Video interviews are common nowadays because they’re more efficient in terms of time and money - and they expedite the hiring process. While a video interview may not require you to physically meet and shake hands with your potential employer, it does require the same level of respect and preparation as an in-person interview. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for this all-important virtual experience.
- Make sure that your technology is working and set the scene. A few days prior, do a dry run with a friend or family member via the platform that you will be expected to use, e.g. Skype, Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc. Practice looking at the video camera and not the screen. Your body language often conveys more than your words, so keep your body language open. Ask your mock interviewer to assess the sound and lighting quality, how your body is framed in the screen, and whether or not your background is distraction-free. You want your interviewer to focus on just you, not the picturesque tree blooming outside of the window behind you or the family photo montage gracing the wall. Clear clutter from your desk and the surrounding area. The dry run will help you identify any technology issues and provide you with time to resolve them. Make sure that you are in an area that has a clear, strong internet signal far away from the blackout spot in which you often lose your connection. An hour before the real interview, check your technology and lighting once more (the latter to account for changes in natural lighting).
- Record and critique your performance. If you can, record your mock video interview so that you can review it for spoken and body language. Do you tend to look away often? Do you tend to use space-filler words such as, “um,” “uh,” “yeah,” and “like”? Assess how often you use filler words. Understand why you’re using filler words and that you’re less likely to use them when you’re well-rested and -prepared. Are your tone and volume of voice clear and well-paced, or are you so nervous that you’re speaking really fast and basically mumbling? Pace yourself and consider embracing the pause.
- Still dress to impress. Dress yourself as you would for an in-person interview. Wear your best, pressed business attire (appropriate for the job); be well-groomed; and practice your smile in the mirror a few times. Keep makeup natural-looking and jewelry to a minimum (shiny jewelry can reflect in the video camera, creating a glare). These steps can help to boost your confidence and feeling that you’re just across the table—not the screen—from your interviewers. Show up for yourself and your interviewers. Knowing that you look your best may help you feel your best.
- After the interview, cut the cord. Be sure to “log off” and close out the video application and to close your webcam. There is no need to have your potential employer unintentionally watch a play-by-play of your post-interview activities.
- Write your thank you note. Post-interview etiquette rules apply equally to in-person and video interviews. Within 24 hours, be sure to email the hiring manager, the recruiter, and/or whomever arranged your interview to thank them for their time and consideration.
What other steps can you take to prepare for your video interview? We’d love to hear your ideas.