7 tips for video call interview success on Microsoft Teams

With an increasingly mobile global workforce, video interviews are becoming commonplace. It makes sense - candidates don’t have to travel or take time off work, and technology platforms like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom mean you don’t need to miss out on the face-to-face aspect of a job interview.

With the current social distancing measures and travel bans across the world, video interviewing has become even more critical for employers and job seekers alike.

So here are our 7 top tips to help you own your video interview.

1   Find the best environment and video background

  • Find a private, quiet location where you won’t be interrupted. Switch your phone off, close windows to block out any outdoor noise, and lock the door if needs be – we all know distracting our kids can be! Children interrupt BBC News interview
  • Find a simple, neutral background and ensure that your shot is well-lit. It’s best to have the light source coming from in front of you. Adjust the lighting if required once the shot is set up.

2   Technology & MS Teams

  • You will need a laptop with a webcam, a monitor (not essential but can help with positioning) and some headphones – these can cut out any echo. 
  • Ensure you have a strong internet connection. 
  • Make sure you have Microsoft Teams downloaded onto your computer, and familiarise yourself with the system.

3    What to wear for your video interview

  • Dress as you normally would for a face-to-face interview. Research the company and decide what is appropriate to wear.
  • Avoid patterns or distracting jewellery and ties. Opt for simple, softer colours and dress fully – not just from the waist up! This will help you to psychologically feel ready for the interview.

4    Organise your desk for a stress-free video interview

  • Clear your desk space, and simply lay out your prepared notes, your CV and the job description, so that you have prompts to refer to. 
  • Have a pen and paper to hand for any questions that spring to mind or any key details you want to note down.
  • Also make sure you have a glass of water to hand – interviews can be thirsty work!

5    Find the best shot for success

  • Set up the shot so that you’re positioned in the centre of screen with some clear space above your head, and don’t sit too close to the screen.
  • Raise your camera to head level to avoid looking down on the interviewer and to make it more natural – use a laptop stand, or a pile of books.
  • Within Microsoft Teams, turn off the box that shows you, this avoids distraction and too much self-consciousness and allows you to focus more fully on the interviewer and the questions. 
  • Once set up, check again for lighting – coming from in front of you. If you wear glasses, try to position the lighting to remove any unwanted glare.

You’re almost ready to go!

6    Test!

This is a really important step.

  • Test your setup. Do a dummy interview using MS Teams with a friend. You can record it and watch it back to identify any adjustments you need to make.
  • Test the audio, the video and internet speed. Does the background look ok? How is your positioning?
  • What about your body language? Try not to fidget or move your hands too much, this can be distracting, and can interfere with the microphone.

It’s crucial to test your set up before the interview. Don’t miss this step!

7    Back-up plan

  • Inevitably, technology can let us down. Be prepared in advance. Ask the interviewer for a number to call, should you run into difficulty. Apologise, but make sure you proactively offer a solution – to call them and continue by telephone, or to reschedule.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Video interviews are no less formal than regular face-to-face interviews. So, it goes without saying that preparation is your key to success.  Do your research, make sure you understand the role, and find ways to evidence how your experience aligns with the role.

Once you’ve done this, the above tips will help you present yourself, and your expertise in a confident, adaptable and professional way.

Good luck!

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
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