From recruitment niche to global go-to – video interviewing has come a long way in the last few years. And as video interviewing has grown, so has its sophistication – and expectations of how candidates use virtual tools.
In this Masterclass, we explain the four most important video interview best practices you can apply as a senior leadership candidate. Keep reading and learn how you can adapt your interview style for virtual spaces and establish a winning rapport.
Step 1: Become a captivating storyteller
Those who master the art of storytelling do best in any senior interview setting, but especially in video environments. With you and your potential employer communicating from digital vacuums of sorts, it can be more difficult to engage, build rapport and direct the conversation in the direction you wish.
But storytelling transcends boundaries – physical and metaphorical – and allows you to communicate your best self and overcome any of that initial video interview awkwardness or sterility. Practice your natural conversation skills with a focus on adding colour, context and charisma to your leadership successes and experiences.
There’s a fine line between indulgence and insightfulness though. So, regularly check in on your interviewer’s non-verbal cues and keep the conversation flowing and balanced. Remember, interviews at this level aren’t a Q&A. They’re strategic meetings.
Step 2: Learn how to lean into pauses
Pauses are notoriously tricky to navigate in video interviews. Even more so when you’ve got to keep eyes on several people, whose faces have been shrunk into tiny grids on Teams or Zoom. We’d normally read non-verbal cues to take the floor and break a pause. But in video interviews, participants often end up in verbal paralysis or talk over one another to fill a gap.
Perhaps you’ve been there yourself? If so, try shifting your mindset about pauses. Tell yourself: they’re not awkward, they’re just a natural part of a conversation!
And if you’re the one who needs to pause – to focus your thoughts or gather a reference – be confident, clear, and intentional. Let your fellow interview participants know that you need a moment, and jump back in promptly and professionally. Just as you’d do in person, with a little extra clarity.
Step 3: Work your angles
Don’t let your computer screen and webcam crop lead you into a false sense of security. Body language is everything in video interviews, and needs the same attention as in-person settings, but with a tailored focus.
In terms of posture, we advise a straight back, uncrossed arms and relaxed breathing. Something called “posture expansiveness” can help us be perceived more strongly as a leader, too. Consider leaning slightly toward the screen to communicate interest but be wary of getting too close to the camera!
Gestures are uber-important too. It’s true that we talk with our hands. It emphasises points and conveys passion! Studies find those who use gestures are viewed more favourably as leaders. So, give plenty of screen space to accommodate for gestures, too.
And then there’s mirroring. This psychologist-favourite conversation technique comes into its own in an interview setting, especially for communicating culture alignment and like-mindedness. Mirroring the gestures, posture, tone, conversation pace and language of your interviewer is effective at establishing rapport and trust. On the other hand, if mirroring makes you uncomfortable, take it as a red flag an organisation isn’t a good fit.
Step 4: Dress to impress
What you wear and the environment you wear it in is so important in video interviews. You may be at home, but in this instance, you’re a senior leader connecting with an organisation that values your expertise, experience, and values. So, although it may feel a little silly, dress to reflect your hypothetical role and seniority. You can’t go wrong with polished and professional.
Think about how your room is dressed, too! Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment with good natural lighting. If lighting’s a bit of a sticking point, try using three light sources. One behind you and two behind your camera. It’ll replicate a natural lighting look. A furnished room helps with audio quality, so consider some conservative décor flourishes that fit your background and values.
Now head to Part Two to learn about the latest in-person interview techniques.
Are you a senior leader considering opportunities in Transport? Do you need help fine-tuning and perfecting your video interview skills? Please do join the Intuitive candidate community. We provide interview coaching and mentoring and stay by your side every step of the process – not just helping you ace interviews but connecting you with organisations that you’ll really love being part of.
Drop us a message telling us a little more about you here.