Your guide to acing video interviews
Video interviews for jobs are becoming very common, especially in today's tech-centric world. Video interviews are convenient for both hiring managers and candidates and are sometimes even necessary due to a candidate's location or social distancing concerns. If you've never taken part in a video interview, it's important to get familiar with this type of interview. Here we explore a few important video interview tips you can use during your next digital interviewing experience and the differences between live and pre-recorded video interviews.
What is a video interview?
Video interviews are just as they sound—job interviews that take place via a video conference call. This form of remote interviewing is becoming increasingly common and is likely to be a mainstay in the hiring process due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders in many states. Common platforms used for video interviews include Skype and Zoom, but some companies have their own software or use other platforms when conducting remote interviews.
There are two primary types of video interviews:
- Live video interviews: This type of interview is when the interview takes place in real-time between the hiring manager or recruiter and the candidate. Common software used for live digital interviews includes Hangout, Skype, Blue Jeans, Zoom, and Google. Live video interviews are most similar to in-person interviews and give the recruiter and candidate the opportunity to interact in real time.
- Pre-recorded interviews: Pre-record interviews, sometimes referred to as asynchronous video interviews, are those in which a candidate records their answers to a set of pre-recorded interview questions provided by a hiring manager or recruiter. Typically, a recruiter will send the candidate a link with the questions and the candidate will record themselves answering each question. They then submit the video answers for review by the hiring manager.
Tips for acing your next video interview
The following are several tips to keep in mind when preparing for and participating in your next video interview:
Do a test run
Before the day of the interview, perform a few test runs of the software you’ll be using for the interview to ensure it works properly. Get familiar with the software and download any plugins or applications required to use it. Ensure that the username you have for the program is professional and that any of your personal information the recruiter can see on the platform is up-to-date and appropriate.
Make sure that your computer camera and microphone work properly and that the computer you’re going to use for the video interview has a strong internet connection. You can even perform a trial run with a family member or friend to double-check that everything works correctly.
Charge your computer
On the day of the video interview, make sure your computer, tablet, or laptop is fully charged before the interview takes place. This will ensure your device doesn’t die during the interview and that it performs its best.
Even though your interview is virtual, you should still dress as though you’re taking part in an in-person interview. Not only will this give the interviewee a good impression, but it will also help you feel more confident during the interview. Avoid wearing distracting or bright patterns or colors, flashy jewelry, or revealing clothing. Instead, wear neutral-colored clothing that’s neatly pressed. And, while it may be tempting to forego professional bottoms since the interviewee typically only sees your top half, you should still wear in professional pants or skirt to avoid an embarrassing mishap should you have to stand up.
Choose a quiet and well-lit space
It’s important to choose a location that’s free of distractions and noises when participating in a video interview. Getting distracted or having loud noises in the background is unprofessional and can negatively affect the interviewee’s impression of you. If you’re going to do the interview in a place where other people are present, put a sign on the door to inform others you’re in an interview and not to disturb you. You could also put a note on your front door so mail deliverers know not to ring your doorbell.
You should also ensure the space where you’re going to do the interview is free of clutter and has good lighting so the interviewee can clearly see you. You want lighting that illuminates your face, but that isn’t overly bright or glaring. Try to find a place where there’s a lot of natural light for natural illumination.
Just as with an in-person interview, you should take time to prepare for the video interview by printing out your resume and the job description, writing down any notes or speaking points you want to touch on, and practicing interview questions so you’re prepared with quality answers. You should also keep a pen and notepad near you during the interview so you can easily jot down any notes you want to revisit.
Practice good body language
Body language is just as important during video interviews as it is during in-person interviews. Maintain eye contact throughout the video interview by looking at the webcam when answering questions rather than at the interviewer’s face on the screen. This emulates face-to-face eye contact by aligning your eyes with the hiring manager’s eyes.
You should also practice good posture by sitting up straight in your chair. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and place your arms on your desk or table or in your lap.
Speaking clearly directly into your computer’s microphone ensures that the interviewer properly understands you and doesn’t have to strain to hear what you’re saying. You should also pause after speaking, as digital interviews often have a lag between when you speak and when the interviewee hears what you said. Additionally, wait a few seconds after the interviewer is done speaking before answering to avoid talking over the interviewer or missing something they say.