Contributed by LiveCareer
At least 50 percent of the nation’s employment managers now use video interviewing at some point in their screening process. Yet, most job seekers are less than confident in their onscreen interviewing skills. Luckily, you can start preparing for your first video interview before you even land one. And if you have one lined up already, well…awesome! Take the below tips into consideration as you get ready.
- Prep Your Tech
Consider setting up profiles on one or more commonly used video interviewing sites, such as Skype or Zoom. Make sure you use a straightforward username (one that adheres as closely as possible to your actual name) and upload a high-resolution, professional-looking picture of yourself.
- Research the Employer
Before your interview, review the job description and highlight relevant past experience. Research the company’s mission statement and recent innovations and developments as you prepare questions for your interviewer. Preparation will make you feel calmer and more confident, qualities that will be apparent to the interviewer.
Remember that you are vetting your potential employer as they vet you. If you ask about things that matter to you—and if your questions demonstrate that you’ve done your homework on the organization—the interviewer will know you are serious about the position.
3. Look Your Best
Check out the employer’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed to try to gauge how employees dress. Is the company’s culture casual, formal, or somewhere in between? If you’re uncertain, remember that it is better to be a bit overdressed than it is to appear too casual.
Once you’ve decided what to wear, dress the part from head to toe. It’s tempting to wear yoga pants and slippers when you’re interviewing from the comfort of your own home (and thinking that you won’t be seen from the waist down), but life and technology are unpredictable. You may have to stand up during the interview to adjust your monitor or shut the door. Wearing appropriate attire, from shoes to collar, will affect your demeanor and posture for the better. Avoid wearing white—more on this below.
- Control Your Setting
Find a room with a door you can shut, and notify anyone else in the space that you should not be disturbed. Carve out more time than you think you will need and be ready at least 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Make sure the desk and the space around you look professional and uncluttered.
If you can, avoid sitting in front of a white wall. You run the risk of washing yourself out of the picture when sitting against a white backdrop. White shirts should be avoided for the same reason. Avoid dim lighting, and aim for clear, bright lighting.
- Test Your Equipment
Before the interview begins, test the interview app to make sure it works on your system, and be sure you have plenty of battery power (if you’re not going to be plugged in) and a strong web connection.
Clean the camera lens and position your webcam at eye level so that you do not appear to be looking up or down at your interviewer. Experiment with the webcam angle to find the framing that makes you feel most comfortable. Consider starting with an angle that frames you from about mid-torso to the top of your head, and adjust from there (if necessary).
- Sound Your Best
Keep the sound muted until the interview begins and consider muting yourself when you’re not talking. Using a headset or ear buds can eliminate echo for those on the other end.
Don’t talk at the speed of light in an attempt to pack all your ideas and experience into each possible answer—you’ll sound rushed and nervous if you do this. Also keep in mind that internet transmission tends to be slower than a real-world interaction, so try to talk just slightly slower than you would in person, especially if you are a fast talker.
- Project Poise
Video magnifies small ticks that might be overlooked in person, so remain poised. If you’ve never done a video interview before, consider practicing with a friend ahead of time. Make sure you are happy with your hair so you won’t be tempted to adjust it. The same goes for your glasses, tie, scarf, or collar. Fidgeting will make you look uncomfortable and may also muffle the sound.
If you’ve been laid off or have gaps in your resume, anticipate questions on these topics, rehearse honest answers, and don’t get flustered. If you are (or become) a finalist for the job, the truth regarding a prior layoff or resume gap will come out. Present your side of the layoff or resume gap with poise and candor, and without badmouthing a past employer.
- Video Etiquette
Before your interview begins, close out all other windows on your computer, and disable all alerts, so that your eyes don’t dart around your screen. If you glance at your phone during your interview, the person on the other side of the screen will be able to tell, and it will project a lack of interest. To avoid the temptation, turn off your phone or place it in another room.
Don’t look at the mini version of yourself on the screen, or at the person asking the questions. Instead, look at the webcam. By focusing on the webcam, you will actually appear to be looking at the interviewer.
Don’t begin answering a question until the interviewer has finished talking. Nod when the question is complete and wait a beat before beginning your response.
Finally, remember to say thank you at the end of the interview, re-express your interest in the position and the company, and note that you hope to hear more soon. That’s it!
LiveCareer offers a treasure trove of materials to aid jobseekers in their journeys towards dream jobs. Interested in learning more about how to bring your A game to an interview? Check out our Interview Game Plan for all sorts of helpful materials, including a free video on interviewing basics, plus strategy docs and downloadable worksheets that will assist you with putting your plan in action.