A job interview can be daunting. But being asked to do an interview by video can be even more nerve-wracking — especially if you’ve never done one before. What’s the same? What’s different? How should you prepare? These video job interview tips will help you make a fantastic impression.
Why Are More Companies Switching to Video Interviews?
Recruiting requires two precious commodities for employers — time and money. Conducting an interview via video reduces the overall costs incurred.
Some companies use video interviews only during the initial rounds, preferring to short-list candidates before hosting in-person interviews. Others, especially those that hire remote workers, may never meet the candidate in person, conducting the entire hiring process virtually.
Whether your video interview is the first step in a longer process or the one shot you have at getting your dream job, it’s important to set yourself up for success.
Tips for the Next Job Interview
The following are some general job interview tips that can help you ace your next interview in person, by phone or via video.
- Do Your Research. Find out everything you can about the company and the specific position you’re applying for before the interview. Search for recent news online, check out the company page on their website, read their press releases, and follow the company on social media. This will allow you to ask more insightful questions about the position and demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm to the interviewer.
- Dress for Success. A wrinkled shirt or a stained tie doesn’t scream “great employee.” Make sure that your outfit is clean and pressed, you’re appropriately groomed, and you’re dressed for the environment that you’ll be working in. If you’re not sure what to wear, search for photos of the office and employees on the company’s website and social media pages. This can give you a clue about the office culture. When in doubt, always dress up, not down.
- Watch Your (Body) Language. Your body speaks nearly as loudly as your mouth. If you’re slouched in your seat, staring at the ceiling instead of your interviewer, constantly fidgeting or tapping your foot, you’re unconsciously making a poor impression. Sit up straight, make eye contact, and keep your hands folded on your lap or placed in front of you. If possible, practice in front of a mirror or conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member before the actual interview. Ask for feedback on your body language, then practice making the necessary adjustments.
- Ask Questions. Although you should be prepared to answer plenty of questions, don’t forget to ask some, too. While topics like salary and benefits should be off the table in initial interviews, you may want to ask about workplace culture, job duties, how you’ll be evaluated, and what challenges you might face.
The Virtual Job Interview: Prepare and Avoid Missteps
While you should follow our job interview tips in general when preparing for the interview, there are some specific considerations if you’re interviewing via video-chat services:
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings. In a video interview, you’re effectively inviting the interviewer into your home or office, so you need to prepare as you would for any important guest. Be sure the area where you’ll be sitting is clean. Business Insider recommends checking behind you in case there’s an embarrassing poster or immature selection of books on display. Ideally, a plain wall is best for a background. It may help to take a photo of the area and have a fresh pair of eyes look at it. You may not notice the clutter on the shelf to your left or the dusty picture frame on your desk, but to your interviewer, it looks unprofessional. Good lighting is also important as you want the interviewer to be able to see you clearly.
- Eliminate Distractions. A dog barking in the background, a cell phone ringing, or children slamming doors can be distracting to you and the interviewer. Schedule the interview at a time when you can be alone in the house, close the doors and windows, silence all electronic devices, and put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the front door, if necessary.
- Test Your Equipment. Know what program or software the interviewer plans to use and familiarize yourself with it in advance. Test your webcam, microphone, and any other equipment you’ll need to use. An hour before the interview, schedule a test chat with a friend or colleague to make sure everything is in working condition.
- Invest in a Wireless Headset. The microphones on most computers are notorious for sounding choppy, picking up background noise, and creating an echoing effect. Invest in a good quality USB or wireless headset that will allow you to speak and hear clearly.
It’s completely normal to feel nervous about an upcoming interview. Preparing yourself ahead of time, soliciting feedback from friends and colleagues, and familiarizing yourself with practical job interview tips can help you feel more at ease so you walk into the interview feeling prepared and you leave confident you’ve created a positive first impression!
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