Ace Your Video Interview with These 6 Tips

Recruiters and hiring managers increasingly rely on video interviews to screen job candidates. After all, video conferencing is easy to set up and inexpensive—plus, it improves on screening by phone interview because it allows recruiters to visually see candidates and assess body language and presentation skills. It also makes it easier to interview candidates in distant locations. If you haven't been interviewed by video yet, it's only a matter of time. Keep these six tips in mind to wow recruiters during video interviews.

video interview

1. Test your set-up ahead of time

Five minutes before an interview isn't the ideal time to download the necessary video conferencing software to your computer. This will be the time you forget your admin password or your computer freezes. Avoid this disaster by checking your computer to make sure you have the proper platform (Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.) installed as soon as you receive meeting login instructions from the recruiter. Once the software is installed, test your sound and Internet connection. You'll be nervous enough on interview day without technical issues to solve.

2. Choose a professional, well-lit background

Determine ahead of time where you'll conduct the video interview. Choose a professional-looking, uncluttered background—you don't want the interviewer to see a messy kitchen counter or questionable college-era posters behind you.

Also, check the lighting in your chosen location at the same time of day as your interview. You'll want to avoid sitting in front of a window because that will turn you into a silhouette. Your best bet is to sit beside a window or a lamp that will light your surroundings but not create weird shadows.

3. Shut your pet in another room to avoid a guest appearance

Pets have an innate ability to interrupt at the most inopportune times. Your cat might decide to take a stroll across the keyboard, or your normally quiet pup could start barking like crazy. Either one would distract from your first impression, so take precautions.

Similarly, if you have small children in your home, arrange for a babysitter so you can shut yourself in a quiet room with no distractions.

4. Aim for good eye contact

Have you noticed no one really looks good looking down at a laptop webcam? No matter how fit you are, that angle is guaranteed to produce double chins. You don't need to go full-on selfie with your angle, but try setting your computer on a monitor stand or even a stack of books so the camera is at eye level. (If you still have telephone books kicking around, they would be ideal). This will help the interview experience feel more conversational.

5. Avoid the temptation to skip wearing pants

We've all heard about blazer-sporting TV anchors who wear shorts and sneakers under the news desk, but it's best to leave those shenanigans to the professionals. Even though the hiring manager can't see you're wearing pajama pants, this is the time to dress for the job you want, not be a prankster. If you're wearing professional attire from head to toe, you will feel more professional and be more likely to project the right level of confidence for the job.

6. Say thank you

Just as you would with any other type of interview, end the conversation by thanking the interviewers for their time, and follow up with a thank-you email or even a handwritten note. It's amazing how many candidates skip this simple act of courtesy, which not only goes a long way but also gives you an opportunity to continue the conversation with follow-up questions.

Video interviews add a new twist to the hiring process, for sure—but don't let them phase you. With some preparation, you'll be the star.

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