Video job interviews are an increasingly common part of the hiring process. In substance, the content of video interviews are similar to in-person or phone interviews.
Companies see many benefits in using video technology to vet candidates. With a video interview, you have most of the benefits of seeing a candidate in person, but without the hassle/expense of actually meeting them (especially if someone would have to fly or drive to a different city).
Do your research as you would for a face-to-face interview. Prepare by researching the company, reviewing the job requirements and rehearsing possible interview questions.
Set up and test your technology. Video interviews are not only for tech savvy millennials, the software is straightforward and accessible for everyone. It can also be done on any device including a PC, tablet or smartphone, so choose the technology you feel most comfortable with.
- Set up and test your webcam or smartphone camera.
- Set up and test the microphone.
- Ensure your internet and bandwidth is capable of handling a video link, and that you have enough data.
- Check your battery, if your device is not fully charged you could plug it in throughout the interview.
- If any software or apps or required for the interview, ensure you have downloaded it well in advance.
- Video interviews will typically give you the option of using a telephone connection for volume, or the sound will be available through the video link. Ensure you have tested both methods prior to the interview.
- Things can go wrong with technology, and Murphy’s Law unfortunately isn’t in your favour. Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.
Find the perfect location. You want your interviewer to focus on you and not be distracted by your background.
- Lighting is critical. Run a trial run, filming yourself and consider whether the lighting flatters you. Avoid bright lights behind you or dark shadows on your face.
- Ensure there is nothing on the bookshelf, wall, or your computer screen behind you that you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
- Avoid interruptions. You don’t want background noise from the TV, your kids or dog. If you’re not the only one at home we suggest you brief everyone in advance, and even go as far as locking the door.
Body Language counts!
Eye contact is crucial during an in-person interview, so too during a video interview. Eye contact in a video takes some practice. It’s important to avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, look towards at the webcam. A good trick is to resize and move the window with the person’s video image as close to your webcam as possible.
By doing this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look at the interviewer on the screen. Avoid letting your gaze drift away from the device. Also try avoid staring serial-killer style!
Throughout the interview, convey optimism with an upbeat mood and positive body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk. Find a nice, comfortable balance between leaning forward and reclining too far back.
When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate, use hand gestures when required and keep your movements close to your body. Some gestures that are fine in person can be distracting on video. Try not to twirl your hair, touch your forehead, chin or nose.
Try not to be too goofy or laugh at every joke. The smile is meant to be a tool to show that you’re a pleasant person to work with, you have reasonably good social awareness, and have a good dose of enthusiasm and confidence.
Have a glass of water handy. If your voice goes croaky, or if you simply want to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts before you answer a question – a glass of water is a perfect tool.
At the conclusion of the interview
As with any job interview, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time. As you don’t have the option of a hand shake, a smile goes a long way.