How to prepare for a (video) interview

Francien - AcademicTransfer
30 mrt ’20

Have you been invited for a job interview? That is great news, this is an important step for landing this new dream job! Now it’s time to prepare for your interview. Do you not know where to start? In this blog we share some tips. Our final tip is specifically about preparing for a video interview as we all need to keep our distance at the moment. We hope this blog post helps you on your way.

1. Take time to do research

Take your time to prepare for your interview and do your research. Preparation is key. This will not only help you feel more comfortable and confident. It will also give you a deeper sense of the organisation, the job and the culture. And it will give you a framework for asking questions, which is a great way to show your knowledge, your research and interest in the company.

2. Read about the company

Start by reading about the company. Make sure that you check the website and social media for the latest company news. Also google the company and check what others have to say about them. This will help you find other information and a different point of view. Also, try to find out a little bit about the people that you will have the interview with, so you will know more about their role at the organisation or for instance about recent publications on research projects. 

3. Check employee reviews

Check employee reviews to learn more about the culture of the company and whether people like working there. You can start by talking to people in your network. But if you do not know any employees of this organisation, you could check platforms such as Glassdoor. Glassdoor provides reviews from applicants and (ex) employees about the application procedure, culture, jobs or salaries. A great way to gain some insights.

4. Online presence

Your online presence is important. Just as you will check the people involved in the interview, they will check you online. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you are happy with the content you share on your social media profiles. Do they represent you how you want to?

5. See it as a meet and greet

See the interview as a meet and greet rather than a selection you have to get through. This point of view will help you feel more in control. Of course, the interview is necessary for the company to select the right candidate. But it is also your chance to select them or to conclude that you are not the right fit. You will spend a lot of time at the office and with colleagues, so this new job has to be the right step for you.

6. Frequently asked questions

Of course you can not prepare for all the questions, but frequently asked questions can be found easily on the internet. If you know what your skills and interests are, what attracts you in this job, and what you have to offer, this will take you a long way. It helps if you also think of your achievements or situations that you learned from. These examples say a lot about you as a person and give a better picture of your personality and performance.

7. During the interview

Your presence during the interview is most important. Of course the cultural and personal fit are crucial, but are not completely in your control. However, there are some things in your behaviour that will reflect good on you:

  • Make sure you look clean and well groomed and if you are not sure about the dress code, better be overdressed than underdressed.
  • Be on time…. yes, not surprising, but so true! 
  • Smile, make eye contact and sit straight in an open position (for instance without folded arms).
  • Listen, nod when listening and be polite.
  • Ask questions if something is unclear, no one expects you to know everything. 

8. Tips for a video interview

Video interviews are used frequently for international interviews. Currently, due to the Corona virus, companies will use video interviews more and more. Although the preparation for your interview is similar to preparing for a face to face meeting, I gladly share some extra tips specifically for video interviews. 

  • Quiet place - make sure that you find a quiet place at home and minimise the chance that your interview is interrupted. Close your window, tell your room mates or family to be quiet, mute your telephone, let your cat out and so on.
  • Test tools and devices - test and download the interview tool well in advance and make sure that your microphone and camera are working. 
  • Connection - you do not want to have any connection problems, so close all other tabs and programmes on your device to prevent any interference.
  • Presentation -  your clothes can come across quite differently on camera than in real life. Wear soft colours and leave the bright colours and patterns in your wardrobe. 
  • Background - Choose a neutral background, free from any clutter or mess. 
  • Light - make sure the light is ok, so you are visible and your jewelry or glasses are not reflecting the light.
  • Look at the camera - Make sure that your face is centered on the screen and your face is fully visible. Also, make eye contact with the interviewer. Do not look at the interviewer on screen, but look into the camera. 

We hope these tips will help you make a great impression on your (video) interview. Good luck! And if you are looking for more useful tips on your career or life as an academic, make sure to check our other blog posts.

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