By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance
Rapidly changing circumstances and investment in digital transformation in recent times means our workforce is working more remotely and more flexibly than it ever has before. This is adapting hiring and application processes and the emergence of video interviews is a significant part of this.
There will be many accountants applying for roles who haven’t undertaken a video interview before and for some, the perceived lack of real interpersonal interaction this interview method presents can be a cause for anxiety. It’s important that you counter this and other unconventional aspects of a video interview by fully preparing and making some necessary adjustments to your interview style.
Here are my top tips for how you can impress a potential employer in a video interview, no matter whether or not you have experience of this or not.
Don’t skip the prep
As the saying goes, fail to prepare – prepare to fail. Just as a physical interview requires you to arrive at a certain location at a certain time, a video interview also requires you to take some ownership in advance which will help you avoid a whole host of embarrassing technical difficulties.
Make sure you install the necessary programs and software in good time and familiarise yourself with how they work. If you do have technical difficulties during the interview, you want to know how to handle them as best you can.
Test your connection and video software plenty of times beforehand by making some practice calls to check sound and picture quality. Your interviewer will likely have a busy schedule and won’t be very impressed if you have to keep re-dialling in.
A good recruitment consultant will help you prepare for the interview and advise you on the kind of questions you are likely to be asked, but there is a lot you can do in advance to make sure the technology doesn’t let you down.
Get comfortable over video
Another piece of preparation you can do is to make sure you’re comfortable looking into a camera and speaking into a microphone. It sounds easy but you might be surprised at how unnatural it can feel if you haven’t had much experience with video calling.
My top tips are to first avoid the temptation of looking at your own image on the screen – instead look into the camera to make eye contact with the interviewer. Second is to remember to smile, as this goes a long way to building rapport with your interviewer.
During the interview, if you get stuck on a question, ask if you can move on and come back to this when you have gathered your thoughts. Silences can be difficult when you aren’t in the same room, so try rehearsing with a family member or friend to minimise awkward pauses when you are delivering your response.
Confidence is key
Remaining professional, staying relaxed and keeping calm all apply in a video interview just as they do a physical one. Keeping in this frame of mind will help you to answer the questions accurately and come across the way you want to
When it comes to confidence, your body language is where it counts. Remember to sit up straight, gesticulate as you would when talking in person and give your interviewer signals like nodding or smiling to show that you’re engaging with them. Confidence is even more of a decisive factor in video interviews than it is during regular face-to-face interviews, as without the encouragement of your self-assured body language, the interviewer might have difficulty reading you.
My last piece of advice is not to panic if your video interview is disrupted, your signal breaks up or you lose connection. In this instance, don’t be afraid to hang up and restart the call. Quickly contact your interviewer to update them – they’ll understand it is out of your control and that you’re trying to remedy the situation. Try to keep your composure at all times so you paint yourself in the best light.