Preparation For Your Video Interview

Congratulations on your upcoming video interview.  If you are wondering what to expect or what is expected, here are a few pointers to make it successful!

  • Research the company.
  • Review the job description and create a list of how your qualifications match the job requirements. Memorize the list, but also have it close in case you need to look.  Tape it to the wall if you are afraid of forgetting something.
  • Prepare and practice answers to common interview questions.
  • Create a list of questions to ask.
  • Print your resume and have it in front of you. Keep your resume in clear view so it’s at your fingertips if the interviewer asks a specific question (Can you provide more detail about bullet #3?)
  • Have a pad of paper and pen ready to take notes.

Now, let’s get ready for the video interview itself:

1.      Know your videoconferencing tool. Download the app for your ipad/phone, install the software on your computer, or practice the web application. Practice logging in, setting up, see how long it takes to get started. It is also important to test your video and audio, but be prepared for the inevitable technology glitch and be flexible to transitioning to a phone interview if this happens. If you do not have the direct line for the interviewer, I’d suggest requesting that from your recruiter or via e-mail the day before the video interview. If you are unable to get it before, ask in the first few minutes of the video conference (“In case we get disconnected, what is a good phone number for me to reach you on?”). Interviews are stressful, but this can prevent some unnecessary stress. It also demonstrates your leadership ability and that you are not only taking it seriously, but that you are thinking ahead.

2.      Dress to impress. This is an interview. You should wear the same attire that you would for an in-person interview. Choose conservative clothing (black, navy, charcoal) and minimize patterns. While the camera angle should only show you from the waist up, avoid the temptation to dress casually or mismatch out of the camera view – you never know when something might come up that will require you to stand up.

3.      Know where you should look. Your camera should be positioned at eye level and not too close and not too far away. You should not be holding your phone or device. When you are talking, you should primarily look at the camera. When you are listening, you should primarily watch the candidate/screen. I say primarily, because to get a balance, you should consciously look at both the camera and the candidate. If you only look at the screen while you are talking, the candidate loses important eye contact. If you only look at the camera, then you miss important non-verbal cues from the candidate. Speaking of non-verbal communication, don’t forget yours…smile (a lot), nod in agreement, take notes, etc. 

4.      Have a professional background. Whether you are conducting this interview from a home office, kitchen table, or make sure the background is clean and as minimal as possible. Try to mimic an actual interview with a conference room vibe. You do not want the hiring manager to distracted during the interview by looking at a shelf of knick-knacks, posters, or anything moving. I’d also recommend a room where you can control the lighting. If you are in a room with windows, the lighting during different parts of the day could be an added variable. I advise a desk/table, a chair, and a blank wall or perhaps a simple bookshelf…and don’t forget to have a tablet for taking notes. Given those pointers, it is probably obvious, but I do not recommend conducting a phone interview in your vehicle. If that is the only option, notify the interviewer in advance. 

5.      Minimize Distractions. Notify the family and corral the pets to prevent the unexpected interruption. Remove all clutter from view. Turn off all alerts, notifications, and reminders. The last thing you want to do is be distracted by an incoming message on your device. For those of you with smart watches, we advise you to remove those during video (and other) interviews.

6.      Send a thank-you note. Stand out from the crowd. Did you know that only 10% of applicants send a thank you note? If you do not have their e-mail addresses, ask before the interview is over.