How to Have a Successful Video Interview

Is it appropriate to wear your pajama pants even if they can’t see? Find out must-know tips for every video interview.

Woman at her computer, how to have a successful video interview

More companies than ever are relying on video interviews, thanks to higher efficiency and lower cost of screening candidates this way. So, if you’re looking for a new job, chances are high you’ll have a video interview. Here are a few tips to help you rock that interview when the time comes.

Don’t let technology disrupt the experience

Maybe it goes without saying, but check and double check all the technology aspects that could affect the quality of your interview. That includes your internet connection, the microphone, and the camera on your computer. If your home internet isn’t reliable enough, find a quiet, private place that works. Libraries often have private rooms, or some cities have workspaces that can be rented for just a day. Know how to use your phone as a hotspot as a back-up plan.

And speaking of phones, use a laptop rather than a phone because the image is larger, allowing it to feel more like you’re talking in person (and you don’t risk it toppling over mid-interview and giving the interviewer a great view of your ceiling).

Related: 5 Tips for Building a Great Resume

Prepare just like you would for an in-person interview

Treat this interview just as seriously as if you were sitting across from the interviewer. Know these do’s and don’ts of interviewing before you go. Especially make sure you have sincere and meaningful questions ready about the company and the position. Your questions tend to show the interviewer how much you’ve prepared as well as how serious and qualified you are for the position. Don’t skimp on this part.

Pick the camera angle carefully

Even though it feels a little awkward over video-chat, you need to talk to the camera, not the person. Meaning, if you’re looking at the person on your screen, it seems like you aren’t making eye contact.

Even if you’re participating in a screening interview without a live person present, you should still focus on the camera. Just like in person, avoiding eye contact sends the body language that you’re hiding something or not confident.

Set your computer up to have the angle of your camera at a natural height for you to look at. Paul J. Bailo, author of, “The Essential Digital Interview Handbook” told Business insider, "The angle is so critical. You don't want the camera looking up your nose, and you don't want the camera looking down at you. The psychology behind it is if I'm looking down at the camera, I'm looking down at the hiring manager, and they feel subservient."

Get the presentation right

These are essentials to getting the visual presentation right:

1. Dress the part. Dress professionally even if you’re at home—and it’s best if you dress up completely, even if you think they won’t be able to see.

2. Light the room. The room should be well lit, so your face is visible and the visual is high quality. Keep in mind that the light should be aimed at your face, not coming from behind it.

3. Sit at a reasonable distance from the camera—not too close and not too far away. The interviewer should be able to see you from the chest up.

4. Have the focus on you. This means you pick a background and location that isn’t distracting in any way and somewhere you won’t have any interruptions.

Don’t read from notes

You wouldn’t pull out a sheet of pre-answered questions and read it during an in-person interview. A video interview shouldn’t be any different. Don’t read from a paper or your screen. Just practice what you want to say enough beforehand that you can confidently say it in your own words when the time is right.

And most importantly remember—you’ve got this! Prepare in advance, follow these steps, and you’ll do great.

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