7 Tips for Acing Your Video Interview

Video interviews took a huge upswing during the pandemic for obvious reasons, and even now they continue to be a common choice for employers seeking new talent. Many companies have realized they are the most efficient way to meet with prospective hires, especially for the first interview.

For some people, video interviews can be anxiety-inducing, while others welcome the opportunity to connect with potential employers from the comfort of their own homes. While you should prepare for your interview in much the same way as you normally would, there are some extra steps to take to ensure you will make the best impression.

Consider these 7 tips for acing your video interview.

1. Don’t underestimate the formality of a video interview. Take a video interview as seriously as you would a face-to-face interview. You may not be going into the office, but this is still your one and only chance to make a great first impression. Dress as if you were interviewing in person – clean, professional business attire. Be prepared by researching the company history and culture ahead of time, reviewing the job advertisement or description if you have one, and preparing some questions specific to the role and the company to ask at the end of the interview.

2. Pick the best location. Choose where you want to be interviewed and set it up in advance. A quiet, private location in your house where you have a reliable internet connection is a must. Check the lighting where you will be sitting and if needed bring in a small lamp or two to position either behind or beside your device. Place your device in the location you have chosen and look at what is in the webcam’s view. Check the background for distracting items. An uncluttered, simple background is best. Adjust the camera angle so that it is slightly above your eye level to optimize your presence on screen. When seated, be sure you are centered on the screen and not too close or too far away.

3. Test the technology. Make sure that the camera and microphone on the device you will be using are both working. If you know what app you will be using for your interview, do a test run ahead of time with a friend. When doing the test, ask your friend for feedback on your lighting, camera angle, eye contact and posture during your conversation.

4. Eliminate distractions. Choose a space where you can be separate from others in your household, ideally with a door you can close. Close the door for your interview (and even better – lock it if you can!) so that your children, your pets, or any forgetful adults in your house can’t disrupt you. During the time of your interview, ask others who live with you to minimize noise and their internet usage (especially if wifi connectivity can be an issue in your household).

5. Set up your space before your interview. Charge your device fully and plug it in if possible. Put your phone on silent mode and close all other open browsers and applications on your computer. Have a pen and paper nearby for notes as well as a copy of your résumé. Remember that the person interviewing you can only see what is in the view of your camera. Know what is in view and what isn’t and consider using the space out of view for a few sticky notes with important things you don’t want to forget or inspirational messages! Be sure to log into the meeting 5 minutes early.

6. Be aware of body language during your interview. Eye contact in a video interview is different than when you are in-person. To make direct eye contact on video you need to look at your webcam instead of at the person on the screen. To help make this appear as natural as possible, reposition the image on your screen of the person you are speaking to as close to your webcam as possible. During the interview, speak naturally and make eye contact by looking at the web cam when you are speaking and at the screen when you are listening. Be aware of your posture. Sit up straight and put your feet on the floor. Try to relax and use gestures as you normally would when speaking.

7. Show your interest. Conveying enthusiasm when not in person can be difficult, so at the end of the interview be sure to tell the interviewer how interested you are in the job. Reiterate why you would be a good fit for the role and ask for the next step in the process. Tell the interviewer that you hope to receive an offer or another interview depending on the situation. Close your interview by looking into your webcam, smiling, and thanking the interviewer for their time.

While video interviews pose some unique challenges, they have become key to current recruitment efforts and will continue to be used while we continue social distancing and even beyond the pandemic. Being prepared, testing your technology ahead of time and eliminating distractions during your interview will help you ace even the most difficult of video interviews and make a great first impression!

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