12 Top Tips for Video Job Interviews

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woman participating in video job interview

Before coronavirus, no one questioned whether they needed to wear pants for an interview. Now all of life has changed as we stay indoors, some with humiliating videos shwon online afterwards (yes, you need to wear pants). So how do you look professional on a video job interview? What's the best technique to convey eye contact? What lighting is best? We have the answers to all these questions. Here are the very best video interview tips that will make a world of difference and get you that job:

Keep the light behind the computer

We cannot stress this enough: sit in front of a window. The light needs to be in front of you, and behind the computer or phone you're using. If the light is behind you, then no one can see your face and it will look washed out. If you're not able to use a window or the weather isn't bright, a table lamp will be nearly as good. It won't have the diffused light that a window gives, but it will do. Avoid any overhead light, as that is the least flattering light.

Check for glare

See if anything in your shot might create a glare. The worst offenders are glasses, jewelry, and watches. The easiest way to check ahead of time is at around the same time that your interview will take place. Removing glasses isn't always an option, so it may require playing with the angle of the light or angling the computer a different way.

Be mindful of your background

You've probably already suspected this, but having loads of laundry behind you isn't the most professional background. If you don't have room for an office in your household, try to make sure that you're still presenting a business background. A blank wall is still better than a messy room.

Raise the computer up

While putting the computer or tablet on a table is high enough for you to type, it's not anywhere near high enough for eye contact. No one wants to see up your nose, so be sure to grab some thick books or a box on top of a table and then add the laptop. Try to get the camera as close to eye level with you as possible.

Keep any notes off camera

One of the excellent perks about a video job interview is that you can keep notes behind your tablet or laptop that the interviewer can’t see. Hanging them up so you can read them while in the interview would be useful for referencing the questions you’re going to ask them. You absolutely should also ask questions, but some people seem to get tongue-tied or their minds “go blank” when in the actual interview, making notes an easy way to avoid that. One of the best questions we recommend asking is “What skills or experience do you think is most important for this position?” because then you can spend the rest of your time showing that you are that person.

Dress to impress

When you get dressed for the interview, you want to be just as formal as though it was in-person. We also suggest seeing how your outfit looks on camera. If you wear all black and have a dark background, there’s a risk of looking like a floating head. Be sure to wear something that’s a different color than your background. Also be sure that enough of your shirt shows up in the frame, as anything that might have a lower collar or deep v cut can come across as inappropriate.

Minimize interruptions

While telling anyone in your household that you’ll be in an interview sounds obvious, it’s still crucial. Don’t forget to turn off your phone! Mute any popups and email alerts. If you have something or someone that has a high possibility of interrupting you, mentioning it at the beginning can help steady your nerves and help the interviewer understand your situation. If anything does interrupt you, just get through it as best you can. This is about being as professional as possible under the circumstances.

Maintain good posture

Being at home makes being relaxed natural. Unfortunately, relaxed posture can come across as a lack of interest. To look engaged in the interview, be sure to sit up straight with your feet on the floor and try not to fidget. This will convey interest and enthusiasm without having to say a word.

Speak clearly and slowly

One of the problems with streaming video interviews is that occasionally it can skip, causing the image you’re seeing and the audio to fall out of sync. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly so that the other person hears everything you’re saying. Enthusiasm is always key in any interview, but talking too quickly may lead to miscommunication.

Video job interviews require you to look at the camera

A key tactic to interviews is eye contact, but using video interviews throws that off. If you look at the person you’re talking to, the camera doesn’t catch your eye contact. If you look into the camera the whole time, you don’t get to read the body language when they’re talking. When you are talking, look at the camera. When they’re talking, watch them. Most recruiters find it’s easier to pretend that it’s a phone interview.

Explain any long pauses

Since the interviewer won’t be able to see all of you all the time, you’ll need to explain any long pauses in your answers or responses. If you’re writing notes or just coming up with your answer, be sure to let them know. This will reassure them that no technical glitches have happened.

Practice ahead of time

One of the best things you can possibly do to prepare is to make sure you are comfortable using Zoom or Skype before the actual interview. Much like interview questions, it’s always best to practice ahead of time. Handle a video chat job interview like you would an in-person by making sure you can be there!

Keep in mind that the main goal is still the same: to show that you’re the right person for the job. Preparation is key for a video job interview just like an in-person interview. Make the connection and show you’re the one they need!

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