An interview is your chance to show a potential employer what you are capable of. It is an exciting positive step in your job search and, if carried out properly, can result in you landing the job. It is important to properly prepare for the interview whether it is online or in-person and to have done your research into the company so you can make the best possible first impression and show your suitability for the role. However, there are certain things that can hinder your chances of a successful interview.
Below we have listed a some behaviours that you should avoid during your video interview to ensure you come across well:
1. MOVE YOUR PHONE OR DEVICE AROUND WHILE YOU INTERVIEW
A professional interview set-up is a crucial part of your interview. It will affect how you come across on screen and if you don’t plan your set-up it can hinder your performance. It’s ok not to have the perfect backdrop, as long as it won’t cause you embarrassment, however, it is vital that you maintain a stable connection and that your phone or device doesn’t move around as you speak. To avoid this, prop your mobile or laptop up on a table, a pile of books or even on a special stand. We all communicate with our hands as well as our expressions - so try to avoid holding your phone throughout the interview.
2. COVER OR OBSTRUCT YOUR CAMERA
The purpose of an interview is to get to know a candidate, to connect with them and see whether they are a good fit for the role, so it’s important that the interviewer can see you properly. Check your interview set-up before you start and ensure nothing is blocking or partially obstructing your camera. If you can, try to line the camera up with your eyes so that you naturally make eye contact with the interviewer as you talk.
3. HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CURRENT ROLE VISIBLE IN THE BACKGROUND
While an interviewer may ask you questions about your work history they don’t need to see evidence of your current role, papers, work or anything else in the background. Tidy up before your interview and make sure the space around you is clean and uncluttered.
4. CHOOSE A POOR LOCATION
Video interviewing has made it possible to interview from anywhere. Although this gives you the option to interview on-the-go we would advise you not to interview from your car, while you travel or while you are on holiday next to the pool! Try to interview from inside and make sure you have a quiet space where you can sit down and give your full attention to the interviewer.
5. INTRODUCE PETS OR CHILDREN
It can be tempting to tell the interviewer about your personal life and to introduce them to your pets or children if you are working from home. But avoid the temptation! An interviewer wants to know about you and your professional life so try to stay focused on proving why you are a great fit for the role. Do not lift children or pets up to the camera while you interview, this will give the impression that you aren’t interested in the role and are easily distracted.
6. HOLD ANOTHER CONVERSATION
For the duration of the interview you should only be focused on the interviewers and the questions that they are asking you. Do not speak to other people while you are interviewing. If you are interviewing from home tell family members to leave you alone for an hour and not to disturb you. Similarly don’t answer any phone calls. If you stop to chat to someone else you risk giving the impression that you don’t care about the role. Turn off your phone or leave it in another room until you have finished.
7. DROP OUT OF THE INTERVIEW
Unless there is a real emergency there is no excuse to terminate an interview before it has come to an end. If there is an emergency politely explain the situation and request to reschedule. If you change your mind about a role halfway through an interview then look at it as a valuable opportunity to practice and hone your interviewing skills and to see what sort of questions you get asked. You can always let the interviewer know that you don’t think the role is right for you at the end, or you can follow up with an email to your recruitment agency explaining why.
8. FORGET WHICH ROLE YOU ARE INTERVIEWING FOR
When you are searching for jobs it is common to apply for several roles at the same time. Be careful to know which role you are interviewing for and don’t make the mistake of telling the interviewer that you’ve applied for so many positions that you don’t know which one this is for. In order to impress at the interview stage you must have done the research and you need to be on the ball. So it’s fresh in your mind, re-read the job description, your cover letter and any notes you’ve made about the company before you start the interview.
9. BE LATE
When you are interviewing online there really is no excuse to be late - you don’t have any buses to miss or any traffic to get stuck in. Check your tech ahead of your video interview and join the call on time.
10. BAD MOUTH PREVIOUS JOBS OR EMPLOYERS
Whatever your reasons are for changing jobs it is imperative not to bad mouth previous employers at your interview. If you’ve had negative experiences keep them to yourself or keep them very vague. While it can be frustrating, most interviewers will be concerned that you will also speak poorly of their company, or they could infer that you were part of the problem so it may backfire!
If you do need to touch on your previous negative experiences, be diplomatic and put a positive spin on things. Don’t come across as a complainer, show them that you’re proactive and that you want to change things for the better as a result. Or, highlight what their company already does to fix the things that you had issues with.
Interviews can be scheduled at any time of the day. It’s tempting to schedule an interview over your lunch break if you are busy at work. However, if you do have an interview over breakfast, lunch or dinner time try to avoid eating while you are on screen. Most interviews will last between 30 minutes to an hour, so there should be plenty of time before or after to eat. Eating divides your attention and it can be impolite. If you are hungry before you start your interview have a quick snack – just remember to check yourself in the mirror before you get started you don’t want anything to be in your teeth as you talk!
During an interview you are assessed on more than what you have to say, you will be assessed on your attitude, appearance and the way that you hold yourself. The key to coming across well is to practice your interview technique and to keep practicing until you are happy with your performance. If you are about to interview for a role, why not check out our free video interview practice tool? We have created two mock interviews specifically for ex-military personnel so that you can practice articulating your skills and experience in Civvy language.