Acing the Video Interview in 5 Easy Steps
Updated: May 5
Social distancing has become the norm and video interviewing is quickly replacing traditional in-person meetings as the best way to evaluate job candidates. Although it is not a new concept, video interviewing has its own unique set of challenges and benefits that job seekers need to consider in addition to traditional interview preparation. We asked our team of experts and compiled a list of five key strategies to help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls this digital platform presents and focus instead on acing the interview.
Work your angle When preparing for a video interview, it’s critical to consider how a prospective employer will see you. It’s best to avoid a camera angle that is too far above or below your face. A good rule of thumb for laptop users is for the screen to be set at a 90-degree angle, not tilted back or forward. Another factor that is often overlooked is camera stability. This is not typically an issue with desktop computers and laptops however mobile devices should be securely propped up or held in place to eliminate any possibility of movement. Holding a phone or tablet in your hand is never a good idea as it will result in shaky visuals which tends to make you look rigid rather than natural. On that note:
Get comfortable Let’s be honest, it’s awkward to try to market yourself through a computer screen. Even if you’re comfortable with video calls in social settings, we recommend spending some time getting used to formal video calling. This includes ensuring that you have a good handle on the technology and that you can clearly hear and see the person on the screen. To maximize success, our experts recommend not having liquids or beverages on your table or desk, primarily to reduce visual distraction but also to avoid possible spills that could derail the interview or even damage your hardware.
Test your tech ahead of time Along with being comfortable with video communications, learn how to do basic troubleshooting on the platform that will be used for your video call. Things like knowing how to initiate, join, and end a call as well as how to access and manipulate audio and video settings. Often when video call software malfunctions it is due to a required software update so it’s a good idea to check that your software is up to date before the actual interview. If you can, enlist a friend or family member to run a mock interview with you so you can see and work with the platform in real-time. Another pro tip from our experts: check your image in the self-view window and then hide it – this way you won’t be tempted to check your appearance throughout the interview.
Frame yourself In video interviews, it is vital to be aware of what is behind and around you. Webcams can see at least 45 degrees on either side as well as above and below the camera itself. Ask yourself what is in the frame besides you. While your home office may be beautiful and welcoming, it is best to keep the background simple. At first glance it may seem that using a greenscreen is a good solution, but many interviewers find imperfections typically associated with this technology such as colored halos around your head and body very distracting. Our team suggests having your back to a wall, preferably facing a light source. This solves two potential issues: background and lighting. Lastly, if possible, set yourself up in a room where you won’t be disturbed during the interview.
Wear pants (seriously!) It may sound silly, but we mean it. Dressing for success seems like an old adage but you only get one chance to make a first impression. Getting yourself into the best state of mind for an interview includes knowing the value you bring to the table and being confident and strong, both of which are influenced by how you look and feel. Not only does the concept of dressing for success impact the psychology of an interview but it’s also a sure-fire way to avoid the embarrassment of having the interviewer see your pajama bottoms or whatever other comfy clothes you chose to wear should you need to stand up or if your camera moves during the interview. Dress for a video interview just as you would for an in-person interview. It seems like common sense but with the ability to control exactly what the interviewer sees; you can present your best self.
Video interviewing is gaining popularity at an unprecedented rate as the world adapts to COVID-19. While many people are not as comfortable in front of a screen as they would like to be, these tips and tricks can help avoid the unique challenges video interviewing presents and focus on what’s really important: showing and convincing the interviewer that you are the best candidate and landing the job!