6 Tips for Your Next Video Interview

Video interviews are new for a lot of us, but they don’t need to be stressful!

More and more organizations every day are adopting the use of video interviews. While many organizations were already beginning to use video interviews before the pandemic, they are becoming exponentially more common with the need to practice social distancing.

That said, they are still new enough that many of us have likely have never experienced a video interview before. It is tough to try using a new medium for interviews that you aren’t familiar with. The interview alone makes you nervous enough, but adding a new wrinkle to the process makes you worry even more about presenting yourself well!

Having helped people prepare for video interviews, would like to share six tips to keep in mind for your next video interview:

  1. Your background needs to be professional
    Make sure that what’s behind you is professional. It doesn’t need to be super elaborate, even a plain wall will do. Make sure there aren’t any wall hangings that may contain offensive language or content. As well, make sure there isn’t a mess or clutter behind you. While virtual backgrounds are fun, they are a giant distraction to someone who is just meeting you, especially when the area around the edge of you keeps blurring. Your background includes any noise that may be around you. Try to be in a quiet area if possible.
  2. Look the interviewer in the eye
    This one is hard to do because how do you know how eye contact comes across on the other screen? A great rule of thumb is to look straight into the camera when speaking. This will produce the same effect as looking your interviewer in the eye and build trust.
  3. Cover your face on screen!
    On video interviews or conferences, it is typical to be able to see yourself in one corner or side of the screen. It can become very distracting to see this in your peripheral vision because you can’t help but find yourself constantly looking at it. It isn’t because you’re vain, it’s because you want to make sure you are presenting yourself well to the interviewer. However, this tendency prevents you from following tip #2, looking your interviewer in the eye! Placing a post-it note over your picture on the screen will help you avoid this temptation. You can also minimize your own feed in some video platforms.
  4. Dress as if you were in person
    Dress for the job you are interviewing for. While a video interview can seem less formal, doing the interview from home is not an invitation to wear sweatpants and your weekend chore shirt. If you’d wear a shirt and tie to the in person interview, best to wear it to the video interview too.
  5. Make sure there will be no technical issues!
    Is the device you’ll be using fully charged before the interview? Even if it is charged, make sure you are also plugged in just in case. Try logging in to the app that you’ll be using (Teams, Zoom, etc) a day or two before the interview to make sure it works with your microphone and speakers.
  6. Pause after speaking
    Sometimes there is a delay when connected over the internet. After each question or statement from your interviewer, pause for a couple of seconds before responding in case there is a delay in transmission. This will help ensure that the interviewer is fully finished and you don’t accidentally walk over them.

Video interviews are new territory for lots of people, and it can be tough to be confident when faced with a new medium like this. But, the principles in these tips are the same as those used to be effective in an in-person interview, just a different application.

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