The Video Interview

When you expand your job search and consider opportunities outside a commutable distance, you could get invited for a video interview. The video interview (or Skype interview) offers the convenience of the phone interview plus the bonus of employers being able to see you face-to-face no matter where you are located. You’ll want to prepare just as you would for an in-person interview, but there are additional important items to consider, such as:

  • Your technology
  • Your interviewing space (location)
  • Your online presence

Technology

  • Internet Connection: Prior to your scheduled interview, check that your technology is working properly and that your internet connection is stable. If you are having connection problems, find another location with better Internet connections for you to hold your call. Dropped calls are understandable, but they distract from the interview and reflect poorly on your ability to plan ahead. 
  • Skype: If using Skype or other video conferencing software, ensure you are running the latest version so you’re getting the best performance. Practice using the technology with a friend several times before the actual interview. 
  • Sound: Do not rely on the built-in microphone on your computer. This could make your voice difficult to understand. Invest in a good quality headset, and test it for clarity. 
  • Camera: The height of your monitor should be placed such that the camera is even with your eye level and not staring down at you or up at you. Your goal is to make eye contact with the interviewer, and that is achieved by you looking and talking directly into the camera and not looking at yourself on the screen. This may feel unnatural, so try taping a picture of a familiar face or something that makes you smile or a small mirror next to the camera to give you something to focus your eyes on. 

Space

  • Setting: Find an appropriate space to conduct the interview and ensure that it represents you in a professional, appropriate, and well organized manner. Try to have color behind you versus a sterile white wall.  Keep in mind that the employer will be inferring everything about your surroundings, so think about the impression that you want to make. 
  • Lighting: Check your lighting to see how you look on the screen. Employers may be forgiving because this is a video interview, but your goal is to make a positive first impression.  Do you look washed out or is your face being shadowed? Take the time to get the lighting correct before the actual interview.  Consider the time of day and the amount of natural light that may be available. Do you need to secure additional lighting prior to the interview? 
  • Noise: Be aware of the noise level or potential for distractions. You should be alone in your interviewing space. There should be no background noise, no pets in the room or making noise in the background, no TV, radio, or cell phones turned on. 

Online Presence

  • Smile: Don’t just be a talking head on the screen staring blankly ahead. Smile, have good posture, sit up straight, use hand gestures, nod to show you are paying attention, laugh if appropriate. Treat the video interview like a face-to-face interview and you will come across more interesting.
  • Professional dress: This is a real interview and your dress should reflect that and not just from the waist up. Dress to impress from head to toe. For the camera, it is best to wear a dark color with a hint of bright color. For example, a bright colored shirt under a dark jacket or sweater or a tie with a hint of color against a darker shirt. A simple contrast will stand out nicely.
  • Be patient: Slow yourself down and be aware of not talking over people during the interview. It can be easy to get excited or nervous and start talking without letting the person on the other end of the monitor finish speaking. Try giving yourself a couple of seconds to pause before speaking.
  • Practice, practice, practice: All other interviewing tips still apply.

Additional Resources

next Next: Practice with Big Interview

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