Virtual interviews are similar to in-person interviews in many ways but have significant differences. While in-person job interviews are still standard, many interviews are held via video meeting or over the phone, especially in the initial stages of a hiring process. To shine in a video interview, learn about these strategies.
How do video and recorded interviews work?
Typically, the employer will email a video conference link, text a phone number to call or simply schedule a time when they will contact you using a video conference or audio conference system. For video calls, you and the interviewer typically can see each other.
may be awkward, it’s crucial to convey the same energy and enthusiasm you would if speaking to a live person. One advantage: If you feel that your answers could be improved, you may be able to re-record your responses before submitting them.
Prepare your environment and equipment
One of the major differences with a video interview is that, typically, you are in your own home rather than the interviewer’s office. That means you need to rely on your own equipment, can be interrupted by roommates, family members or pets, and whatever is behind you and in the computer camera’s scope may be visible to the interviewer. You’ll want to troubleshoot your equipment and environment to limit these inconveniences.
You will need a laptop or desktop computer with audio and video capability and stable internet service for most video interviews. Before you begin your interview, you’ll want to do a practice run with your equipment. If possible, start by having a friend practice interviewing you on a video meeting platform, preferably the one you’ll use in the actual interview. This way, you can get live feedback on the quality of your audio and video, where you should focus your eye contact, and any lighting problems that may be present in the room. If no one is available to drop in on a video call with you, you can also use your computer’s webcam features to test these aspects.
You may also want to try signing into the video conferencing system early and test the connection. Close extraneous applications and browser tabs, and mute notifications on your devices to prevent anything that may slow your connection. The room you choose to conduct your interview in is also vitally important. Choose a space that is quiet and does not have background sound—even loud HVAC can be disruptive. Remind everyone in your household not to disturb the interview. The space should be clean and professional looking; avoid having open closet doors, piles of clothing or papers, or other distractions in your background. Remember, you can blur the background if you need to. If you do not have access to proper equipment or a quiet space to conduct your interview, your local American Job Center may be able to help, and your local library may also have space you can reserve for an interview.
Keeping up appearances
Just like an in-person interview, appearing as professional as possible is vital. You’ll want to dress for your virtual interview like any other interview. Consider wearing a plain-colored top and the same type of slacks or skirt you would wear to an in-person interview. Experts recommend avoiding patterned shirts as they can be distracting on video. You’ll also want to practice speaking clearly, using natural hand gestures and keeping your answers concise and meaningful. Pay attention to how to communicate energy with upright posture, eye contact, head nods and smiles—it often takes a little more effort to show your interest via phone or video than in person.
Unlike an in-person interview, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to ensure that you come across as professionally on screen as you are in person. It’s important to keep the following in mind:
- Keeping a copy of your resume or some brief notes handy is fine, but remember to look at and engage with your interviewer as much as possible. One tip is to write short notes on post-its and stick them at eye level around your screen to avoid focusing your gaze down at your desk.
- Unmute audio and video on your screen when the meeting is ready to start. Make sure your phone and/or computer are fully charged. If you need a password, save it in an easy-to-reach spot.
- Remember to focus on your video camera to keep eye contact. Do not look at a phone or device other than the interview device.
- Keep in mind that all is not lost if you have interruptions or equipment failures. It can even be an opportunity to demonstrate your composure under stress.
- Once you and the interviewer connect, ask for their phone number so that you can continue the conversation if technical issues occur with the video conference. If you remain connected and have a problem, ask for a moment to resolve the issue, mute your audio and video to address it, then resume the conversation with a brief apology and a positive attitude.