Climb the Ladder

How to Nail a Video Interview

Here’s the obvious: COVID-19 is changing the way a lot of businesses are functioning. 

That being said, many companies are finding new ways to adapt their old processes to continue functioning, even when working remotely. 

We’re seeing many companies transition to interviewing candidates over video conferencing and even creating processes to onboard new employees remotely without ever having met them in person. 

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, companies were trending toward video or virtual interviews and one could potentially argue that even after it’s safe to return to our offices, that video interviews will continue to be increasingly utilized.

So, how are you currently feeling about your video interview skills? Does the extra experience with Facetime or Instagram stories make you a pro? Or are you nervous about not being able to get a holistic feel for the company or read social cues as in a traditional interview?

Wherever you find yourself on the preparedness spectrum, we want to share our tips for having a great video interview. 

Test your equipment

The day before your interview, you’re going to want to test your ability to connect online. That’ll give you plenty of time to work out the kinks, should you find any. If you can, try to set up a practice call using the same or similar software that you’ll use for the interview (Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, etc). If that means calling your mom or your roommate 5 feet away, so be it. Better safe than showing up 10 minutes late to an interview you get to do from home.

Pick a quiet room

Ideally, you should have an entire room to yourself for the interview. Try to pick a place that’s tidy and well-lit and also free from distractions. While hiring managers will be able to understand (especially during quarantine) that some background noise is to be expected, try your best to keep the outside noise to a minimum. It’ll allow you to concentrate on your answers and hiring managers to focus on you.

Dress appropriately

We probably don’t even need to tell you this… but interviewing from home doesn’t mean you get to wear the same clothes you ate your breakfast cereal in. To play it safe, just wear what you would plan to wear to an in-house interview. Hiring managers may be less tuned in to your outfit choice during quarantine, but to play it on the safe side, be sure to pick an outfit that’s professional, non-distracting (ie. avoid bright colors or patterns – better to let your personality do the talking), and neat/free of wrinkles. 

Pro tip: we recently discovered that if you want a slightly more “polished” look during your Zoom call, simply go to settings” ➝ “video” ➝ “touch up my appearance” for a laptop, or on your phone go to “settings” ➝ ”meetings” ➝ “touch up my appearance.” We’ll be using this one for our next team meeting.

Have a copy of your resume handy

Just like you’d probably show up to an in-house interview with a copy of your resume, be sure to have a copy handy during your video interview as well. You don’t necessarily need to print out your resume (let’s save a tree, shall we?), having a PDF open on your computer to reference will work as well. 

Keep your internet tabs and running programs to a minimum

There are two types of people in the world: the ones who hate having unused internet tabs open, and the ones who have no less than 7 tabs open at all times. Which are you?

In any case, you’re going to want to close out of unused tabs and computer programs just to make sure your video quality is the best it can be and your internet speed isn’t maxed out. It’s a simple tip, but it’s a little way to help your interview run smoothly without distraction.

Take notes

Just as in any interview, taking notes is a great idea to remember important information as well as show that you’re engaged and interested. While doing your interview through your computer, you can either take notes using a pen and paper or by opening a new Word or Google doc and typing a few notes as they come up. It’s also a good idea to jot down any questions you may have ahead of time on the same sheet.

Also read: Questions You Should Always Ask in a Job Interview (And Some to Avoid)

Don’t forget your personality

While this is important in any job interview, it’s even more important to remember during a remote interview. When we don’t get the chance to meet with a hiring manager in person, things like handshakes, gestures, and “active listening” body language can be lost.

During your interview, do your best to be engaging, smile, and look into the camera. While you don’t need to overdo it with hand gestures, simply remember to have good energy and show that you’re excited about your conversation with the interviewer.

Other video interview tips:

  • Check your camera placement so that your head and shoulders are in frame and your webcam is on the same level as your face (try to avoid looking up or down into the camera).
  • Try to find a room with natural light or at the very least, make sure you are well lit.
  • Ask for a timeline and next steps before saying goodbye.
  • Don’t forget the thank-you note!
  • Be sure pets are outside the room, fed and happy.
  • If you tend to be introverted, you might need to amp your energy level a bit so that it comes through via video. Many recruiters we’ve spoken with have said amp you energy level 10-20%.
  • The hardest thing about video interviews is knowing when to start talking. So be sure to listen and let your interviewers finish their thoughts before responding as it is a lot easier to cut people off.
  • If it’s on zoom, be sure to put it on ‘gallery view’ so you can see all the parties and their reactions in real-time, like you would in a normal interview

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