As you probably already know, video interviews are becoming increasingly popular. You will most likely experience at least one video during your job search, so I want to help you prepare with these 8 practical tips to crush it in your next video interview.
Video interviews are actually beginning to replace phone interviews because you can tell so much more about a person when you can see them. It provides far more insight into a person compared to just hearing their voice over the phone. There’s so much that goes into body language, being able to read somebody’s face and just seeing how they present themselves. It’s as good as it gets compared to being in person. So, are you ready to dive into these 8 strategies? You can continue reading along with this article, or watch the video below.
The 8 Best Tips to Crush It in Your Next Video Interview
Tip #1: Download the Necessary Technology
Before your interview is actually confirmed, I want you to download whatever application they say you need. Whether it’s Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or any other software technology, you want to make sure that you download it well in advance so that you can iron out any technical difficulties. It will also allow you to get familiar with the interface so you’re not fumbling around with the controls during your interview. This is so important, but I know a lot of candidates don’t actually take the time to figure this out ahead of time. Then when it comes to the actual interview, they get completely thrown off their game. Since they’re unfamiliar with the technology, they subsequently have to spend their energy on troubleshooting and logistics instead of the content of the interview. Let’s just remove all the technical questions that will inevitably come up by just having a practice run on your own to sort out any issues.
Tip #2: Conduct a Mock Interview
In addition to playing around with whatever software platform they’re utilizing, I actually want you to practice being on camera and being interviewed. Whether you’re doing a mock interview with a friend or a partner, have them throw out a couple of questions at you. This way you can actually get comfortable and familiar with sharing your answers on camera- and you can practice where you’re looking as well. The most important thing for you is to get comfortable with this method of interviews because again, it’s becoming so widely popular, so the more practice you get, the more prepared you’ll be. Just like with anything in life! If you want to take your preparation a step further and are interested in conducting a full mock interview with me, you can learn more about it here. During the session, you’ll receive real and honest feedback as well as help with crafting your answers.
Tip #3: Maintain Eye Contact
How do you make eye contact with a webcam, you ask? Admittedly, it’s a little bit different. I’ve had a lot of candidates struggle with this in our mock interviews, admitting they’re not exactly sure where to look. And it’s understandable, given that I’m not directly in front of them. But there is a strategy you can follow to make sure you appear attentive and connected.
Being that you’re looking at a computer screen covered in windows, tabs, and boxes, (several different faces may even be on your screen) your eyes might shift from time to time. This is totally normal! But when someone is speaking to you, regardless of where the person actually is located on your screen, you’re going to always maintain locked eye contact with wherever they are situated on the screen when they’re speaking. The goal of this is to make it clear to them that you are focused on that one person, and you can show this by making sure your eyes don’t wander but instead, stay locked on the same spot. Technically, the people on the other side of the camera have no idea where their faces are located on your screen. So just look at them in their eyes, wherever they are on your screen, and make sure that you’re holding that eye contact.
RELATED: THE MOST UNDERRATED INTERVIEW TIP
When you’re the one speaking and it’s your turn to answer questions or ask a question, you actually want to look directly into the lens on your webcam, wherever it is positioned. Typically you want to be about eye- level with your lens, so you might have to practice with this positioning again as you’re doing the mock interview. I know it can be difficult to look directly into the camera, as the natural tendency for us can be to look at our own image on the screen. But if you can train yourself to look at the camera lens, that’s really helpful.
One helpful trick for those getting started conducting video interviews is putting a picture of somebody next to their lens. You can actually tape a picture of somebody that you’re really comfortable with next to the camera. And that way as you’re answering your questions, it’s almost like you’re looking at that person every time you speak, and since it’s directly next to the lens it will appear as if you’re looking into the lens itself.
Tip #4: Make Sure You Have Ample Lighting
It’s extremely important to be well-lit during a video interview. Ideally, you should be facing a window so as to light up your entire face and background clearly. You definitely don’t want to be backlit- meaning your window is behind you- as this will cause the background of your video to become washed out with bright light, and your face will appear darker and less clear. If you don’t have an accessible window, just make sure you have an appropriate light that can be positioned so that it shines on the entirety of your face. You don’t want the primary light source only hitting the side of your face or coming from behind you.
This is going to be really important to think about ahead of time because depending on the time of your interview, the sun will be in a different position. Whatever time your interview is scheduled for, I would recommend you practice one or two days beforehand to be sure your positioning provides the perfect lighting during that time of day.
Another thing you can do is purchase an inexpensive ring light or something similar. There are a lot of cheap alternatives to a full-on lighting kit that most video production companies will have. You can easily find a small clamp-on ring light for less than $15 on Amazon, which can come in handy not only for video interviews but also video calls in general.
Tip #5: Pay Attention to Your Background
The minute you turn on your webcam, the other person is taking in everything that they’re seeing. For this reason, I recommend having either a neutral background, meaning you just have a plain wall behind you, or you just have a really tidy background. You can have wall art that kind of demonstrates what your interests are or a shelf with your favorite books in view, it just needs to be tidy and organized.
In the past, I’ve had a lot of candidates actually tell me that their wall art or books in the background ended up being a really great icebreaker and conversational starter during their interview, helping them build rapport before the actual interview started. So you can definitely tastefully display a part of your home that fits within your personal brand, but always be as tidy and organized as possible. Remember, this is all part of your personal brand and your first impression.
Tip #6: Make Sure You’ll Have Uninterrupted Quiet
Make sure that you’re in an uninterrupted quiet space for the duration of your video interview. I know this one can be difficult sometimes, especially if you have roommates or live with family. But if you’re able to tell people in advance about your interview, that’s going to be really helpful. However, sometimes things will come up unexpectedly and there’s nothing you can do about it. for example, my dog loves to bark. Anytime I’m filming something, meeting with someone on an actual mock interview or a client call, it’s just like he knows it’s the worst time to bark. But one of the things that I will do instead of getting flustered or visibly frustrated and angry is I might just laugh it off by saying, “Oh, it looks like Kang Kang is also equally excited about this organization!”
A lot of the interview process is just seeing how do you conduct yourself when you’re under stress or when things don’t go accordingly to plan. There’s a stark difference between being flustered or angry, and laughing it off, trying to keep things light and carrying on with the conversation. A lot of interviewers know that you are conducting your interview from home. It’s okay to have unexpected things come up. Just make sure that you recognize and realize everything is being captured on camera and aim to roll with the punches as they come.
Tip #7: Dress As if You Were Going in for an In-Person Interview
It’s so important to dress and groom yourself just as you would if you were going into the actual physical interview. I know sometimes when we are interviewing from home, we might feel a little bit more casual and relaxed. But I just want to emphasize that this video interview is in lieu of that in-person interview. So everything that is being assessed as exactly the same, and the stakes are just as high. You want to make sure you’re presenting your best first impressions possible.
Even though there’s a temptation to dress nice only from the waist up since nobody will be seeing your lower half, I would actually recommend dressing in a full outfit. Confidence comes from the way that you feel and there’s a lot of power in the way that you dress. When you have on your heels or your best dress shoes, you’re going to just feel a lot more professional and polished and that’s going to carry through and project on camera.
Tip #8: Sit Up Straight and Smile!
If you can smile and maintain good posture during your interview, you’re going to be much more magnetic during this video interview. Especially because the camera, for whatever reason, amplifies everything. If you kind of move your hands when talking, the camera picks that up 10 times more than if you were to do it in person. Everything is just amplified that much more. So make sure you smile, because that’s going to help the other person feel more connected to you! These two simple things are the best and easiest ways to look more confident and polished.
As you prepare for your next video interview, implement these eight tips, because they will help you bring out the best version of yourself and make sure you’re connecting with that person on the other side of the screen. Best of luck to you in all your future video interviews!