More and more organizations every day are adopting the use of video interviews. While many organizations were already beginning to use video interviews before the pandemic, they are becoming exponentially more common with the need to practice social distancing. They are here to stay.
That said, they are still new enough that many of us have never experienced a video interview before. It is tough to try using a new medium for interviews that you aren’t familiar with. The interview alone makes you nervous enough, but adding a new wrinkle to the process makes you worry even more about presenting yourself well!
I’ve helped people prepare for video interviews, and here are 7 tips to keep in mind for your next video interview.
Look the interviewer in the eye
This one is hard to do because how do you know how eye contact comes across on the other screen? A great rule of thumb is to look straight into the camera when speaking. This will produce the same effect as looking your interviewer in the eye and build trust.
Your background needs to be professional
Make sure that what’s behind you is professional. It doesn’t need to be super elaborate, even a plain wall will do. Make sure there aren’t any wall hangings that may contain offensive language or content. As well, make sure there isn’t a mess or clutter behind you. While virtual backgrounds are fun, they are a giant distraction to someone who is just meeting you, especially when the area around the edge of you keeps blurring. Your background includes any noise that may be around you. Try to be in a quiet area if possible.
Make sure there will be no technical issues!
Is the device you’ll be using fully charged before the interview? Even if it is charged, make sure you are also plugged in just in case. Try logging in to the app that you’ll be using (Teams, Zoom, etc) a day or two before the interview to make sure it works with your microphone and speakers.
Pause after speaking
Sometimes there is a delay when connected over the internet. After each question or statement from your interviewer, pause for a couple of seconds before responding in case there is a delay in transmission. This will help ensure that the interviewer is fully finished and you don’t accidentally walk over them.
Don’t Hang Up Too Soon!
Sometimes when you are done with a video call, you press the ‘End Meeting’ or ‘Leave Meeting’ button quickly after ending the conversation. On the other end, this might appear abrupt. The abruptness of your departure might send the impression that you couldn’t wait to leave, or you had somewhere else you wanted to be.
A simple trick to stay in the moment is to park your mouse in the complete opposite end of the screen from where the ‘End Meeting’ or ‘Leave Meeting’ button is. Only begin to move it to the button after the conversation has ended. It will take an extra second, but will also message that you were present for the conversation.
Dress as if you were in person
Dress for the job you are interviewing for. While a video interview can seem less formal, interviewing from home is not an invitation to wear sweatpants and your weekend chore shirt. If you’d wear a shirt and tie to the in-person interview, best to wear it to the video interview too.
Cover your face on screen!
On video interviews or conferences, it is typical to be able to see yourself in one corner or side of the screen. It can become very distracting to see this in your peripheral vision because you can’t help but find yourself constantly looking at it. It isn’t because you’re vain, it’s because you want to make sure you are presenting yourself well to the interviewer. However, this tendency prevents you from following tip #2, looking your interviewer in the eye! Placing a post-it note over your picture on the screen will help you avoid this temptation.
Video interviews are new territory for lots of people, and it can be tough to be confident when faced with a new medium like this. But, the principles in these tips are the same as those used to be effective in an in-person interview, just a different application.
I’ve helped people get jobs where video interviews were required. They got the job because not only were they ready for the video medium of interviewing, but because they had a clear strategy to effectively communicate their career experience.
I hope these 7 tips for your next video interview were helpful to you.
If I can help you, let me know!