Mastering the Art of Video Interviews

If you are in the market for a job, chances are you have recognized that companies are increasingly using video interviews to hire new talent. Companies may use any number of video platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype to conduct their interviews virtually, but the experience is essentially the same regardless of the program.

While most job seekers understand the basics, a video interview can be a vastly different experience than an in person meeting. The following tips can elevate your video interview skills to help convey a full picture of your abilities to prospective employers,while avoiding some of the most commonly made mistakes.

Prepare in Advance

Although a video interview is much different than in person, it is still an interview. There may be fewer opportunities for potential employers to get to know you on a personal level, so it is even more important to practice your interview questions and leave a lasting impact. Prepare in the days leading up to the interview by:

  • Thoroughly researching the company and the role
  • Practicing answers for commonly asked questions
  • Rehearsing talking points around your background, experience, and why you are a good fit
  • Writing questions to ask the interviewer

Test the Video Platform/Tool

In addition to preparing for traditional questions, you should also ensure your technical equipment is ready to go before the day of the interview. An ill-timed software update can outshine all the preparation you may have done, so configure your camera, internet connection, and any required programs ahead of time. Do a trial run with a friend to test your audio and video quality, and familiarize yourself with important tools within the program like the mute and chat functions.

More than 60% of hiring managers were utilizing video interviews two years ago, jumping recently to 86% during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gartner.

Prepare Your Backdrop

Just as in any interview, first impressions are important. Recruiters or managers may be influenced by what they see in the background of your interview, so take some time to prepare your space. Put away anything you wouldn’t want your future boss to see,ensuring the room is tidy and camera-ready. Audit the background during your trial run of the video platform, and identify anything that needs to be cleaned up or moved. It can be impactful to show a bit of your personality too, so if you have a favorite painting you might want to move to the wall behind you, do it!

Dress the Part

A video interview may take place in the comfort of your own home, but you should still dress as you would if you were going into the office.Although it may be tempting to stay in your pajama pants, dress business professional from head to toe to be prepared for any scenario. Consider how your attire will translate on camera and test it during your trial run. Stick to neutrals, shades of blue and solids over patterns. Additionally, maintain professionalism by:

  • Having a copy of your resume on the desk in front of you for quick reference
  • Keeping a notebook and pen nearby with any notes or questions you want to ask

During the Interview

Just as you would to an onsite interview, log in to your video conference at least 5-10 minutes early. Arriving promptly will illustrate your professionalism and help avoid delays from any potential technical issues. Because virtual interviews may lack the benefits of interpersonal interaction and small talk,introduce yourself and make eye contact when the conversation begins. Take this time to settle in and confirm your interviewers can see and hear you clearly.

Throughout the interview, be mindful of body language. It can be easy to forget during a video interview, but use your body language to convey that you are interested and engaged in the conversation by:

  • Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview
  • Using your natural gesture sand hand movements while talking when appropriate
  • Keeping arms uncrossed and relaxed
  • Nodding when appropriate to convey understanding and shifts in conversation

Be confident in your answers and allow your personality to shine through as much as possible so the interviews get a complete picture of your potential. After the interview, send a thank you note just as you would following an in person interview.