13 Tips to Help You Ace Your Video Interview
by Katie Capozzi - April 15th, 2020
With Work From Home (WFH) being implemented and mandatory for many companies during COVID-19, HR professionals are turning to video calls to interview prospective employees.
For interviewees, looking for work is no easy task in the current job market and video interviews add a new level of uncharted territory. Although we’re sure many of you are becoming video call experts with your friends and families by now, interviewing virtually requires more etiquette, preparation and tact. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of helpful tips so that you ace your next video interview.
We also want to note that if you’re having trouble landing an interview, don’t get discouraged. This is a challenging time to be looking for work with a high number of unemployed professionals all applying to a handful of companies hiring during this time. Keep your head up and stay confident - you’ve got this!
Here is a list of helpful tips to ace your next video interview:
1. Remove all Distractions
Remember to put your phone far away from you. Avoid having it on the table or in eye sight as the buzzing can be loud and you may be tempted to look. Turn it to silent or ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode as you may receive some ‘Goodluck!’ texts from friends and family.
As well, be open and honest with your interviewers if you live on a busy street and there might be some noise out of your control.
2. Find a Quiet Space with a Neutral Backdrop
A quiet space will not only help ensure your audio is clear but it will also help keep you focused and engaged. A neutral backdrop will minimize distractions and keep the interviewers attention on you.
If that isn’t an option, make sure your space is tidy around you and any art or decor behind you is appropriate. An option is to take down the decor behind you during the interview then put it back up later. This will help keep all the attention focused on you and your responses.
Also, make sure to let your roommates know what time your interview starts and when you estimate it will be done so that they remain quiet, prepare themselves with snacks and water or even leave the house during that time.
3. Adjust your Lighting
We can’t stress this enough - especially if your interview is in the late afternoon or evening. Here is a helpful video to show you how to adjust your lighting:
Ensure you’re not backlit by overhead lights or windows behind or beside you. Grab a lamp and place it behind your computer screen to illuminate your face.
4. Be Prepared
Bring water, ensure your computer is charged and plugged in and test your wifi to make sure it’s working. Minimizing extra stress is critical so that you can perform your best.
Bring a notebook to write down important information. You want to avoid typing on your computer as it can shake the screen, be noisy or appear like you are not engaged.
For example, use a notebook to write down notes if you ask a question during the Q&A portion about what you can do in the interim to prepare yourself for the job.
5. Practice with a Friend Using a Video Calling Platform
Reading body language and pauses can be different over video calls in comparison to face-to-face. Call one of your friends to practice your answers, adjust your lighting set up and background while also ensuring the video platform works on your computer.
6. Wear Pants
Contrary to popular belief - you should wear pants during a video call and a pair that would be appropriate for an in-person interview. Although it’s unlikely that they will see your bottom half, there is a chance.
For example, an alarm could sound that you need to turn off or you need to take a quick bathroom break. It would be unprofessional if you stood up while on camera and were wearing sweatpants or no pants at all.
You never know what might happen during the call, so be prepared.
7. Download & Test the Video Platform Prior to the Call
Look up which video platform you will be using during the call. Your interviewer should provide you with information prior with how the call will be run. For example, Zoom requires you to download the platform which can take a few minutes to set up.
Make sure you test your audio and video as well so that everything runs smoothly and you have no extra stressors when beginning the call.
8. Arrive A Few Minutes Early
Like an in-person interview, you want to arrive on the call a minute or two early or right on time. This shows that you are punctual and taking the interview seriously.
If it’s a panel interview, be prepared to make small talk with one or two people while you wait for the others to arrive to the call.
9. Elevate Your Screen
Whether you elevate your screen on a stack of books, a puzzle box or even an empty box of wine, ensure that your screen is elevated to roughly eye level. This will help with eye contact and to avoid the interviewers looking up at your nose or an unsightly angle.
As well, make sure that your stack of books or box is secure and won’t fall over during the call.
10. Sit Up Tall with Good Posture
During video calls, it’s easy to hunch forward to get closer to your screen. Every so often, look at yourself on the video screen to ensure you’re sitting up tall with good posture.
11. Use Headphones
Headphones with a microphone are a great idea - ideally ones that are subtle such as iPhone headphones or AirPods. The microphone will help with sound quality so the interviewer can hear your answers loud and clear.
Avoid oversized or large headphones as they can be distracting.
12. Make Eye Contact and Use Body Language
Try not to stare at yourself the whole time. Act as if you’re having a conversation with the interviewer in person, which means making strong eye contact, nodding to show engagement and displaying positive body language.
Avoid crossed arms, slumping in your chair or looking off into the distance. Stay focused!
13. Use Your Notes
One of the benefits of video interviews is the ability to have notes in front of you. However, this needs to be done strategically as you don’t want to spend the entire interview reading off the notes in front of you, not making eye contact or providing rehearsed answers.
The notes are there for you if you get stuck or to remind you of important information you want to get across. Try to be discreet and act natural.
Although video interviews can be intimidating and require a lot more preparation of your space and technology, there are a few benefits. Being able to make yourself comfortable, not having to worry about how to get to the interview location and the ability to set up some notes with helpful reminders during the interview are a few of the benefits. Remember to be confident, maintain eye contact and you will ace the interview.
For fun tips on courses to do while self-isolating, check out our other blog piece: [https://vanstartupweek.ca/blog/7-free-online-courses-to-do-while-self-isolating]
Though virtual interviews are similar to in-person interviews, prepping your space, wardrobe, and technology involves a few more steps. Applicants who are setting up for their distanced interview can use these video interview tips to put their best foot forward without leaving the house.