When interviewing virtually, find a quiet space with little distractions. Notify any people in your home when and where you’ll be interviewing so they know not to bother you.
Make sure your light source comes from behind your computer and your background is not distracting.
Log in 15-20 minutes before your interview to ensure your audio and video are functioning properly.
Be confident, smile, make eye contact and actively listen to your interviewer throughout.
Video job interviews are an increasingly common part of the hiring process. These interviews can take several forms. If you have one coming up, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all the variables so you can be prepared. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the types of video interviews, what you should wear, and helpful tips on body language and eye contact.
The Best Way to Set Up for a Video Interview (So You'll Look and Sound Like a Winning Candidate)
If you’ve looked for a new job recently, you probably noticed that video interviews are becoming more and more common. And it makes sense why. Advancing technology lets most job searchers do a Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts interview with little trouble. Plus, a video interview gives you the face-to-face aspect missing from a phone interview—without having to take time off work (or travel across the country!) to meet in person.
Follow this advice to set up for your next video interview so you’ll look and sound (and feel!) totally professional.
These tips will help you overcome the unique challenges inherent in video interviews so you can put your best foot forward.
1. Prepare Like You Would for an In-Person Interview
Just because your interview is happening over Zoom, Microsoft Meets or Google Hangouts (or some other platform), doesn’t mean it’s not a real interview. Other than preparations to travel to the interview, you still need to prepare the same way you would if you were going into the office. That means researching the company and role, preparing to answer common interview questions, and coming up with questions to ask your interviewer in return. Your interviewer is still looking for someone they can see themselves working with and who is passionate and knowledgeable about the role they’re applying to—be ready to show them why that’s you.
2. Research the format
It's vital that you know in advance what format the video interview will take, as the two main types are very different experiences.
Live - this is similar to a regular face-to-face interview. You'll speak to the interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time over a video connection using a service such as Teams or Zoom. Live videos enable employers to recreate the traditional interview format without requiring the candidate to travel to their office, meaning they can recruit from anywhere in world. Try to treat the conversation as you would an interview at the employer's offices and build a rapport with the interviewer.
Pre-recorded - this is a much less personal experience as you won't be speaking to a real person. You'll be presented with pre-recorded or even written questions on screen, and then you'll have to record your answer on video, often to a time limit. This helps employers who have lots of candidates, as they can simply watch your answers later at a time that suits them - but it can be awkward if you aren't used to recording yourself. This makes practice even more important. On the plus side, you will be able to do the interview at a time of your choosing up to a set deadline.
3. Dress appropriately
You may be at home but it's still a job interview and this is your opportunity to give a professional first impression - this means dressing appropriately. You should wear the same outfit you would have chosen for a face-to-face meeting with the employer. Think about how your clothes will look on screen and avoid busy patterns and stripes.
4. Use positive body language
It's best to avoid slouching, moving too much or touching your face. Instead employers will be looking for you to make good eye contact, smile, listen and take an interest in what they're saying. To help you do this your camera should be at eye level and you should look into it rather than at the screen.
For pre-recorded interviews, try to imagine you're speaking to a real person, maintaining your enthusiasm and positive body language. This can be harder to do when you're simply recording your answers.
If you're nervous it can be easy to rush what you're saying but remember that the employer wants to hear your answers. Speak clearly, and be careful not to interrupt as this is more easily done with the slight delay over the internet than during a face-to-face meeting.
5. Prep for Optimal Eye Contact
Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they seemed to be looking over your shoulder or away from you entirely? Did you feel like you connected with that person? Probably not. So while actual eye contact isn’t possible in a video interview, you’ll want to get as close as possible. Looking at someone’s face is usually enough to show that you’re listening and engaged with what they’re saying.
To that end, make sure you’ve found a comfortable distance that allows you to look straight ahead rather than down at the camera. And place the window where your interviewer will appear on the same monitor as your camera and move it as close to the camera as possible—centered is best. That way, when you look at them, as you naturally will during your conversation, you’re also looking at the camera.
6. Start Off With a “Digital Handshake”
When you interview in person, there’s a period where the interview has started, but it hasn’t started. You and your interviewer are physically meeting, shaking hands, walking into the room, and sitting down. Even if you’re not making small talk, there’s still some time to settle in. For a video interview, this isn’t always the case, so you need to focus on making an initial connection even more than usual.
Try a "digital handshake". After you say hello, “look right into the camera to forge a connection, do a small head nod as if to say ‘yes!,’ and add a smile, which translates warmth and openness.
7. Use Your Face to Show You’re Engaged
Nonverbal communication is important in any conversation. But when it comes to a video interview, a lot of the avenues through which we usually give nonverbal cues—eye contact, body language, and small murmurs of agreement—are cut off. So we have to lean more heavily on what we have left, namely facial expressions.
If you’re in the room with someone, you can usually tell if they’re listening to you intently even if their face is not moving much (and you’re never going to be concerned that the person in the room with you has frozen and can’t hear or see you anymore). But everybody can look like a statue over video interview. You shouldn’t be so static that your interviewer has to wonder if you’re still connected.
Short vocalizations aren’t the way to solve this problem here since on many common video interview platforms, only one mic can be used at once. So while two people can speak simultaneously in the same room or over the phone, on a video call, your “yes, definitely!” can mute the other person’s microphone momentarily, breaking up the flow of conversation and possibly causing you to miss key information.
Instead of saying “mm-hm” or “yeah,” nod or smile when you’d usually speak. That way your interviewer still gets the feedback they need without your mic accidentally overriding theirs.
We encourage you to think of your video interview as a chance to show off your skills and elaborate on your Experience. This is your chance to prove to your potential employer that you’re more than what you can fit on a sheet of paper. Here are DIGGER we believe that everyone deserves a chance to tell their story. A job brings a paycheck, but it also brings self-esteem and dignity. We believe that 24 hours is enough time to change somebody’s life. That’s why we spend each day working hard to remove barriers, make connections and create opportunities. We’re making the world a better place for millions of people, one job at a time.
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