fail in interviews, maybe you need to brush up on how you prepare for interviews as well as what you prepare. 

3: Memorising interview answers is not working for you 

This point follows on from the point above. 

Many interviewees approach their job interview preparation by writing down answers to questions that they think they might be asked and try to memorise them. 

An interview is not a memory game. 

If you adopt this approach of trying to memorise answers, you’ll probably get flustered and lose your composure if you forget your answer. 

Also if you put a lot of energy into memorising a set number of questions, if you are asked something that you haven’t prepared for, it can result in your mind going blank. Which many people find difficult to recover from in interviews. 

You should go into your interviews feeling confident that you can give impressive answers that demonstrate the extent to which you will excel in the role. 

This should hold true regardless of what question or scenario the interviewer throws at you. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking notes into your interview with competency-based answers written down. 

why do I keep failing at interviews?

3: When was the last time you researched the company properly? 

Researching the company is often overlooked when preparing for interviews. 

This is because job seekers tend to focus mainly on the role they are applying for. 

However, the interviewer is not just assessing your ability to do well in the role that you are applying for.

They are also assessing that you are the right fit for the company. 

Afterall you could apply for a similar role at another company, so you need to go to your interview knowing how to clearly articulate why you want the role at the company you have applied for. 

Knowing how to tailor your answers in a way that demonstrates that you are the right fit for the company involves carrying out in-depth company research. 

Researching the company involves a lot more than just skimming through the website. 

Take the time to read through the company values and make sure you are able to demonstrate these values and what they genuinely mean to you. 

Also, read through the different services the company offers and the clients they work with. Doing in-depth research on this level will give you an idea of how you’ll navigate and progress in your career within the company. 

Being able to state how you envision being able to navigate and progress in your career within the company will impress the employer. 

After all, hiring new employees can be very expensive and the interviewer needs to make the right decision. 

As well as hiring the person who will perform highly in the role, the hiring team will be looking for people they’ll be able to retain. 

Therefore, if you express your suitability to the company culture and your eagerness to progress in the company, you’ll stand out for the right reasons. 

This point is explored more in the next point about showing empathy in interviews.

4: You’re not empathising with the interviewer

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

It’s vital that you truly understand what the company needs and show that their needs are equally important to you.

This ties into the point above about researching the company.

You won’t be able to understand what the company needs if you only have a surface-level understanding of the company.

Good candidates will empathise with the interviewer by genuinely showing that they are confident that they are the right fit for the company and the role.

They will confidently demonstrate that they know what the company’s mission is and that they will come into work every day to contribute to the company achieving its goals.

5: You don’t know what questions to ask

At the end of every interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

If you keep failing your interviews, the chances are, you are not leveraging this time at the end of your interview. 

There are a wide variety of questions that you can ask at the end of your interview. 

It is important that you put some thought into what questions you will ask. 

If you really want to stand out in your interview it is important to learn the art of asking for the job. 

When was the last time you actually asked for the job? 

This might seem strange, and it does take some practice to get right. 

But being able to sincerely state at the end of the interview what getting the job will mean for you and asking for the job will definitely make you a memorable candidate. 

You keep making the same mistakes

If you keep failing interviews, it is possible that you are continuously making the same mistake.

After every failed interview, it is extremely important that you request feedback.

Companies do not have to provide candidates who were unsuccessful after interviews with feedback. Some companies do not offer feedback. However, some will if you ask.

Why do I keep failing at job interviews: summary

We hope you have found this blog post useful if you keep failing at interviews. 

Good interview performance requires strategic preparation and adequate practice. 

It is also important not to let failed interviews get you down or knock your confidence. We’ve put together a post on what you can do to restore your confidence after a failed interview.

Put it down to practise, brush yourself off, make use of your feedback, invest in interview coaching and keep applying!

How to prepare for a video interview [Step-by-step]

Chances are, at some point during your graduate job search, you’ll be asked to complete a video interview. Naturally, you’ll want to excel in your video interview and successfully progress to the next stage of the interview process. So in this post, we’ll share our step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a video interview

Step 1: Understand the different types of video interviews 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to prepare for a video interview, it is important to note that there are two main types of video interviews: 

1) Live video interviews

Live video interviews are often conducted via online video conferencing software such as Skype or Google Hangouts.

These videos are between you and a graduate recruiter or a member of the team you are applying to join.

It is likely to be quite similar to a telephone interview, but the interviewer will be able to pick up on more of your non-verbal communication skills.

2) Pre-Recorded video interviews

Recorded or one-sided interviews are increasing in popularity, so the chances are, you’ll be invited to take one at some point during your graduate job search. 

If you are asked to complete a recorded video interview, you’ll be sent a link to a video interview platform. 

The email will walk you through how to access the platform and begin your video interview recording.

You’ll be required to record your answers to the video interview questions within the time limit. 

For example, you’ll be asked a question such as “tell me about a time you had to work effectively as part of a team“.

You’ll then have a short period of time to think of your answer before recording it.

Step 2: Gather as much information as you can about the video interview.

Whilst there are two main types of video interview, your experience will be different for every company. 

Some video interviews are designed to get to know more about you as a person and are relatively informal. 

Others are more rigorous and are designed to see how you function under pressure. 

Before your video interview, find out what will be expected of you. 

You can find this information by doing the following: 

  • Reading the video interview invite very carefully. You’ll usually be sent an email inviting you to take a video interview. It is vital that you read through this email extremely carefully.

  • Re-visit the company’s website and navigate to the page outlining the details of the graduate job that you’ve applied for.

    On that page, you’ll usually find a section about the application process and specifically about the video interview stage.

  • Use websites like Glassdoor to read about other candidate’s interview experiences. This will give you a deeper insight into what to expect. 

When it comes to knowing how to prepare for a video interview, it is vital that you first find out as much as possible about the interview you have been invited to.

Step 3: Practise for your video interview

When it comes to knowing how to prepare for a video interview, practising is one of the most important steps. 

Knowing how to outperform other candidates being interviewed is a skill. 

However, most people are never taught this skill. 

There’s definitely an art and science behind excelling in interviews. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have been providing interview training sessions for graduates for over a decade now. 

Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach

If you are currently preparing for an interview for a job that you really want, we strongly urge you to contact us

We can help you in two ways: 

  • In-person

    You can book one-to-one interview coaching sessions with a graduate coach.

    Find out more about our in-person interview coaching here.

  • Online

    You can purchase our online interview course called Nail that Interview for just £249.

    The Nail that interview course condenses everything you need to know to succeed in your interviews into 8 hours of interactive content.

    Find out more about our online interview course here

As part of our interview preparation course, we can also arrange for you to take a mock recorded video interview.

This will involve taking part in a recorded mock interview. We will then review it and provide feedback until you gain more confidence and improve your interview technique.

If you will be having a live video interview, make sure that you are familiar with the video conferencing software that you’ll be required to use. Set up a test call with a friend to get familiar with the platform.

If you will be doing a recorded video interview, practise answering interview questions out loud and film your responses. Be prepared to answer questions related to your non-academic experience.

When watching the recording back assess your body language and the clarity of your answers.

Step 4: Find the best location to take your video interview


There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to deciding on the location where you’ll do your video interview.

Good internet connection

This is probably one of the most important factors to take into consideration when you are deciding where to take your video interview.

If your internet connection is poor the quality of the video call or video interview recording may be poor.

Video interview background

When it comes to the background of your video interview, keep it simple.

You don’t want the interviewer or the person reviewing your recorded video interview to get distracted by your background.

You want to be the main focus!

Therefore, ensure that your background will be clean, tidy and minimal.

Test out what your background will look like to the employer before you start your video interview by turning on your webcam and seeing what background works best.

Before you start your video interview, check that both your webcam and microphone are working correctly.

Check your camera and microphone

This is a vital check to avoid major problems during your video interview.

If you will be doing a recorded video interview, there might be a prompt before the interview to check your mic and webcam.

Position your camera so that it is at eye-level. You’ll want to ensure that you maintain good eye contact with the camera whilst giving your answers.

Good lighting

You want the interviewer or the person reviewing your recorded video interview to be able to see you clearly.

After all, they will be picking up on your non-verbal body language as well as your verbal responses.

Before your video interview, test the lighting to ensure that you can easily be seen.

You might want to use desk lighting if the room you are in is a bit dark.

If it is a sunny day, ensure that the sunlight isn’t casting shadows over you.

A quiet background without any potential distractions

It is really important that you find a quiet location to record your video interview.

Small background noises could potentially be picked up by your mic which could make it difficult for your voice to be heard.

As well as ensuring that your background is as quiet as possible, minimise any potential distractions. 

If you will be taking your video interview at home, be sure to inform your family members so that they do not interrupt your interview. 

Plan to take your video interview at a time where there is likely to be the least amount of distractions.

If possible, try not to take your video interview in a public place where you can’t control external factors such as lighting or potential distractions. 

Sit in a comfortable chair

During your video interview, it is important that you maintain good posture.

Slouching will make you come across as being less confident.

If you are using a computer chair, avoid swinging on the chair whilst talking, even if you feel nervous.

Male sitting in an office chair

Step 5: Dress appropriately for the company you are applying to

Wear what you would normally wear to an in-person interview. 

Even though only your head and shoulders will be on show, you want to make the right impression. 

Some companies require employees to wear business attire. Whilst Some companies allow employees to choose what they want to wear based on their own judgement. 

It is a good idea to research the company’s culture before the interview to get a good idea of what the employees wear. 

One way to get a sense of what the employees typically wear is to look at the images of staff members on the company’s website. 

Replicate what the employees typically wear. For example, if they wear smart clothing, dress smartly for your video interview.

Tips:

-Avoid bright colours and patterns and go for softer colours instead.

– If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid coloured tie.
-If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Step 6: Make sure you have everything you might need nearby

Before your video interview starts, make sure that you have everything you might need nearby.

Check the video interview invite to see if it states that you’ll need anything in particular such as a calculator or a pen and paper. 

Here are some things you might want to have nearby during your video interview:

  • Notepad/paper and pen
  • A copy of your CV
  • Any notes you took whilst preparing for the interview.
  • Glasses if you may need them
  • A bottle of water
  • Laptop charger
  • Calculator

As well as making sure that you have everything that you might need around you, get rid of any potential distractions.

-Switch off your phone during your video interview

-Close any other tabs that you have open in your web browser

-Declutter the area that you will be taking your video intervie

Step 7: Prepare for unexpected events

With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong.

The interviewer understands that unexpected events may occur. They will be interested to see how you deal with such situations.

Many other posts on how to prepare for a video interview miss this very important point.

Here’s how to prepare for unexpected occurrences during your video interview.

  • What to do if your audio stops working

Tip: ask the interviewer for a number that you can reach them on if you get disconnected.

If the video cuts out, call them at that number.

Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule at a later date.

 • How to handle unexpected noises

If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, don’t just ignore it.

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 particularly loud or disruptive. 

If someone enters the room unexpectedly 

If someone enters the room while you’re interviewing:

-Let the  interviewer know what has happened
-Ask them for a few moments
-Mute your microphone and turn off your camera
-Deal with the interruption

Before the interview, find out who you’ll need to contact in the event of any technical difficulties.

Sometimes this information will be included in the video interview email invite or on the webpage outlining the application process.

Remember, unexpected events are sometimes unavoidable.

Your potential employer will be very interested to see how you deal with the situation because unexpected events occur in the workplace all the time. 

Knowing all about how to prepare for a video interview questions is one thing but preparing for the unexpected, what to wear and the equipment you may need is an important step.

How to ace a video interview by Vodafone

How to prepare for a video interview: summary

Video interviews are becoming much more popular. Most internship and graduate roles at large companies require candidates to complete one as part of the recruitment process.

Therefore, knowing how to prepare for a video interview is absolutely vital!

Whether it’s a video interview or a traditional face to face interview, preparation is key.

Surprisingly, people only spend on average 36 minutes preparing for an interview.

This is not enough time.

Preparing properly will help you to stand out amongst the other candidates.

Before your video interview, schedule in some time to practise answering questions. This will help you to refine your interview technique.

We hope you find these tips on how to prepare for your video interview helpful.

If you would like further support to prepare for your job interviews, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us

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