Video Interview Tips: Are Your Ready for Your Close-Up?

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Video interviews, a fun new way to add stress and pressure to an interview. Although you won’t have to worry about traffic, parking, or going to the wrong suite, you now have to worry about connectivity, background choice, and acting natural in front of a camera.

Companies are utilizing video in the hiring process to save time and money. With remote offices becoming more accepted, companies are employing video in order to get to know someone may never meet in person. 

Our partners are following the trend by not only conducting live video interviews but also live programming or coding checks by using screen share functionality.

In order to help you dazzle during your video interview, we’ve assembled a list of tips to ensure you make the best online impression.

Find a Quiet Spot

For phone and video interviews, reducing noise is a requirement. Find the quietest spot that you can, which may even be a closet! If someone may come home while you’re interviewing, be sure to communicate that beforehand. You may even want to leave a note on the door reminding them to keep it quiet. Keep pets in another room. You want the interviewer to be able to hear what you’re saying with minimal distraction.

Sit in Front of a Blank Background

A quiet spot that provides natural light will work best. Having a plain wall as your background works best. You might need to get creative on finding a clear space. If no solid background is available, be sure that you straighten up so that you don’t broadcast your messy room to a potential employer.

Correct Your Camera Placement

Whether your camera is built-in to your laptop or an external on, place your camera so that it sits at eye or forehead level. You want to be able to look straight ahead or up slightly. All those books gathering dust on your bookshelf can be used to prop up your laptop so you’re looking straight into the camera. The only things someone should see in the video are your head and shoulders. If you’re using your computer’s built in microphone, keep it at arm’s reach. Any further away may make it hard for the other person to hear you.

Minimize Awkward Shadows

Ceiling lighting can be very unflattering and can make you look tired, bored, or disinterested. Once you’ve got your camera in place, set a lamp behind it at head height as well. A small desk lap should be okay or use one of those snake desk lamps so you can point it right at your face to eliminate any weird shadows.

Dress Appropriately

Wear what you would to a face-to-face interview but select a color that won’t cause you to blend in to your background. Avoid bold patterns, reds, oranges, or white as they don’t translate as well over the internet.

Maintain Eye Contact

Once you have everything tested and you know what you look like as a viewer, minimize the screen where you can see yourself and focus on looking at the camera.

Remember to Smile

Remember, you are building relationships with others during your interview. The best way to connect and show confidence is to start and end with a smile.

Be Mindful of Body Movements

Hand motions + choppy internet connection = interview karate. Keep your hands on your lap and hand movements to a minimum. Sit up straight, avoid leaning forward so you don’t appear really large to the interviewer or backwards where you may seem disinterested. Though you may not have your video up on your screen, pretend there’s a person in front of you. Would you yawn, squirm, or roll your eyes during an in-person interview? We hope not…

Let the Interviewer Finish Speaking

There may be a delay with video of several seconds between questions and comments. Wait for the verbal and non-verbal cues from your interviewer before you start answering a question.

Stay Plugged In

Stay connected to a power source if possible. You don’t want to lose connection mid-interview and have the interviewer think that you’re unprepared.

Beware of the Screen Share

If part of your interview involves sharing your screen as they watch you code or run through a program, be sure that all web browsing windows are closed and chat programs are shut down. Would you be texting or searching on Google for answers if you were face to face in an interview? No. So, don’t do it during a video interview.

Perform a Test Run

Test it all. Whether you’re using Facetime, Skype, or GoTo Meeting, find a way to test all aspects of the interview beforehand. Set-up everything, call a friend and conduct a dry run. Make sure they can see you, that your outfit translates well, that it’s quiet and they can understand you and that you are presenting yourself to the best of your ability. Watch the video on your own screen as you talk and gesture normally to see how things look for someone on the other side.

Disconnect from Audio and Video

Before congratulating yourself on a job well done or talking smack about the interview, be sure that the video and audio portions of the online interview are turned off. Already checked? Check again.

Have you done a video interview? What was your experience like and what tips do you have to share?

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