If you’ve never been asked to participate in a video interview for a job opening, you will be soon. That’s because video interviews save time and money for both a business and its job candidates.
Even if you’re a tech-savvy person, you should prepare as thoroughly for online job interviews as you would in-person meetings. Conversely, if you have years of traditional interviewing experience under your belt, don’t get too anxious about video interviews or view them as scary. Yes, there are distinct nuances to understand but with some practice and the right mindset you can put yourself in a position to shine. Here are 8 video interviewing tips that will help you make it to the next round:
1. Test your technology
A few days before the interview, do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working correctly. Download any apps or plugins you’ll need. Whether you’re using Skype for Business or another video interview platform, make sure you have a user name that’s professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle. Check that your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Do a trial run with a friend or family member, if possible, so you have ample time to adjust if any of your equipment or software is malfunctioning.
2. Charge it up
If you’re using a laptop or tablet, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the interview. And pick a spot that has strong Wi-Fi. If you’re using a tablet, find a way to keep it stationary. Otherwise, the screen may appear shaky if you’re holding the device. Avoid using a smartphone for video interviews if possible.
3. Dress for success
Dress as you would for an in-person interview from head to toe. Doing so will make you feel more confident. Don’t try the old newscaster trick of wearing a blazer with sweatpants assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up. Also, avoid wearing bright, flashy colors and choose something that looks neatly pressed while you’re sitting down. Wear your interview outfit during your trial run so you can get feedback from your friend or family member about how it looks on screen.
4. Set the stage for a distraction-free video interview
Choose a location that’s free from the distractions of children, roommates or pets. Hang a sign on the door asking mail carriers and package deliverers not to ring the doorbell. Avoid public places such as coffee shops or courtyards which can suddenly become loud. Likewise, steer clear of libraries where you could be interrupted and asked to quiet down.
Make sure the background is free from clutter and embarrassing items like laundry piles. Set up lighting that’s bright but not glaring, illuminating your face from the front. Natural light is best.
Turn off email, text and social media alerts, software updates and other notifications that may show up on the screen during the interview. Turn off programs that might interfere with the webcam, and close browser tabs.
5. Be a well-prepared early bird
Log in five or 10 minutes early so you can be calm and centered when the video interview begins. Print out your resume and have it nearby, along with the job description and any speaking points you want to hit or notes you’ve taken about the company or position. You won’t want to read from the pages, but having them handy can take away some stress.
Expect to field some common interview questions, including:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What’s your expected salary?
6. Maintain good eye contact and body language
It’s easier for your eyes to wander when the person you’re talking to isn’t in the room. Maintain “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen or at your own photo. Make sure your face is centered and try not to move around. Keep good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.
7. Project and pause
Project your voice. Check your volume controls and speak clearly so the microphone picks up your voice and the interviewer doesn’t have to strain to hear you. And remember that digital connections can sometimes be delayed. To avoid talking over the interviewer or having your first few words cut out, let the interviewer finish the question and then pause for a few seconds before delivering your answer.
8. Close the video interview by sharing your appreciation
Just as you would with an in-person interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity. And follow up with a post-interview thank-you note within 24 hours. In your note, briefly reinforce why you’re interested in the job and why you’d be a great match for the role and company. Think about adding something that you and the employer discussed while getting to know each other that will make the thank-you message more personal.
Bottom line: If you take the time to prepare your answers and follow these video interview tips, you’ll be more likely to make a strong impression and hopefully score the job — or at least another interview.