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5 Tips to Ace a Video Interview

video interview tips

These days, video-based job interviews are becoming more frequent, but they’re still far from the norm.

If and when you get a notification that an interview won’t be in-person, it will likely create some additional anxiety. And let’s face it: interviews are already stressful enough!

Whether it’s conducted by a live video conference, via Skype for example, or a pre-recorded “asynchronous” video software, these types of interviews come with some inherent challenges. In order to be successful, job seekers must be prepared to tackle them head on.

These 5 tips will help ensure you’re ready.

  1. Familiarize Yourself with the Technology

Any technology-based system is bound to have quirks. Before you sit down for the interview, do your research and test the technology. Make sure you understand the basics and what features are available. Search online for best practices to ensure it works as seamlessly as possible.

For example, many programs work better with a hardwire connection to the internet (not on wireless) and when other programs are shut down to avoid overloading the computer. Always test your system ahead of time and make sure you’ve completed any installations or updates required. Doing this will help reduce the stress imposed by the technology so you can focus on the interview itself.

Also read: Live Vs. Asynchronous Interviews: Benefits and Drawbacks

  1. Manage Your Environment

With video, your space is on full display. In most cases, you won’t be specifically “judged” based on what they see, but it certainly contributes to creating an impression.

Find a private location where you won’t be interrupted by kids or colleagues. Ensure that the background is tidy and professional looking. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be in an office. If you’re at home in the dining room, that’s acceptable, just as long as the space is clean and quiet. If needed, send the family out of the house for an hour to ensure you’re not distracted.

Never attempt to do a video interview in a public space like a library or coffee shop. There’s too much unpredictability and it creates the impression that you lack focus or don’t understand professional norms.

  1. Make Notes for Yourself

The handy thing about a video interview is that there are areas not visible to your interviewer where you can easily display notes to remind yourself of key talking points.

For example, you can place a flip chart sheet on the wall behind your webcam or write out notes to keep on the desk beside you out of view. You don’t want to heavily rely on these things—no reading directly from them—but you can certainly use them to jog your memory if needed.

Also read: Don’t Forget Critical Info in Your Job Interview! Use This Simple Tool  

  1. Radiate (More) Energy

In any interview, it’s important to demonstrate energy and personality. However, when you’re not connecting in person, you need to amp that up a bit. Whether it’s live or recorded, the video creates an instant barrier and exaggerates mild mannerisms. A soft speaker becomes an impossible-to-hear mumbler. An introvert becomes a hermit.

Speak up and articulate clearly. Smile and demonstrate active listening. Use hand gestures and facial expressions to get your point across. Don’t let your eyes get distracted with your own image reflected back in your webcam or anything else happening on the screen. Most important, focus your full attention on the person/people at the other end.

Also read: How to Interview With Power and Authenticity 

  1. Maintain Professional Etiquette

Above all else, remember that a video job interview is an interview like any other. You can’t stand up and shake your interviewer’s hand when they enter the room, but etiquette still matters. Don’t let the different environment ease you into being overly casual or overly stiff.

While this style of interview certainly creates some additional concerns, these things are all manageable. The benefits of video interviews are many and, once you’ve done a few, you’ll become more comfortable with them. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover you’re a natural on camera!

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.