When it comes to an interview, the old saying goes, It's not what you say, but how you say it. With that in mind, employers increasingly turn to video interviews to reduce biases and better evaluate candidates.
Having a video interview is no longer a novelty in the job search world, something that only tech startups ask for. Hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly looking to them both as a convenience and a way to save time and money compared to in-person interviews.
Yet, for candidates who've never participated in a video interview, preparing for one can be stressful simply because they don't know what to expect. Software Advice, a software review site owned by Gartner, found that only 34% of job seekers prefer video interviews over phone interviews. Who is the most opposed to video interviews? People who have never done one.
However, a little preparation can reduce anxiety and ensure you come across as confident, comfortable, and articulate on camera.
The best way to be prepared for an online interview is to do your research beforehand. Look up the company's website, read their about page, and check its social media accounts. This will give you a good idea of their culture and what they're looking for in an employee. Then, take some time to practice your answers to common interview questions. Finally, make sure you have a professional email address and Skype handle that you can use for the interview.
When attending a video interview, you should arrive at least 10 minutes before the interview time. Similarly, arriving early for your video interview gives you a few extra minutes to log in if you have problems. In the case of video conferencing software, for example, you may have to download or open the software in your browser before you can use it.
But if you prepare all this beforehand, you will be ready to follow up on your interview. Another good idea is to bring water with you. It is common for video interviews to take over an hour, and you might not want to drink coffee that whole time because of its diuretic effects (which can lead to dehydration).
Webcam mics are surprisingly sensitive, so avoid interviewing in places with lots of background noise. Your potential employer will probably be able to hear whatever is happening in the background.
For the best results, interview in a quiet room where you can block distractions. Don't sit near windows against heavy traffic; make sure young children and pets are away from the house or under supervision. Keep the background neutral.
One of the easiest things you can control, which greatly impacts how others perceive you, is your backdrop. Make sure the interviewer is focused on your face, not your daughter's paperweight or the half-eaten bagel from breakfast. If you can, place the camera in front of a blank wall and sit close to the camera so the interviewer can only see your head and shoulders. A messy desk or laundry pile will make you appear unorganized, which doesn't present the best image to employers.
It's important to be comfortable during your video interview, but you also want to ensure you're dressing appropriately. After all, first impressions still matter! When in doubt, dress on the conservative side. You can always take off a jacket if you get too warm. Avoid bright or distracting colors and keep it simple with a solid color shirt.
Dressing for a video interview should be just as formal as it would be for an in-person interview. The temptation to be less formal is understandable because you're at home, but it may send the wrong message about how serious you are about the position. Tucker says that even if you don't get dressed for one hour, it won't hurt you.
Try on your outfit in front of the same platform you'll be using for the interview to ensure it looks good on camera. A slightly lower-cut top that might look perfectly appropriate in person might appear awkward in a video if your entire shirt is outside the frame.
For a phone interview, you have the luxury of checking your notes while your interviewer is unaware. We advise you, however, to be just as prepared for a video interview as you would be for an in-person interview. Visual cues can be used that way. Consider using your body language to express your enthusiasm and passion for past projects and future possibilities rather than looking at reference materials or hunching over your desk, which is less-than-confident.
While it's tempting to look at the screen [when answering questions], you should look at the camera so it appears you are speaking directly to the employer. Keep an eye on the screen rather than your inset image while your interviewer says. Smile, gesture, and be relaxed. It's an interview, not The Inquisition.
When you're not used to video chat, you may find communicating awkwardly at first-especially if you can see yourself. Holding a mock video interview with a friend or career coach may provide insight into anything you need to keep in mind.
Perhaps you tend to look away from the camera, or your hand gestures are too low for you to see. It is recommended that you record your practice session. During a playback, "you will notice if you're making eye contact, fiddling with papers, your posture is bad, etc. Then you can "make adjustments accordingly."
Following the tips above, you can minimize distractions and ensure you're putting your best foot forward in your video interview. Just remember to be yourself, relax and let your personality shine through. Good luck!
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