Video Interview - How to Ace It [2019]

January 9
6 min read

How to Ace a Video Interview 

Video interviews are widely used today as a substitute to, or prior to, an in-person interview. If the position you are applying for is based in another city or the hiring manager is located somewhere else, a video interview can be critical to the interview process.

Maybe you’ve already read our tips for acing a phone interview, but you also need to be prepared for a potential video interview. With updated technology at our fingertips, video interviews are more widely used instead of a phone interview, and hiring managers jump at the opportunity to see potential candidates and connect with them before bringing them in for an in-person interview.

Since this is becoming a common practice in the interview process, you will need to be prepared to face a video interview for any job, and ensure you have the resources and technology available to ace the interview successfully.

Video interviews are very similar to in-person, so you need to be just as prepared and ready as you would be for an in-person interview. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you are getting ready for your video interview. 

video interview tips

Top Video Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Describe your ideal work environment
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  5. Why do you want to work for our company?

#1) Check Your Surroundings

The most important thing to remember about a video interviewer is that the hiring manager can see you, and they can also see what’s around you. You need to be careful when choosing a location to conduct your video interview.

The background should be a plain color, with no busy patterns that be visually displeasing or distracting for the interviewer. The location needs to be a quiet place, free from background noise and any potential distractions. Remove your pet or your children from the room and never choose a public place like a coffee shop as that will produce a substantial amount of background noise.

Source: giphy.com

Make sure to check the lighting ahead of time and stay away from windows that might create harsh shadows. You want to showcase yourself in the best way possible, and that includes making sure that you appear visible on the camera and that your body is framed correctly, with your shoulders in the frame.

You don't want to look like a close-up face, so sit far enough away so that your upper body is visible. You can keep your resume and notes in front of you if you absolutely need them, but don't make it a habit of looking down or reviewing your notes constantly.

The key to the video interview is developing a personal connection with the person on the other side and showing how you are the best person for the job, which all starts with the right location. 

#2) Prepare Your Equipment

Perhaps the most important thing about a video interview is making sure that your equipment is working correctly. There's nothing worse than getting disconnected or having a spotty internet connection that doesn't allow the hiring manager to see or hear you correctly.

Test your video and microphone before the interview, so you know everything is working. If possible, ask a friend to video chat with you using the platform you will be using for the interview.

There are so many options today, from Google Hangouts to Skype, that offer video capabilities, so you want to ensure you have the proper account access and the software works before the interview.

Generally, you will want to use an ethernet cord to guarantee that you will have a reliable internet connection throughout the interview. If you are using wi-fi, make sure other people in your residence are not using the internet for activities like streaming television or doing other activities that require a high internet connection.

Close all open web browsers that might be using the wi-fi, so they don’t cause distractions or affect your connection. If the lighting is terrible in the location you choose, you will want to position a few lamps beside your computer so that the hiring manager can clearly see your face.

Make sure to position your webcam at eye level or a bit higher, so you are looking right at the hiring manager and not down at them. Ensuring your equipment is working is a critical step in acing your video interview. 

#3) Conduct Yourself Like You’re In-Person

Even though it’s a video interview, you need to treat it like an in-person interview. You’ll want to dress appropriately for the position you are seeking. If the office you will be working in values professional attire, you should wear a suit for the video interview.

You might be tempted to wear something comfortable like sweatpants on your bottom half since the interviewer will never see that part of you. You want to avoid this and dress completely. When you have a full outfit on, you will act more professional than you might if you’re wearing casual clothing.

Watch the interviewer for any visual cues they are sending you. Feed off their energy and express your enthusiasm for the position as if you were speaking to them in-person.

Try to establish a connection with the person who is interviewing you. Now is the time, when you can see them, to showcase how articulate and professional you are to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the position. 

#4) Conquer Your Body Language

During a video interview, the way you appear on the screen is very important. Be sure to sit up straight with both feet on the floor, so you look alert and professional. You might fidget when you're nervous, but it's important to refrain from these activities as it will be distracting to the interviewer.

Keep your hands on your lap or on your desk and don’t shake or sway from side to side. One of the most significant things you can do during a video interview is to maintain eye contact.

You’ll probably want to stare at the screen or even glance at your appearance on the screen, but when you are talking to the interviewer, you should be looking directly at them. It might feel odd at first, but you need to look directly at the camera while you are speaking to your interviewer, so they see that you’re looking directly at them.

If this makes you feel uncomfortable, practice talking to the camera in advance of your interview, so you are more at ease. It’s equally as important to smile and remain personable throughout the meeting. Don't scare them off by smiling constantly, but act like you would in person and express your passion for the position you are seeking. 

#5) End Strong

The way you end the video interview will set the stage for the next steps, so make sure you end on a high note. If you don’t have the interviewer’s email address, ask for it now so you can send a thank you note.

Then follow up after the interview, not immediately but a few hours later, to thank them again for their time, recap any high points of the discussion and restate your enthusiasm about taking the interview process to the next step. 

Video interviews can be overwhelming at first, but with these tips, you'll be armed with the tools you need to ace the interview and get one step closer to securing the position of your dreams.  

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