Although the past decade has seen a significant rise in the frequency of online video interviews, the effects of COVID-19 have skyrocketed the rate at which we are meeting people via video. Many tried and true interview techniques will still apply in these video situations, but the format does provide some unique challenges and opportunities that a traditional in-person interview may not! This week we are going to break down a few things to keep in mind while participating in a video interview.
Test your set up
On the technology side of things, it’s vital that you have everything on your end working as smoothly as possible. Testing your set up before the interview is scheduled to begin should be your first step! Whether you’re using Zoom, Skype, Webex, or any other of the hundreds of video conferencing software available, get in there early and make sure you are comfortable in the platform. Things to check:
- Sound (input and output, use headphones when necessary)
- Internet connection
- How to operate the application
Another thing to keep in mind is to silence any notification or software that has a tendency to show up uninvited on your device. The last thing you want is for some random program hijacking your screen and throwing you off your game mid-sentence! Nobody is going to expect a professional studio set up, but your interviewer will expect that you’ve made efforts to provide them with the best feed possible.
Dress like you’re in-person
Dress just like you would if you were there in person—head to toe. Don’t be tempted to go suit and tie on top, basketball shorts on the bottom! Being in a household environment, there’s a non-zero chance that you’ll need to get up and adjust something such as a flickering light, loud fan, open window, dog sneaking in the room… be prepared for that just in case! You will also feel more confident in full proper attire as your mind will put you into “work-mode”.
Look at the camera
We can all be a little guilty of this: Looking at the little thumbnail of yourself instead of the camera during a video call. If there was ever a time to resist that urge, it’s now! Try to look directly into the camera lens during the course of the interview, creating the illusion of direct eye contact. You may even find this a little easier than maintaining direct eye contact during a standard in-person interview.
Take advantage of your space
Unlike interviewing at an office, you do have a little bit more freedom with how you want to set yourself up. Never read off a scripted response (the interviewer will know), however, you can certainly get away with having a few more notes out with important points you’d like to hit on. Make sure your notes are written out in a way that allows for very quick reference, as you don’t want to be looking down or away from the screen for long.
In-person, it’s going to be a lot easier to maintain your enthusiasm over the course of an interview. During a video interview, make sure that you keep the energy level high, even though talking over video conferencing software can be a drag. There’s not a lot of body language that they can pick up on, so your face is going to make most of the impression in this situation, so remember to be friendly and relaxed as much as possible!
Provide a back-up plan
After initial introductions, it’s a good idea to provide your interviewer with a direct line back to you via phone just in case the video chat hits the fan. As far as technology has come, our devices still seem to get finicky on us when we need them the most. Even if your interviewer already has that information, providing that again at that beginning of the conversation will show them that you are prepared, thoughtful, and dedicated.
As unconventional as they may seem, video interviews are only going to become more and more common as technology continues to progress. They can be just as strange for the interviewer as they are for you, but if you keep those few extra things in mind you’ll find success just like you would in person!
Check out these blog posts for post-interview strategies: