How to ace your video job interview

Video conference interviews are becoming more commonplace, and it's easy to see why; video job interviews are often more convenient, saving both time and money. Here are some great tips on what to do when you are invited to a video interview; from how to look good in a video job interview to video interview etiquette.

March 24, 2015

1. Make Yourself Comfortable

The most important video interview tip! It goes without saying that you should prepare for a video interview in exactly the same way you would a regular interview. But instead of planning your journey or working out timings, take time to make sure you are familiar with the video conferencing application you will be using. This includes checking that you can be seen and heard clearly over video. Generally, only your upper body should be visible so position your camera accordingly, facing you straight on. Technical glitches during your interview could fluster you, so if you are not familiar with video conferencing, try to get a few practice calls with friends and family in first. You’ll be video calling like a pro in no time! Once you are comfortable with the video conferencing application, you can concentrate on honing your video interview technique.

2. Follow Video Interview Etiquette

Normal interview rules apply, but there are a couple of additional things to consider for video interviews. When arranging your video interview, be sure to establish who will be video calling whom. This will avoid any call clashes and confusion. Turn off your mobile phone! It’s easy to forget, especially if your video interview is at home. It’s best to keep your mobile well away so you are not distracted. The same applies for email, if you are likely to get a notification that will distract you, close the program for the duration of the video interview call. Listen carefully. One of the issues with some non-professional video systems or software such as Skype, is a tendency towards latency or delays in sound, which could make it seem as though you are talking over your interviewer. Avoid this by leaving a slight pause to be sure your interviewer has finished talking. If you do miss something because of poor sound quality, don’t try and wing it! Just ask your interviewer to repeat the question if you are unsure.

3. Look Your Best

Looking good on a video call is easy if you follow a couple of simple rules. Wear formal clothing, just as you would for a regular interview, and steer clear of  busy prints and patterns or oranges and reds that might cause glare. Don’t forget body language! Sit up straight and keep a check on what your hands are doing, keep them away from your face so as not to make it difficult for the other person to see you or hear what you are saying. Find your light. Unnecessary shadows may make it difficult to see you. If you are using a webcam and do not have enough natural light, placing a lamp behind your computer often does the trick. Work your angles. If you are using a laptop with a built-in camera, try placing it on a stand or stack of books so you can tilt it down towards you for a more flattering angle. If you have no built-in camera, you can buy a 1080p HD USB/webcam camera fairly cheaply, or borrow one from a friend. What about where to look on your video call? A common piece of advice is to look straight into the camera. However, this means you will actually be missing visual cues from your interviewer, and you could end up looking a little vacant and uninterested. A better tip is just to face your screen, be natural and relaxed while keeping your head and body facing forwards at all times.

4. Optimize Your Environment

Decide where you will hold your video interview and make sure your surroundings are up to scratch. If you are using a video calling application with self-view functionality, use this to check what the person at the other end will see. Declutter your desk or table so the focus is on you, not what is around you, and make sure whatever is in the background is not too distracting. It’s best not to sit with a window behind you. Try and eliminate any background noises if possible, so make sure you are somewhere quiet where you are not likely to be interrupted. Tell those around you, friends or family, that you are on an important call and ask not to be disturbed until you are through. If you’re worried about broadband requirements affecting the quality of your call, try and minimize any applications you may have running that use up a lot of bandwidth.

5. Relax

Finally, though relaxing may seem the very hardest thing to do in any interview situation, do try to relax, be yourself and let your personality shine through. If you have done your preparation and know your stuff, it should be a breeze. Good luck!