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With the ongoing pandemic, many employers are shifting to hosting interviews over video conference or the phone.
This isn’t a bad thing.
Many companies are making the change to keep their employees and you safe, plus you get more flexibility when you just need to show up to a video meeting instead of going somewhere in person.
It’s also a good way for companies to test your ability to work-from-home from the get-go. As more and more jobs are becoming permanently remote, knowing that a candidate can handle a virtual meeting can make or break them.
While the medium may be different, the format and content of video interviews is much like the traditional in-person interview. For the most part, you can keep your interview tips in mind while you tackle a video interview.
But, there are a few key differences and preparing yourself for them will help you stand out from the applicant pool. Being familiar with video meetings and communicating through them are great ways to ace your interview.
We’re going to take a look at how to prepare for a video interview and show you some of our best tips so you can impress your interviewer and get that job offer.
Video interviews are an opportunity for employers to get to know you better and learn more about the person behind the resume. They serve the same purpose as a traditional in-person interview or a phone interview.
There’s two types of video interviews — one is usually done through a virtual meeting where you have a conversation with someone while looking at them. The other type is a virtual interview where you may be asked to go through steps and record videos of yourself responding to specific questions.
Both types of job interviews help the company learn more about you and see you “face-to-face” so to speak. It’s typically the first chance a hiring manager will have to talk to you, so it’s important to make a good impression.
Lots of first round interviews have taken place over video, in either format, but now second-round or even final interviews are happening over video. It’s important to perfect your video interviewing skills since they’ll be around for awhile.
Having an interview over video presents its own unique challenges, but they can be easy to master with practice. Here’s a few of our best tips specific to video interviews. Don’t forget to read up on general interview tips too while you prepare.
Double check your tech. Since video interviews rely on your phone or your computer working properly, make sure to do a double check that your hardware will work with what the company is asking of you. Most of the time video interviews are held through a website, like Google Meets, or with an app, like Zoom, so check and see if common video conferencing software works on your device. If the hiring manager sends over a virtual invite before the interview, take a look at the software they use and test it with your computer.
Test your internet. Run a quick test on your internet before the interview so you know it’s running at a good speed. Doing a simple search for “internet speed test” should get you an accurate measure of how fast your internet is before joining the meeting.
Set up your background. With more and more people working from home, it’s not unprofessional to answer a video call with glimpses of your life in the background. But, when you can you want to make sure you’re interviewing in front of a neutral background, like a white wall, in an area without a lot of noise.
Perfect your positioning. Since the interviewer will be seeing you through the screen, your webcam will decide what’s visible. Make sure you’re not sitting too close to your computer where only your head is in the frame. Back up a bit and have most, if not all, of your torso showing so your interviewer can see your gestures and body language.
Dress to impress. Like in a normal interview, whoever you’re talking to will be able to see your clothes and you want to be wearing something professional. Dress like you would if you were meeting someone in-person. Business casual attire is always a good place to start.
Make eye contact. Making eye contact is very different over a video interview than face-to-face, but looking at your interviewer will show them that you’re engaged. Keep your eyes on your interviewer’s face so they know that you’re paying attention instead of scrolling through your social media feeds.
Check your lighting. You’ll want to test out your lighting and be sure that you’re visible in the camera without any annoying glares or shadows. It’s a good idea to sit facing a window or a light source so that your face is illuminated. Try to avoid sitting with a window behind you since it can hide your face in a shadow.
Test your sound. You need to have a phone or laptop with a microphone so that the person you’re speaking with can hear you. Test out the microphone and your speakers ahead of time so you know that you’ll be able to talk and hear the other person.
Test your voice. Sometimes it can be hard to get the sound right over a video interview, so test out how you sound beforehand. You don’t want to talk so softly that nobody can hear you, but you also don’t want to be deafeningly loud either. Test how your voice sounds through the computer so you can come off as confident, friendly, and easy to talk to.
Have notes ready. The great thing about video interviews is that you can keep notes up on your computer or next to you and the interviewer won’t even know. Notes can help you stay on track and mention all of your stellar experience or remind you to ask crucial questions about the job. Either way, it can be helpful to keep notes near you and refer back to them as you interview, but don’t keep your eyes glued to them.
Pay attention to body language and posture. Since your interviewer can see you at all times, you’ll want to pay attention to your posture and body language. Sit up straight and keep your eyes on the interviewer. Nodding along with what they’re saying will show you’re engaged and gesturing while you speak will convey some of your personality.
Ditch your phone. If you’re not using your phone to interview, it can become a distraction if it’s nearby. Leave it somewhere outside of your eyesight so you can stay focused on the interview.
Get ready for small talk. Usually you have an opportunity to shake hands with your interviewer and start some small talk, but video interviews sometimes don’t have that option. Regardless, you should try to initiate casual conversation before the questioning starts to build rapport with the recruiter. Ask how their day has been or comment on the weather just to get the conversation going.
Get on the call early. Just like you would for a normal interview, “showing up” to a virtual interview early will make you look good. Log on 5-10 minutes early so you can feel relaxed when the interviewer joins the call and you’re ready to go. It’s also a good way to get in some extra time with the company if you both happen to hop on early.
Clean up your computer. If you’re interviewing on a computer, it’s a good idea to close out any tabs you’re not using or shut down applications you don’t need. Video conferencing can tend to take up a lot of energy, so make it easier on your computer and close out software you’re not using. This can also help prevent any slowdowns or lags in the video or sound.
Keep your resume close. You should have a copy of your resume (bonus points if you have your cover letter too) on hand, either open on your computer or in a hard copy. This will help guide your responses to interview questions and keep you from leaving anything out.
Turn off your notifications. Some phones and computers have notifications that can go off during your interview. Make sure you take a second to turn off your notifications so that they don’t interrupt your interview.
Check your battery level. Whether you’re on a phone or a laptop, you need to have enough battery to last you through the interview. The safest thing to do is make sure your device is charging while you’re doing the interview, or just have the battery full before you start.
Thank your interviewer. Once the interview is over, you need to thank the interviewer as you normally would in an in-person interview. Thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview. At this point you can ask when to expect to hear back from them, so you know what to expect.
Prepare as if it was a normal interview. At the end of the day, virtual, phone, and in-person interviews all serve the same purpose. You’ll want to take the time to go over your resume and practice some answers before you hop on the call.
Following up after an interview can be just as important as the interview itself sometimes. It shows the employer that you take the position seriously and you have a real desire to be hired.
The best way to follow up is to send a short and sweet email to your interviewer. You should thank them again for the opportunity to interview and for sharing their time with you.
It’s also appropriate to include any questions you forgot to ask or attach relevant documents, like a portfolio or references. Don’t turn the follow up email into a long essay, but you can feel free to bring up anything that went unsaid in the interview.
It’s also a good idea to send a follow up email a week or two after the interview if you haven’t heard back from the company. You can ask for a status update on your application or ask if the position is still available to get more clarification.
If you hear that the position has been filled, you can also send a follow up email to the hiring manager asking to stay in touch. Jobs open up everyday and you never know where your next opportunity could come from, so stay on good terms with the recruiters and HR department whenever you go through the
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