Video interviews have become more popular over the last few years, with many companies now conducting at least the initial screening interview via video conferencing software.
While video interviews provide convenience and flexibility, they also come with their unique challenges. Without proper preparation, it's easy to make simple mistakes that can cost you the job.
In this guide, we provide actionable tips and strategies to help you optimize every aspect of your video interview performance. Follow our advice to present yourself as a polished, professional candidate and land more job offers.
Optimize Your Physical Environment
The backdrop and setting of your video interview matter more than you might think. Be deliberate in choosing a quiet, tidy, distraction-free environment to conduct your interview. A clean, organized space demonstrates professionalism and respect for the interviewer.
Here are some tips to optimize your physical setup:
Choose a well-lit room with soft, diffused light. Natural light from a window works best. Avoid harsh overhead lighting or bare bulbs, which can cause shadows or glare.
Minimize background noise by turning off loud appliances like fans or TVs. Close windows and doors to keep external sounds at bay. Silence your phone and notifications.
Clear clutter, piles of laundry, or dishes from the visible background to present a tidy, distraction-free area. An organized space helps keep you focused as well.
Place your camera at eye level, approximately an arm's length away. Looking down into the camera is unflattering, and looking up distorts your face.
Position yourself centrally in the frame with an attractive but simple backdrop like a blank wall, plants, or tasteful artwork. Make sure you are nicely framed in the shot.
Paying attention to these environmental factors ensures you make the best possible first impression and have optimal conditions to concentrate on your interview performance.
Ensure Technological Reliability
A video interview is only as good as the quality of the audio and visual feed. Before your interview, double-check your internet connection equipment setup and troubleshoot any potential tech issues:
Test your internet speed and connect to the fastest available network. Turn off other WiFi-connected devices to optimize bandwidth. Plug directly into your router if the connection is shaky.
Use a laptop or desktop computer rather than a phone or tablet for the best video quality. Make sure your camera, microphone, and speakers are working perfectly.
Close unnecessary programs and browser tabs to devote processing power to the video software. Disable antivirus scans and software updates during your interview.
Ensure adequate lighting by facing a light source and avoiding backlighting, which will silhouette you. Proper lighting enables your face to be seen clearly.
Check audio levels and adjust mic volume as needed. Use a headset for optimal sound if available. Make sure to mute yourself when not speaking.
By proactively avoiding tech problems, you can focus on your interview responses rather than troubleshooting last-minute glitches.
Thoroughly Research the Role and Company
Any good interview prep process includes learning about the company, role, and interviewers. For a video interview, this is especially important as you won't have visual cues from an office environment.
Come armed with plenty of context through research:
Review the company's website, press releases, blog, and social media to gain key insights about products/services, culture, mission, and values.
Look up your interviewers on LinkedIn to understand their roles, backgrounds, and how you may intersect. Customize your responses with interviewers in mind.
Study the job description in detail, highlighting key skills and requirements. Be prepared to explain precisely how you meet each.
Search news articles about the company better to understand challenges, competitors, and industry trends. Reference pain points they face.
Prepare questions that demonstrate your understanding of and enthusiasm for the company. Video interviews still provide opportunities for a two-way conversation.
Thinking through how you precisely fit the role and align with the company makes your responses more compelling, relevant, and thoughtful.
Master Body Language and Communication
Your nonverbal communication in a video interview carries just as much impact as it would in person. Convey self-assurance, interest, and a professional demeanor through your body language, facial expression, and vocal tone.
Focus on sitting up straight, making eye contact with the camera, nodding occasionally, and speaking clearly and warmly.
These tips will help you make a great impression in your video interview.
Maintain good posture by sitting up straight. Avoid slouching or resting your elbows on the desk. Keep your hands still rather than fidgeting.
Make consistent eye contact by looking directly into the camera when answering questions. This builds rapport even through a video call.
Nod, smile, and use affirmative gestures like "thumbs up" to demonstrate active listening. Humans respond positively to visual feedback cues.
Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Nerves can lead candidates to rush responses and slur words. Pausing prevents rambling.
Convey enthusiasm and interest through your vocal inflections and facial expressions. Avoid monotone delivery and rely on your "smize" or smiling eyes.
Mastering your physical presence and communication skills takes practice but makes a stellar impression. Set up a mock video interview with a friend for feedback.
Dress Professionally From Head to Toe
Take care to present yourself as polished and professional through your visible attire in your video interview. While business formal isn't required, avoid casual clothing that detracts from your qualifications.
Stick to traditional business attire like blazers, blouses, trousers, and below-the-knee skirts. Solid colors and minimal patterns perform best on camera.
Make sure clothing fits appropriately, and wrinkles are steamed out. Ill-fitting garments look sloppy.
Style your hair neatly and tame flyaways. Apply light makeup to avoid washed-out skin. Care for your nails.
Wear pants or opaque tights rather than bare legs. Be mindful of necklines and loose, unsupportive tops, which can dip inappropriately on camera.
Dress shoes look most professional. Avoid casual sneakers, open-toed sandals, or flashy styles. Make sure your socks match your pants.
While only your top half may be visible, dress professionally from head to toe. You never know when you may need to stand up on camera unexpectedly.
Arrive Early to Ensure a Smooth Start
Punctuality for a video interview is just as crucial as for an in-person meeting. Additionally, logging in early can avoid unnecessary stress:
Confirm the timing in your calendar invitation and set a reminder on your phone, email, or calendar leading up to the meeting.
Test the video conferencing link ahead of time and ensure you have the latest version of the software downloaded. Troubleshoot any issues early.
Log into the meeting room 5-10 minutes early and make sure your camera, microphone, and internet are running smoothly.
Use the extra minutes to do a final tech check, neaten your appearance, and have a glass of water so you can take your time before the interview starts.
Take a few deep breaths to center yourself before your interviewer joins the call. Being in a relaxed, focused state will prevent nerves.
You never want to be frantically troubleshooting tech issues or making your interviewer wait as the meeting start time passes. Allow enough lead time in your schedule to get settled in.
Follow Up Professionally After the Interview
Just like an in-person interview, following up after a video interview is essential. Send a thank you email within 24 hours, reiterating your interest and fit for the role.
Highlight one or two items you enjoyed discussing, or that stood out to you about the company. Keep the note brief but personalized. Correctly spelling your interviewer's name builds rapport.
If you are still waiting to hear back after the timeline suggested, follow up again politely. Sometimes, emails get lost in the shuffle. Avoid pestering excessively, though.
If you receive a rejection, respond graciously, thanking them for the opportunity. You may request feedback about areas for improvement for future interviews.
Following up demonstrates polished communication skills and perseverance to serve you well in your job search. Don't let a video interview limit your ability to connect post-interview.
What if I lose my internet connection during the video interview?
Immediately inform your interviewer by phone and request to reschedule due to technical difficulties. Failing to communicate quickly reflects poorly.
Can I have notes with me off-camera?
While you can have notes available, refrain from obvious excessive referring to them. Use them subtly to jog your memory, not read verbatim responses.’
How should I address multiple interviewers?
Make eye contact with each interviewer as you respond, especially when they are speaking. Using their names helps you direct responses without seeming distant.
Video interviews need not instill fear or limit your ability to perform at your best. With deliberate preparation and practice, you can present yourself as a polished candidate. Optimize factors in your control like your setup, research, attire, and communication style while managing potential technology issues smoothly.
Remember to follow up professionally after the interview as well. With these best practices for video interview success, you can ace your following virtual job interview and get hired!