There are a variety of reasons why employers are moving more and more to video interviews in order to conduct a job search. For one, it allows employers to widen their geographical search for talent without having to cover travel costs for out of state candidates. More and more companies are also choosing to outsource both freelance workers as well as employees who telecommute, making video interface a more regular part of the workplace environment.
In some cases, video interviews are also used in order to more efficiently screen a larger pool of candidates during the first round of interviews. In such cases, your goal in the video interview is to land a second interview where you will have the opportunity to meet the interview team in person.
It is important to recognize that even though a video interview may only be the first round, do not mistake it to be an informal affair. Instead, approach it with professionalism to be sure you make a strong first impression. This guide offers tips for nailing your video job interview.
Before: Prep Tips for Video Interviews
It is important that you do the same preparation for a video job interview as you would for an in person interview. That means taking your time to research the company, the position, and any of the people you expect to be on the interview team. Brush up on your work history by preparing some answers to common behavioral interview questions and be prepared to demonstrate your qualifications using real metrics from your previous workplace successes.
In addition to regular interview prep, there are some unique additional considerations to work through:
In the days prior to your interview, be sure you can log on to whatever the interface is that your interview will be held on. This gives you a chance to be sure your passwords are up to date, that you have already downloaded any important updates since the last time you used the app, and that your computer has the necessary hardware specs to smoothly run the interface.
Location, Lighting, Sound
Most video apps and programs have a section of the interface designed to test your video quality and the sound of both your microphone and speakers. Take the time to do this in the days before the interview so that you can make adjustments as needed. For example, you may find that the audio picked up by your laptop is not very strong and you may decide to buy some headphones with a built-in mic in order to provide better sound quality during your interview.
In addition, do your video test from the exact location you plan to do your interview from. This allows you to check your lighting to make sure that your face will be well lit without being washed out, etc. Make sure that the background is uncluttered and professional looking, preferably shot from your home office or living room which tend to convey more professionalism than your bedroom or kitchen, for example.
Full Dress Rehearsal
If this is your first video interview, consider asking a friend to conduct a brief mock interview with you over the same interface a few days before your actual interview. Wear the interview attire you plan to wear (which should still be professional rather than casual) so that you can be sure the lighting works for those colors and fabric.
In addition, this test run gives you a chance to make sure your internet bandwidth is strong enough to support smooth video and gives you a chance to test out features such as sending an attachment or adjusting the sound.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Prior to the big day, make sure to coordinate with the interview team on logistics in the event that your internet drops out at the last minute. For example, provide them with your phone number and get contact information for the person in charge of the interview so you can go ahead with the interview using the phone if necessary.
During: Nailing Your Delivery
Pacing During a Video Interview
The pace of a video interview tends to be a little bit slower than in person. The technology often creates a slight delay. Be prepared to slow down a little bit in order to facilitate clear communication over a video interface.
Be Sure to Pause and Listen
In a normal conversation with someone in person, we often have a set of visual cues that are subtle, but none-the-less important to knowing when it is time to talk and when it is time to listen. Those cues are often erased during video communication. To avoid the risk of cutting people off and coming off as rude or potentially interrupting, add a slight 1-2 second pause before you answer a question.
Ask for Clarification If Needed
There is an expectation during video interviews that sometimes important clarity can be lost. Don’t be worried about asking for clarification if you need it in order to provide your best answer. In addition, be extra patient if you are asked to repeat some aspect of your answer that may have been lost to a technical glitch on the interviewer’s end.
Watch for Fidgeting
We all fidget when we are nervous, and an interview brings out nerves in even the coolest of cucumbers. However, try to keep any fidgeting off camera and be particularly aware of any tendency to touch your face or hair during the interview which can be distracting during your interview.
Eye Contact and Facial Expression
Due to the nature of video interviews, your face will be front and center in the frame of the screen. Make sure you keep eye contact with the screen (if you are using an external camera, be sure it is placed as near the screen as possible) to stay connected with your audience and communicate your interest in what members of the interview team have to say.
Try to have a relaxed facial expression and notice if you seem to be tensed up, such as a furrowed brow or frown as they will be amplified by the nature of video communication. Be sure your posture is good and that your face is straight on into the camera, not facing abnormally up or down.
After: How to Close a Video Interview Professionally
While a video interview may seem like an informal affair, it is imperative to keep things professional. Make sure to express your gratitude for the opportunity to be considered for the position at the end of your interview.
In addition, make sure that you prepare some thoughtful questions as it is likely you will be given an opportunity to ask them near the end of the interview.
Finally, follow up via email to each of the members of the hiring team is recommended within 24 hours of the interview, just like any other job interview. Be sure to again express gratitude for being considered for the job, make a quick note about a memorable moment or some insight you gained during the interview, and express your interest in hearing back from the interview team.