You may have ended up here reading this because you’re thinking it’s time to improve your video interviewing skills and need some video interview practice.
Having a successful video interview seems pretty easy though, right? Well, not really…
A lot more can go south in a video interview than an in-person interview simply because there are more technical factors that contribute to everything running smoothly.
We have created a list of tips to help ensure these technical factors are planned for accordingly so all you have to worry about is being yourself and ‘wowing’ the hiring manager!
Check Your Internet Speed and Computer Battery Life
Making sure you have a quality connection is the first step in having a successful video interview. If your video is appearing to be pixelated you should invest in increasing your networks bandwidth. Even if that is just for a temporary amount of time, it is well worth it. Google offers a simple and free internet speed test. Checking this before your interview can help determine if you need to make any upgrades.
This seems like an obvious one, but make sure your battery life isn’t at 10% or something. Make sure to have a fully charged laptop going into the interview. Or take the extra safe step and find an outlet that you can have your laptop plugged into while you are interviewing.
Find an Appropriate Background
I’m going to make this simple, DO NOT upload a picture and use it as a backdrop on your video call. This is very unprofessional and distorts the quality of your own video feed. Find a well-lit background (not too bright) that is simple, free of clutter and distractions such as a TV, and can capture the attention of your interviewer(s). You want the hiring manager to be focused on YOU, not your background.
Following this, it is in your best interest to not have a window as your background. The light over-exposes the screen and as a result, will make you appear dark and sometimes unrecognizable.
Adjust Your Lighting
Rule of thumb for having correct lighting in a video interview: Your face needs to be the most “lit up” object on the screen. The way you do this is by having a soft light in front of your face and have the background behind you a little darker. Facing a window is always a good idea. Lume Cube makes an affordable clip-on light that attaches to laptops, providing ample lighting for video interviewing.
Sit the Appropriate Distance Away & Have Eye Level Camera
Even though this is a video interview, you still want to give the interviewer some “personal space”. Do not sit a few inches away from your screen, make the video feed look normal, and take a seat about 2 feet away from your camera. When viewing your laptop screen or monitor, ensure that there is a little space between the top of your head and top of the video screen. This will allow for proper spacing for your video interview.
Run a Practice Test
“Practice makes perfect”… you’ve heard it a million times. This heavily applies in video interviewing, however.
So grab a friend, start a video call, and go over this simple checklist:
- Joining the Video Call – this may sound self-explanatory, but make sure you know how to work the video call software so you are not late to your interview
- Video Check – get rid of any glares, make sure the exposure is right
- Audio Check – make sure you are not echoing or sound too loud/soft
- Network Check – is your internet-capable of doing an hour-long video call? Are others using this internet simultaneously?
Generally, there is a waiting room that is equipped with a video call. USE THIS. Join the call about 3-4 minutes early and wait for the interviewer to officially launch the broadcast.
You wouldn’t want to be too early or late to an in-person interview or even a phone interview…so treat this the same way. 3-5 mins early typically works well.
Facial Expressions & Nodding
A downside of video interviewing is that within the conversation a lot of necessary nonverbal communication – body language, and eye contact – is either invisible or difficult to fully perceive. For example, you don’t want your interviewer wondering if your video feed is frozen since you are not moving your head or showing any facial expressions.
One way to make up for these lost nonverbal cues is by showing facial expressions and nodding your head while the interviewer talks. This reassures the person on the other end that you are invested in what they saying.
Another good practice is to look directly into the camera most of the time. You should be able to use your mouse to “drag” the video of your interviewers towards the camera which can help to keep your eyes focused on both your camera and the interviewer. You want to give a clear visual signal of full attention and focus.
Let the Interviewer COMPLETELY Stop Talking Before Responding
This is a very common issue in video interviewing. Yes, in a real-life situation you should wait for someone to quit talking before you begin speaking. But in video calling, the pause between when the interviewer stops talking and you begin talking needs to be a slightly more extended pause than in real life.
This is because of the video lag and other technicalities. If you jump in with your response too soon, the system may mute the mic of the other person and totally cut them off. Such an interaction could come off as rude or at least a little awkward. Just as importantly, you may miss something significant that the other person said.
Use Video To Your Advantage
There is a big advantage to video interviewing: The interviewer cannot see what is behind your computer screen!
Leverage this opportunity to help keep it organized. Perhaps:
- set aside your notes, questions you’ll want to ask, lists of relevant/significant accomplishments, and other pertinent information
- have your resume visible
- have background information on the interviewers and company you are pursuing
Let the Interviewer End the Meeting
Now that your interview has gone as smoothly as possible and you can tell that it is coming to a conclusion, let the interviewer be the one to ‘officially’ end the video call. It is considered polite and it makes ensures you did not miss anything the interviewer may have had to say before signing off.