16 tips for a successful video job interview
Advancements in technology have made it possible for companies to be much more efficient in their hiring processes. Utilizing video interviews saves time and money and makes it easier for hiring managers to quickly handle first-round interviews.
There are typically two types of video interviews: a “live” interview where you interact with your interviewer in real time; and the second type where you respond to pre-recorded prompts and record your answers for later review by the hiring manager.
So how do you make sure you are prepared for a video interview? The more you know about how to make the video process work for you, the more of an advantage you’ll have. Here are some tips to ensure you have a successful video interview:
1. First of all, nearly everyone is nervous. Many people are uncomfortable being photographed or recorded and are distracted by their own image showing on the screen during a live, video interview. The key here is to plan ahead of time what you want to say, look into the camera and avoid “watching yourself” on screen. It takes some practice, but you can do it. Be confident.
2. Be sure to send your resume, application and any other paperwork to the interviewer prior to the video session in case they need to refer to it or have any questions. Have a copy on-hand so you can refer to it easily during the interview if needed.
3. If you’re doing the interview from home on your own equipment, be sure everything is tidy and neat at your desk and everything is set up correctly.
4. Lighting should be sufficient to provide good picture quality. Don’t record in front of a window or outside where you may have the sun in your eyes.
5. You should ensure you have a reliable internet connection so there won’t be any delays or interruptions in the feed.
6. Your webcam view is best when your camera is at eye level and stable, in a position where your entire face can be seen without being too close.
7. Pay attention to the backdrop behind you – a blank wall works well… remove any photos, posters or objects that may be distracting.
8. Find a place that is quiet and where you won’t have any background noise from neighbors, dogs, children, loud traffic, etc. Microphones are sensitive and pick up all sorts of background noise.
9. Test out your video program so you’re comfortable with its features and know how to use it. Do a practice run (or two) to be sure you know how to adjust the volume, the optimal distance from the camera, how you’ll appear on the recruiter’s screen and what to do if a problem occurs.
10. If you are recording your interview at someone’s office, make sure you know how to use the equipment and ask for a quick overview (even if you think you know). Arrive early so you can get settled and feel calm and ready to go.
11. In a live interview, feel free to ask the interviewer if they can see you and hear you and make any adjustments before you begin.
12. Dress for the interview as if you were attending in person. Wear solid colors (not white) and stay away from busy prints or high contrast colors.
13. Remember to make eye contact – this is important. You need to look at the camera, not at the person on the screen or at yourself. Practice pretending that you are speaking to someone as you look directly into the camera. Of course, you need to be natural about it – don’t stare. Just look away from time to time and make eye contact when you’re answering questions.
14. Sit up straight and try not to gesture too much. There can be a lag in the transmission and you may create a blurry image if you are moving your arms/hands around a lot. Place your hands quietly on the desk and lean slightly forward toward the camera.
15. Remember to smile! It’s important to convey warmth and confidence – enjoy the experience and showcase your personality. Hospitality is a people business. Show them why you’d be a great addition to their team.
16. Keep in mind that even a “live” video interview can be recorded to be shared later with a department manager or team leader for review and rating, so be sure you present a professional, competent image and showcase your skills and personality.
For more information: Pamela Skillings is one of the country’s top interview coaches and an adjunct professor at NYU. She has written The Ultimate Guide to Acing Video Interviews in which she explains how to properly prepare and stage every facet of the video interview for the best possible results. “With a little bit of knowledge, you can control how your present yourself and put your best foot forward.”