You’re undoubtedly already aware with the fundamentals of preparing for a video interview: Make sure your mic is on, choose a spot that is peaceful and well-kept, and put on some jeans. Take your digital interviewing abilities to the next level though, as more and more businesses are employing Google Hangout, Zoom, or Skype interviews and more and more job seekers are familiar with the fundamentals.
According to Muse career coach Adrean Turner, who also runs the career podcast Coach Adrean’s FIT Tips and has guided hundreds of job seekers through video interviews, the key to video interviews is to “be confident and show them your actual self.” Although your objectives are the same as in a conventional interview, there are some distinctions in how you accomplish them. As a result, you want to make sure that your interviewer can pay attention to your greatest traits and not just if they can hear you.
These pointers will assist you in overcoming the particular difficulties presented by video interviews so you may present your best self. (Need assistance with navigating a scripted digital interview?
1. Get ready as if you were going to an in-person interview.
It doesn’t make your interview any less legitimate just because it’s taking place via Skype (or another platform). You still need to get ready the same way you would if you were going into the workplace, aside from making travel arrangements for the interview. This include doing background study on the organisation and the position, getting ready for typical interview questions, and thinking up questions to pose to the interviewer. Be prepared to demonstrate why you are the person your interviewer is seeking for—someone they can imagine themselves working with, someone who is enthusiastic and informed about the position they are applying for.
2. Dress Effortlessly
You should dress just as formally for a video interview as you would for an in-person one at the same employer. (And sure, that refers to top to bottom.) Although it makes sense to want to be less formal given that you are at home, doing so might provide the wrong information about your level of enthusiasm in the position. Tucker explains, “It doesn’t harm to get dressed for an hour, but not getting dressed may.”
Additionally, you want to guarantee that your attire appears excellent on video. Put it on in front of the interview platform and test it out. For instance, if your full shirt is seen on the video, a little lower-cut top that could look OK in person might appear odd.
Test Your Technology
By practising your setup beforehand using the same platform, internet connection, and gear you’ll use during your interview, you can minimise technical issues. To ensure that you can hear, be heard, and be seen during a video chat, invite a friend. Spend some time learning the program’s fundamentals and making sure you understand how to mute and unmute your microphone, in particular.
4. Prepare for the Shot
With an in-person interview, the firm and your interviewer control the actual environment, but not so for a video interview. Make sure your physical shot makes a favourable impression.
Set up in a peaceful location in front of the most neutral backdrop you can find, such as a blank wall or a space devoid of distracting clutter or décor. Ensure that you have good lighting—natural light is preferred—and that the source of that lighting is behind your computer or phone, not behind you. In addition, hold your phone upright rather than holding it in your hand if you must use a phone. If you have trouble finding a room in your house with sufficient natural lighting, you might want to think about spending money on a selfie ring light that fits around the camera of your laptop or phone.
5. Don’t sit too close or far apart
You shouldn’t sit too far away from your computer, just as you wouldn’t sit eight feet or three inches from an interviewer in a conference room. You should be careful to avoid seeming either too little or too large when positioning your chair. Make sure there is some room on the screen above your head and that your shoulders and upper chest are visible to ensure that you are proportionate.
6. Get Ready for the Best Eye Contact
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who appeared to be staring behind you or otherwise disengaging? Did you experience any chemistry with that person? Most likely not. Therefore, even if direct eye contact is impossible during a video interview, you should try to go as near as you can. Usually, looking at someone’s face is enough to convey your interest in and listening to what they have to say.
In order to achieve this, be certain that you have selected a comfortable distance that enables you to gaze straight ahead rather than down at the camera. Additionally, position the window where your interviewer will display on the same monitor as your camera as closely as you can—centering is ideal. In this manner, you are staring at the camera while talking to them, as you would naturally do.
7. Examine any glare
Check to see whether anything in your photo is reflecting or emitting a glare that can be distracting to your interviewer before you decide on your attire and location. The most common offenders are often watches, jewellery, and spectacles, and the solution may be as simple as taking away one piece.
Naturally, not everyone is able to remove their spectacles before an interview. To minimise the glare as much as you can, try some of these techniques:
Instead of aiming your lamp at yourself, move it or direct it at the wall behind your desk.
Play around with changing or removing your lampshade.
Turn your PC and yourself on.
Adjust the height of your laptop’s display or the stand for your phone.
Hint: If you’re utilising natural light, you should do this shortly before (or around the same time of day as) your interview.
8. Hone Your Video Interview Techniques Beforehand
A discussion may seem a little strange at first if you’re not used to video chat, especially if you can see yourself as well. Turner advises conducting a practise video interview with a buddy or career coach to identify any potential red flags. Your natural hand motions may be too low to be visible, or you may have a propensity to glance away from the camera. Turner further suggests documenting your practise. You’ll be able to see if you’re making eye contact, fidgeting with papers, or having poor posture when you play it again, she claims. After that, “adjustments suitably” can be made.
Eloise Eonnet, a career coach at Muse who specialises in communication, public speaking, and presentation skills, emphasises the importance of answering interview questions in practise the same way you would in a real one, particularly when it comes to discussing important aspects of your background. Eonnet advises against saying the names and numbers aloud for the first time during the interview since you don’t want to become flustered and make a mistake.
9. Pay Attention to Your Voice, As Well
In a video interview, most people are more concerned with how they appear than with how they speak, according to Turner. Ask the person you are practising with whether any of these factors make it more difficult for them to hear or understand you. As you practise, pay attention to how quickly you talk, how you pause, and the tone and pitch of your voice.
For the benefit of any interviewer with a poor connection, make sure you talk clearly and slowly while remaining casual. You shouldn’t sound like a computer just because your interview is taking place on one! Since a video interview relies less on body language for communication, you also want your speech to convey your feelings about what you’re saying. When talking about the topics you’re interested about, for instance, make sure you seem enthusiastic.
10. Make a few notes, but don’t refer to them too much.
It could be tempting to have a lot of information in front of you for a video interview, but keep in mind that the interviewer won’t be able to see everything on your desk (or on your computer screen). But take caution. Turner advises keeping only a few brief notes in front of you and only sometimes looking at them. Note important data and other brief passages, not whole solutions. You shouldn’t sound like you are simply reading, she advises.
Eonnet, meantime, advises against keeping any kind of notes in front of you. According to Eonnet, “the finest interviews are discussions, and notes might end up being a crutch.” A big part of why someone chooses to hire you is because they think you connected with them during the interview, which may be challenging to achieve if you’re preoccupied.
Make sure you have them out throughout your interview practise if you want to have a few brief notes with you. The more you read them over, the less often you’ll need to refer to them in the future. This will not only show you if you can utilise them without breaking the flow of the discussion.
11. Minimize Interruptions, But Deal with Them Calmly If They Occur
Make every effort to reduce the likelihood of interruptions. Set up in a room where you can lock the door, if possible, and let everyone with whom you share a space know not to bother you while you are doing your interview (and give yourself a cushion on either side.) The day before, check your area for any unforeseen distractions. For instance, you don’t want to be surprised by an ongoing building project. Additionally, make sure to pause any computer notifications and turn off or mute any other electronic devices, including your phone, that can produce noise.
However, if there’s a good likelihood that you’ll be cut off by anything beyond your control, expressing it right up might help your interviewer feel more at ease and will demonstrate that you’re prepared. It might also aid in calming your anxiety over the circumstance. You can let the interviewer know, for instance, if you have a dog in the adjacent room that might start barking.
“Erasing the fact that you are in your house is not the point. Being as professional as you can under the circumstances is important, according to Eonnet.
12. Be a few minutes early to “show up”
You wouldn’t arrive to the location of an interview at 3 PM at 3 PM or even at 2:59 PM, so you shouldn’t do so for a video interview as well. Close any auxiliary windows and tabs to prepare your PC. Additionally, if you want to be able to share a screen during your interview to display a portfolio or anything similar, make sure it is prepared and open in a window that is minimised but still simple to access.
A few minutes before your scheduled video interview, launch the application. A lot of the popular video interview tools will give you the opportunity to evaluate your shot before you fully start the meeting. Then, Turner adds, “relax.” Do some breathing exercises and arrive fully prepared “a few minutes early.” In this manner, “you’re already ready to go” when you click to join the call and the interview begins.
13. Establish Your Handshake “Digitally”
When you have a face-to-face interview, there is a moment when the interview has begun yet hasn’t yet begun. You and your interviewer really greet, shake hands, enter the room, and take seats. There is still time to settle in even if you are not chit-chatting. This isn’t always the case with video interviews, therefore Eonnet advises concentrating even more on forging a first bond.
She suggests trying a “digital handshake.” To establish a connection with the camera after saying hello, “look directly at the camera, make a slight head nod as if to say ‘yeah!,’ and add a grin, which transmits warmth and openness.”
Recognize the Differences
It’s OK to clarify right away that a video interview differs from an in-person interview. According to Eonnet, making individuals feel comfortable by acknowledging that things are different imitates those first few meetings. Additionally, don’t be hesitant to speak up if something feels strange, such as if you can’t clearly hear or see your interviewer. It will just show that you are prepared to speak out and be honest about problems.
15. Keep a straight posture
You should naturally feel a little more at ease since you are at home. Avoid letting this cause you to slouch in your chair. You come out as being less interested. Eonnet advises pulling your chair away from the table, sitting on the edge of it, putting your feet on the floor, and placing your hands on the table. This will enable you to move around without obstructing the camera.
Additionally, sitting up straight naturally boosts your energy and allows you to express your enthusiasm for the position. If you find it easier to maintain your energy by standing, Eonnet advises doing so—but not if you often pace or vary positions.
16. Display Your Engagement by Showing Your Face
In each interaction, nonverbal cues are crucial. However, many of the ways we typically convey nonverbal cues—such as eye contact, body language, and subtle murmurs of agreement—are restricted while doing a video interview. Therefore, we must rely more on what is still available, which is facial expressions.
You can typically tell whether someone is listening carefully to you in a room by their face even if it isn’t moving much (and you’ll never worry that the person in the room with you has frozen and can no longer hear or see you). Turner, however, asserts that “anyone may seem like a statue over video interview.” Your interviewer shouldn’t have to question whether you’re still connected because you’re being so static.
Short vocalisations aren’t the best solution in this case since, according to Eonnet, just one mic may be utilised simultaneously on several popular video interview sites. Therefore, while two individuals can converse at the same time in the same space or on the phone, during a video call, your “yeah, without a doubt!” may suddenly silence the other person’s microphone, disrupting the flow of the conversation and perhaps leading you to miss important details.
When you would normally talk, nod or grin instead of saying “mm-hm” or “yes.” In this manner, you may avoid accidently overpowering the interviewer’s microphone while still giving them the response they require.
Let the other person finish their sentence.
This is sound advice for life in general, but on video chat, responding too fast will silence the other person’s mic and completely cut them off, making you appear impolite even if you weren’t trying to be. Additionally, due to internet slowness, it’s not always clear if someone is finished speaking or merely pausing. Therefore, wait until you believe your interviewer has finished before responding. If you struggle with this, develop the practise of shutting off your microphone while the other person is speaking; this will require you to allow them a little more time to finish their sentence.
18. Warning When You Have Finished Your Answers
In the same spirit, signalling the conclusion of your answer is useful for the other person, especially if it is a lengthy one. You may accomplish this by giving a visual indication, such as a nod, or you might ensure that your response is forcefully concluded or ask the interviewer a question. According to Eonnet, a prolonged pause during which your interviewer tries to guess if you’re finished might be awkward via video, although in person, it’s typically more obvious when the other person has completed speaking.
19. Describe any extended pauses
It might not always be obvious to your interviewer what you’re doing if no one is speaking due to the different constraints of video conversations. If you need to take a moment to gather some information for them, take a few notes, or even just think through a response, let them know. This reassures them that there have been no technical difficulties while also demonstrating that you are mindful of their experience.
20. Approach the video interview as if it were a conversation.
The only way you’ll be able to establish a connection is by treating your video interview like a conversation, which is crucial for every interview. Building rapport during your interview is crucial since you won’t have opportunity to do so before or after the interview. “Show greater affability. Be genuine. Turner advises that you should maintain your professionalism while still speaking as though you were speaking to a close friend.
As Eonnet advises, make sure your video conversation is “not simply question, answer, question, answer.” If you have more comments after your interviewer responds to your answers, feel free to do so. And rather of waiting until the finish, ask your own questions periodically during the talk. Instead than merely reading a list of questions to you during the interview, you want the interviewer to think of you as someone they could chat to regularly.
The objective of a video interview and an in-person interview for job candidates is the same: to establish your suitability for the position. According to Eonnet, “We don’t want to lose sight of the essence of what has to be done.” In the end, you want to concentrate on the visual portion of a video interview as little as possible. “The relationship you can establish with an interviewer is what matters.”