Top Tips for Video Interviews
As more employers turn to video in order to conduct jobs interviews, candidates must be prepared to face the screen and present their best self. The good news is, technology doesn’t have to hinder your performance and can in fact provide different opportunities to shine. Here are some top tips for video interviews:
First of all, dress to impress! Dress as if you were meeting the interviewer in person. Not only will this send a positive impression that you’re taking the format seriously, it will put you in the “interview” mindset, making it much easier to focus.
Likewise, mind your surroundings. Aim to set up somewhere quiet with a strong WiFi connection. Your home is the typical place to do this, though check in advance that there are no possible distractions from pets, roommates or outside factors like construction work and network interference (which will affect your ability to access the internet).
Face your laptop or computer against a plain or neutral backdrop and check the camera to ensure the lighting is bright enough. Too much or too little natural light can make you difficult to see, which can be distracting for both yourself and the interviewer.
Once set up, test the video capabilities and make sure that your position, which should ideally be at a table or desk, places you in the middle of the screen. Your torso should be visible, especially if you gesture with your hands as a way of talking. For stability, place your laptop flat on the table or on a stand, and if you’re resorting to using a phone, ensure it’s as secure as possible.
If your interview is taking place through video conferencing software like Skype, install it ahead of time and make sure your account is ready to use. Some platforms will require codes and log in details to join a video chat so it’s important to have these readily available. As a back-up, install the software on your phone. By doing this, your video interview will be off to a smooth start and there will be no last-minute panic, which is why this is one of our top tips for video interviews.
Like with any other interview format, make sure to prepare – research the company, practice potential questions and answers and match your skill set to the role in question. Plan your own questions to ask the employer and keep a notepad and pen on standby. Everything that you would bring to an in-person interview, keep around you, including a glass of water to clear your throat.
It is also worth considering your other technology and how it could turn into a distraction: put your phone on silent (or turn it off completely), leave your smartwatch in another room if it’s prone to beeping, and ensure the notifications on your computer are turned off completely.
It’s important to look interested and engaged throughout the interview, from the moment the camera switches on up until the call ends (and make sure the call has really ended before letting out sighs of relief!)
The way to do this is to maintain your upright posture, smile frequently and keep eye contact (look through the webcam to make eye contact, not the interviewer’s face).
Though it’s tempting to fidget and glance away from the screen, remember that the interviewer will be treating this as a face-to-face meeting and will expect standard interview etiquette. Listen carefully, be enthusiastic and let the interviewer lead the conversation.
Though it may appear difficult to strike up the same level of rapport over video, if you’re listening to social cues the flow of conversation will happen naturally. Make sure to speak clearly and wait for a couple of seconds of silence before answering a question, just in case they haven’t finished speaking.
Video interviews do not have to dampen your usual way of speaking or diminish the confidence that goes along with it.
If there are problems with the video while you’re in the middle of the interview – a dropped connection or lagging video – don’t panic, these slight technological difficulties happen for numerous reasons outside of your control. Simply explain the situation to the interviewer and ask if they’re having a similar problem. If needed, re-start the software and pick up right where you left off – don’t let it jolt you out of the interview mindset. The interviewer will likely be used to it and will continue as normal, too.
If you are feeling nervous at any point, remember that it might not be the interviewer’s preferred format, either, and they’re doing the best they can to be professional and create a friendly atmosphere.
And when it comes to using the video format, don’t underestimate the impact it will have on the person conducting the interview – they will clock your levels of competency in setting up the software, dressing appropriately and not letting the different style and format faze you.
Lastly, good luck!
If you’d like to learn more about how to make telephone interviews a success, click here.