When you expand your job search and consider opportunities outside a commutable distance, you may be asked to participate in a video interview. The video interview (which often takes place via online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype) offers the convenience of a phone interview plus the bonus of employers being able to see you face-to-face no matter where you’re 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
- Internet connection: Prior to your scheduled interview, check to ensure that your technology is working properly and that your internet connection is stable. If you’re having connection problems, find another location with better Internet connectivity to have your call. Dropped calls are understandable, but they distract from the interview and reflect poorly on your ability to plan ahead.
- Zoom or Skype: If using Zoom, Skype or other video conferencing software, ensure that you’re running the latest version so you’ll get the best performance. Practice using the technology with a friend several times before the actual interview.
- Camera: Adjust the height of your monitor so that the camera is even with your eye level rather than above or below it. Your goal is to make eye contact with the interviewer, and that is achieved by you looking and talking directly into the camera (not at yourself on the screen). This may feel unnatural, so try taping a picture of a familiar face, something that makes you smile, or a small mirror next to the camera to give you something to focus your eyes on.
- 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 rather than a sterile white wall. Keep in mind that potential employers may make assumptions about you based on your surroundings, so think about the impression 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 does your lighting cause shadows on your face? 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. Check to make sure there will be no background noise, no pets in the room (or making noise in the background), and no TV, radio, or cell phones turned on.
- 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’ll come across as the interested, engaged, and confident application you are.
- 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’s 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 make sure not to talk 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. To avoid this, try giving yourself a couple of seconds to pause before speaking.
- Practice, practice, practice: All other interviewing tips still apply.