Video interviews have become increasingly common and now are the norm. You most likely know the basics, but read below to ensure you are prepared for all the essentials to nail your interview.
Preparation and enthusiasm are key for virtual interviewing!
1. Perfect your technology.
The first step is to ensure your technology is in working order. Be sure you have a solid internet connection, full batteries, a working camera, a functional mic, all the necessary apps, and plugins. It?s a great idea to do a trial run with another person ? particularly to ensure your mic is working (best to use a headset) and you have the right camera angle (ideally with your entire face and top of shoulders visible). Personally, I find noise-canceling headphones aren?t the best for video interviewing, as I will be the primary speaker and my voice sounds unnatural with the headphones on.
2. Dial-in the logistics.
We all know to avoid video backgrounds that showcase clutter, embarrassing, or too personal of items ? no beds or laundry in the background! Depending on the software being used, you might even be able to use a stock virtual background. Try to have nice lighting and a quiet place where you won?t be interrupted (by people or loud noises outside). And above all, conduct the interview in a place that is comfortable to you. If you are uncomfortable, it will show. You want to wear a professional top and avoid logos, busy patterns, or stripes that may cause moir, which is a type of rainbow effect on the screen created because the camera cannot process the fine lines separately. Lastly, turn off any email or social media alerts and close browser tabs ? conduct a little desktop cleaning.
3. Rehearse to sound natural.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you practice, you will actually be able to sound more natural. A common mistake in video interviewing is the urge to read your answers ? and while you 100% should write down answers to the common questions and have your notes handy (After all, the interviewers cannot see what?s out of the screen! Use all the notes!), you do not want to sound robotic or break eye-contact frequently to read a script. Instead, practice your talking points so they come to you naturally.
Practice is essential for any type of interview. Even 30 minutes of practice can make you feel more comfortable and in control.
4. Come prepared.
As mentioned above, one of the benefits of video interviewing is the ability to use notes. Instead of writing out a scripted answer to common questions, write a few bullet points that help you recall what you want to say. A great way to prep is through an Interview Preparation Grid as outlined by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, which has common questions on one axis and your top projects on the other axis (see an example here). If showing artifacts would be helpful, ask the recruiter in advance if you can screen share.
In addition to writing notes on your talking points, you will want to prepare a list of questions for the interviewers. For these questions, it?s okay to even let the interviewer know that you are pulling out your list of questions and may take some notes.
5. Don?t forget ? silence is your friend!
Just like in-person interviewing, you want to use silence wisely. It?s ok to pause after the interviewer answers their question and think about your answer; likewise, it?s okay to pause after your answer and let the interviewer finish notetaking and catch-up. The silence may sound deafening and everlasting to you, but it?s never that long to the interviewers ? don?t fall into the trap of trying to fill all the silence with chatter. If it helps, come up with a few catchphrases you can lean on to buy yourself time (e.g., ?Hmm..that?s a good question!?).
6. It?s okay to make a mistake.
The ability to recover from a blown answer can actually make you look good! Everyone makes mistakes and it?s how we get up and recover that counts. If you find yourself rambling, just pause, breathe, and acknowledge the situation with something like, ?Wow, I think I am finding myself a bit in the weeds! Apologies for letting my nerves take over, would you mind if I restart this answer??
Be sure you maintain good eye contact and a friendly, positive demeanor. Keep your focus on the camera (rather than your notes) and remember that you are talking to a real person, so adopt a conversational tone.
8. End with gratitude.
Be sure to send a thank-you note within 24 hours after the interview. It?s an important gesture and recognizes the time and attention of the recruiter who coordinated the interview and the interviewer(s) who took time to get to know you? plus it reminds them why you are such an awesome potential hire! If you do not have your interviewer?s contact information, send it to the recruiter and ask them to pass it along.
More resources for video interviewing tips:
- 9 Killer Tips for Video Interviews, The Undercover Recruiter
- Path Forward?s 7 Tips for a Successful Video Interview, Path Forward
- Top Video Job Interview Tips, Robert Half