How to Master the Video Interview

With the increasing prevalence of video chatting, video interviews are becoming more common. For employers who can’t meet face-to-face, they’re great as a more personal option than a phone interview. They allow the job seeker and the hiring manager to see one another, which can help them better understand the other’s reactions and emotions. Indeed, the technology has come so far, these sessions can seem like a more convenient version of an in-person interview. But be careful getting too comfortable. The experience is really quite different from any other, and can provide its own unique challenges. So here are some tips to prepare you for those.

Choose an Appropriate Location

Think about where you’re going to do your interview in advance. Since you aren’t in an office, you need to be particularly careful about what your interviewer sees behind you. What you don’t want in your picture is anything that the person will look at and wonder about. You don’t want them thinking “Are those dirty socks on that chair?” or “What’s that a picture of?” Any time spent thinking about that is time spent not thinking about what you’re saying.

Consider the sound as well. Will you be able to hear one another? Will there be any distracting sounds? Is there an echo? Will your friend’s band be practicing in the next room? Oh, and if the space isn’t a private one, makes sure your friends know not to disturb you. You don’t want your buddy Kurt bursting in to announce that “It’s gravity bong time,” because that could seriously be detrimental to your cause.

Do a Test Run

There’s nothing worse or more embarrassing than scrambling at the last minute because you’re having problems with your tech. Call your mom, call a friend, just make sure that you’re all set to make the call on the day of the interview. You might also want to review who’s supposed to call whom, and make sure that you know what that will entail.

And while you’re doing your test run, why not hit record? Play it back and see how you look and sound, and make any necessary tweaks. Does your background look the way you expected? How’s your volume? Have you framed your shot in an appealing way? And for the record, the appealing way is straight on. No shooting from your lap straight up your nose and no Hitchcockian crane shots from above. Just have the camera directly at your eye level. I know watching yourself interview can be kind of cringe-worthy, but it lets you see for yourself how you look to others, and it really is the best way to improve.

Make Eye Contact

Another thing to prepare for is eye contact. Good eye contact in a standard interview can be tough, but in a video it’s even harder because it feels so awkward. To maintain eye contact, you need to look into the camera the whole time, and not the person’s eyes. If you’re looking at their image on the screen, you’re actually looking down the whole time. So even if you’re looking directly at them, it’s not going to look like that to them.

Dress Appropriately

Dress appropriately, just as if you were going into the office. Not only will you look the part to your interviewer, but you’ll get yourself into the interviewing mindset, which can be difficult when you’re in the comfort of your own home and wearing your pajama pants. This is an interview, and it’s probably your first with the company. So make sure that the impression you’re making is the best.

Follow these tips, and you’ll have the interviewer’s full attention for all the right reasons. And the, you’re golden! As long as, well, you also say the right things.

Comments

  1. BY Syed Shafiq Aziz says:

    Great research about video interview. The tips discussed above are of great importance.

  2. BY J says:

    In reference to maintaining eye contact during a video interview, what would you suggest or recommend to an interviewee with a disability, such as a floating and/or lazy eye, that may be distracting or sending a mixed message to an interviewer?

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      Hi J -

      In that case, I’d handle it as much like an in-person interview as you can. Try to focus on the camera, lean in a bit to show interest and attention. There are some things you just can’t control, and if you try to overcompensate you may look nervous or more “artificial,” for lack of a better word, than you want to. So be relaxed and focus on having a good conversation.

      Best,

      Mark

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