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Five Tips for Nailing Your Next Video Interview

Coronavirus spurred more employers to embrace remote technology in the interview process. But video interviews were already becoming more popular before the global pandemic. Video interviewing is more cost-effective and more convenient for both companies and candidates. So if you are currently looking for a new job, then you’ll want to make sure you are ready to shine on camera. It’s a different skill set than in-person interviews, so don’t go into the first one assuming you’ll nail it. 

Here are some tips to help you get ready for your next video interview (so hopefully it’s your last).

Cut Down on Potential Distractions

You’ll want to make sure your attention is focused on the interviewer. When you are in a room alone with them, that’s easy enough to do. Video interviews, however, leave a lot of opportunities for distraction. So be diligent in eliminating them ahead of time.

• Close all browser windows and programs other than the ones that you need for the interview. 

• Set up your equipment in a quiet spot, away from other people, and any traffic noise. 

• If you are interviewing at home, make sure other members of your household know not to disturb you (a “do not disturb” note on the door is a good idea!). 

• Put your phone on silent or turn it off completely. 

Dress Professionally–Head to Toe

There is a temptation to take shortcuts when it comes to dressing for a video interview. Some people see it as “less formal” than an in-person interview, so they don’t get as dressed up for it. Resist the temptation. Getting dressed in professional attire can help put you in the right mind frame for the interview and can even give you a confidence boost. You’ll also avoid any potentially embarrassing camera slip-ups that reveal you are still in your pajama bottoms. Whatever you do, don’t show up to an interview in your yoga gear just because you scheduled it right after your online class. 

• Wear the same thing you’d wear to an interview in person, including shoes, to put you in a professional mindset. 

• Resist the temptation only to get dressed from the waist up. 

• Go all out, including jewelry and perfume, if that’s what you’d typically wear (it’s good for your confidence!). 

Take Your Equipment for a Test Run

One of the biggest potential pitfalls of a video interview is equipment failure. Not knowing how to turn on your laptop’s webcam or having sound issues can completely derail an interview. A smooth interview process makes you look more professional and allows the interviewer to focus on your skills instead of your panic. 

• Make sure you know what platform the video interview will take place on so you can download it beforehand. 

• Set up all the equipment the day before and make sure you know how to use it, including laptops, headphones, and microphones. 

• Ask the friend to call you the day before so you can practice answering the call and ensuring everything is working correctly. 

Stay Engaged in the Process

During an in-person interview, you’ll give all your attention to the interviewer. Staying engaged with the other person is easy because they are right there with you. It’s a lot harder to remain actively involved during a video interview. Doing so, though, will show the interviewer that you are serious about the opportunity and eager to work with them. Nothing says “don’t hire me” like staring off into space during a video call. 

• Maintain eye contact with the speaker on the screen, not with the camera. 

• Keep smiling and nodding as they speak, so it’s clear you can hear them and are listening. 

• Have a notebook and pen beside you throughout the call so you can make notes (this becomes an excellent reference for questions at the end and sending your thank you note afterward). 

Practice, Practice, Practice

It’s one thing to be good at interviewing. It’s a whole other thing to be good at video interviews. It’s a different skillset and one that you’ll want to practice to get right. It’s good for soothing your nerves before the interview, too, because you’ll know you have the experience to pull it off. You’ll have experience on camera, and then, the interview will feel more natural for both of you. 

• Get the right angle for the interview by propping your tablet or laptop up on books or a box. 

• Make sure your hand gestures are high enough so the other people on the interview can see them. 

• Set up facing a window or in a brightly-lit room (just make sure you avoid backlighting, which makes it difficult to see your face on screen). 

If you are new to video interviews, keep in mind that your interviewer probably is, too. You may both have a learning curve before you master the art of talking on camera. The important thing is to take a deep breath, smile, and try to forget there is a screen between you and your new job. If you can connect with the interviewer naturally, there is a good chance the next video call could be a job offer.