Preparing for a Video Interview
Virtual interviews are a common part of the interviewing process and their popularity has only increased since the start of the Pandemic. There are certain things you should know to put your best foot forward during the video interview that will increase your odds of landing the job. If you are invited to a video interview, it is not acceptable to join the meeting and keep your camera turned off, so dress appropriately and be prepared to smile. Below is everything you need to know to let your personality and professionalism show while you demonstrate your communication skills and why you’re right for the position.
Before the interview:
- Set up your recording space. Find a quiet, clean, and professional-looking area where no one else is around to record your video interview. To avoid looking like a faceless shadow, be sure to have any light facing you and not shining from behind you. You might also want to consider having two lamps surround either side of your face to really make you look good on camera. It’s also important that you position yourself so your head, neck, and shoulders can be seen. Ideally, the webcam should be at or slightly above eye level to avoid the dreaded ‘double chin’ or ‘up the nose’ appearance.
- Test your webcam and microphone. Ask a friend to help you with this if it’s been a while since you last used the program. If you know the program is okay, it’s still a good idea to log yourself into a video with no one there and make sure the video looks good and you’re positioned appropriately.
Things to avoid during video interviews:
- Skimming instructions. If it’s a new program they use, it’s always important to thoroughly read any instructions provided to you, especially if you’re about to do something that you may not be totally familiar with. If you carefully read the one-way interview instructions, you can avoid delays in completing your interview.
- Not speaking clearly or making eye contact. Don’t force a recruiter or hiring manager to turn up the volume or strain their ears to hear your answers to their interview questions. Speak clearly and make good eye contact, exactly as though you were in an in-person meeting.
- Getting too comfortable. A great thing about one-way interviews is that they’re convenient for both employers and job seekers. You can complete your one-way from anywhere via your mobile phone or from the comfort of your own home using a computer and webcam. However, you should still be professional and treat the one-way interview as if it were a traditional in-office interview. Be aware of your posture, smile frequently, and demonstrate you take the interview seriously.
- Being unprepared. Your preparation for a one-way interview should be no different from how you prepare for an in-person interview. Rehearse your responses to the interview questions so you can sound natural and sincere when you’re ready to record.
Dressing for your video interview:
- Pick an outfit you’ll feel good in to maintain the state-of-mind needed for conducting a successful interview. You’ll most likely be seated the whole time so dress for what will be visible in the video. No need to wear a suit for this stage unless you desire to do so.
- Too much white will appear brighter on camera and may overpower your face, potentially making eye contact difficult. Instead, choose darker colors like navy and avoid patterns – solid is the way to go!
- Remember to touch up your hair and any make-up.
During and after the interview:
- Ask your recruiter to share the names and titles of anyone who will be on the video meeting. Look up their profile on LinkedIn or elsewhere to determine how they fit into the company and see if you have anything in common.
- Keep your resume on hand to glance at for dates or accomplishments.
- Make sure you’ve done an appropriate amount of research on the company so it’s clear you are highly interested and well prepared.
- Prepare questions ahead of time that you can ask as the time is right. Don’t bring up compensation, but you can answer questions about it if asked.
- Let the interviewer lead the conversation, don’t take over and start volunteering information that wasn’t specifically asked. Answer the questions you are asked. If you’re ever unsure whether you answered a question appropriately, ask them directly, “did I answer what you were asking?”.
- After the interview, ask them for the next step.
- Type up a “thank you” email immediately following the interview and ask your recruiter to forward it on your behalf.
- Call your recruiter and debrief them directly after the interview.
Have you ever had a video interview that was a disaster? What happened and were you able to salvage the situation?