How to Prepare for a Video Interview
Love it or hate it: The video interview is a staple of the modern job search. It's easy to take for granted, but there are still some important things you need to know before your next interview, whether it's in-person or over Skype
Love it or hate it: The video interview is a staple of the modern job search. It’s easy to take for granted, but there are still some important things you need to know before your next interview, whether it’s in-person or over Skype. If you’re not prepared when you sit down with your interviewer, you may miss out on a job offer—or even worse: lose out on the opportunity to network with someone who could really help your career. Remember, the elevator pitch: You have 10 seconds or less to make a great impression. A video interview is not much different from this.
Set up a stress-free space.
Before you even think about how to interview, you need to prepare the physical environment in which your video interview will take place. You want to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible while doing these interviews because they can be stressful enough without having to worry about whether or not your webcam is facing the right direction or if there are enough outlets in your room for multiple devices. Here’s what I recommend:
- Find a quiet space with minimal distractions (noise from outside, people walking behind you etc.).
- Make sure that the lighting is flattering for everyone on camera with natural light coming through windows if possible—the less artificial lights used during filming, the better! If you don’t have any windows where this would work out well though then it’s okay too; just make sure that everything looks good on screen before starting things up again later down below!
- Lock away distractions. Many of us work from home now so chances are you will have a dog, child, wanting to come in or voicng their need to do so. Recall this guy? Make sure expectations are set by you ahead of time with loved ones that mommy/daddy need to have an important phone call for x time.
Dress the part.
As with any interview, dress professionally. Your outfit should reflect the role you are applying for and the company’s culture. Think about what your day-to-day would be like if you were hired: what clothes would you wear? Way back when we were interviewing we were taught to wear your best business gear. Times have changed now. Truly envision the culture you’re hoping to join.
Also, we suggest you wear something nice for your lower body as well, as, contrary to habits used for work meetings, you may need to get up unexpectedly to reach for something, or, shoo someone/thing out!
Grok the tech.
There are a lot of different video recording platforms out there, and each one works a little differently. Before you do your first interview, make sure you understand how to use the system and what equipment you will need. Join the call a few minutes early to not only get comfy and catch your breath but to also signal to the interviewer how much you value the role (and we hope you do!).
Eye contact is key.
Make sure you look the interviewer in the eye as much as you can, while not seeming creepy, of course. Do not be distracted and do not break eye contact for extended periods of time while answering questions.
Speak clearly, and maintain a steady pace.
- Speak slowly, clearly and at a normal volume. Don’t rush your speech, but don’t drag it out either.
- Avoid getting excited or upset during the interview. If something does happen (a phone call, etc.), politely excuse yourself for a moment and continue when you’re ready to speak with the interviewer again.
- Mumbling won’t help you in any way at all. Practice speaking clearly so that everyone can understand you while still maintaining a conversational tone of voice.
We have had coachees that have had big struggles with speaking slowly and enunciating. Your speech needs to seem effortless and clear. Otherwise you may be missing out on relaying what you want the interviewer to take away from your interview, and lose out on the role completely.
Be mindful of your background.
You should always be mindful of a clean background. This is especially true in video interviews, where you have to worry about what’s behind you as well as what’s in front of you. Some things that could distract from your answers include:
- Unobstructed views of windows or doors
- TVs and other electronic devices that are turned on
- Mirrors (especially if they’re reflective)
- Plants or any other live material that could move or make noise during the interview
Nowadays it’s easy to change your background with Google Meet and Zoom, but don’t go overboard by selecting something distracting :)
Be comfortable but professional.
This may be easier said than done, and also why we suggest a lot of practice with interviews, but do make sure that you let your awesome personality shine through to the interviewer. This may be one of the people that will work with you in the future and no one wants to work with someone who doesn’t seem interesting or engaging. Do not be afraid to ask the interviewer professional questions about themselves as this will show them that you have a) done your research and b) show an interest in the other person as well, which is always flattering.
At Tech Interview Coach we can conduct practice interview sessions to fully gauge your points of strengths and weaknesses.
Treat it like an in-person interview!
In terms of preparation, a video interview should be treated like an in-person interview. The same principles apply:
- Preparation is key. It pays to do your research and know what you’re talking about. If you want to stand out from the crowd, give yourself time to prepare by knowing what questions you’ll be asked and how you can best answer them. Your goal is to create a positive experience for the interviewer, so make sure that you are prepared for anything!
- Understand the purpose of the interview and use it as an opportunity for self-reflection. You’ll have lots of time after each question or comment from your interviewer, so take advantage of this momentary pause in order to reflect on what was just said before answering any follow-up questions or comments from them.
We hope that this guide helped you to prep for your video interview, and feel more confident about it. Remember: You’re going to do great! The most important thing is to take it one step at a time, and be yourself. Don’t forget that the interviewer is also nervous just like you—and they want to see how well you handle yourself under pressure.
Our coaching sessions will not only allow you to get some practice video sessions in, but we can also further prep you on whatever shortcomings may arise in our sessions.