How to Nail a Video Interview

Video interviews have been around for years. But we can all agree there’s been an increase in the volume as a result of COVID-19. And with that, has come some new learnings we wanted to share.

We’ve seen everything from a candidate who interviewed in their kitchen with a counter full of dirty dishes, to a candidate who actually lit up a cigarette during their interview (yes, a cigarette!). We’ve also heard lots of dogs barking, kids crying and loud music playing in the background (heavy metal to be exact!).

Not all of these factors can be eliminated. We know that parents have their kids home and that dogs will bark in excitement when they see someone walking by. But there are ways to eliminate some of the factors that just aren’t necessary (…like the cigarette!).

 

Here are 8 tips to help you nail your next video interview….

1.  Treat a video interview like you would an in-person interview

  • Be on time
  • Research and prepare for the interview – Google the company, review the job description, check out the company’s social pages, etc
  • Check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile before the interview
  • Have your resume handy – and all necessary documents at your fingertips
  • If you plan to show examples of your work, have the files open so you can easily do a screen share

2.  Practice makes perfect

  • Just like everything we do, practice make us better – prepare for the interview questions you expect may be asked
  • Ask a family member or friend to host a mock interview with you

3.  Think about your surroundings

  • To the best of your ability, make sure your environment is free of noise and distractions
    • Ask a family member or friend to occupy your kids
    • Have a neighbor take the dog for a walk
    • Make sure your significant other, roommate, etc. knows you are conducting an interview so that they don’t walk in expectedly or play music loudly
  • Be mindful of what’s behind you – what posters or pictures do you have hanging on the wall, do you have a pile on laundry on the floor or dirty dishes on the counter?
  • Think about your lighting – although sunlight feels good, it can make your appear dark on camera so be aware of how you appear in the video
  • And as much as we hate to say it, don’t sit in bed….or even worse, on the toilet!

4.  Dress for success

  • Being at home doesn’t mean that pajamas are suddenly appropriate business attire – so prepare by asking the interviewer what the normal office dress code is and use that as a guideline to dress for your interview
  • Dress your entire body – sure you might think that the interviewer can only see you from the waist up but what if you have to stand up or move your chair
  • And remember, dressing professionally impacts how we feel and how we present ourselves

5.  Test your technology

  • Download the video conference software in advance to ensure you have tested it and know how to use it – we recommend practicing with a family member or friend in advance
    • Specifically check to be sure the microphone and camera features are working
  • If given the option, use an Ethernet connection over Wi-Fi because it’s more trustworthy
  • If using Wi-Fi, make sure you have a strong connection – if you’re using a laptop you can always move closer to the modem (you don’t want to be buffering or freezing between questions)

6.  Show your best side

  • Make sure your camera is positioned at eye level – you don’t want the interviewer to be looking up your nose or staring at your forehead
  • Think of camera distance as well – an interview is not the time for an extreme close up

7.  Look the camera in the eye

  • It sounds funny but sometimes people don’t know where to look when using a web cam – we often look at ourselves talking – when speaking, maintain eye contact with the camera so that the interviewer has the perception that you’re looking them in the eye
  • If you’re taking notes, try typing them versus writing them – if your head is down as you write, the interviewer will be staring at your forehead
  • Maintain positive and professional body language – sit up straight, don’t fidget, or swing around in your chair, or lean back with arms folded in front of you – it sends the wrong message
  • Smile and listen actively

8.  End effectively

  • Now is the time to ask any questions you may have – prepare in advance at least 1-2 questions to ask (i.e. What are the steps in the hiring process OR what does the onboarding / training process look like at company X)
  • Communicate your interest in the position
  • Send a thank you email to the interviewer – make sure to confirm the interviewer’s email address and spelling of their first name.