Have you recently had a video interview, or you have one scheduled in the next few days?
With people started working remotely, the majority of companies are now conducting video interviews. In fact, video interview is efficient and effective for both the candidate and the interviewer. As a candidate, how to ace your video interview? Here are some tips to share with you:
1. Test, Test, Test
I just can’t stress this enough – TEST BEFORE YOU START. Run a quick internet connectivity and equipment check at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time, make sure your camera and microphone are working.
The most common issue I’ve seen is that people having issue in connecting with their microphones properly, because they had switched from build-in microphone to headset, or vice versa, and yet the video interview app couldn’t switch to the relevant audio system automatically. Don’t want to go into too much technical here, so just remember, test your internet, video and audio before your interview. No candidate would like to hang interviewers out there until they loose patience, while you are scrambling here to reset your device.
2. Be Conscious of Your Background and Lighting
During your test run, take a look at the background that shows up in the video. Make sure your background is not distracting. Doesn’t have to be fancy but need to be tidy. It can be a plain wall with photos or paintings, a private space decorated with greens, a room divider, etc. Some video platforms offer online virtual background, you can choose one of the room images to cover yours if necessary.
In addition, make sure the area shows up in your video is bright enough. It goes back to my first tip, join your interview early so that you can adjust the light.
Here to share an opposite example. I had a candidate joined interview with black-coloured blackout curtains as her background, terrible lights. To make it worse? She was wearing dark-coloured clothes. We tried to point it out without going too straightforward, as she was extremely nervous. And the result is obvious.
3. Proper Eye Contact & Eye Level
You are probably laughing – how can we make eye contact in a video call? To clarify, this is not to ask you staring at the camera all the time, because that would look creepy from the other side.
The key of making eye contact in your video interview, is to try not to look away or look down at your notes too frequently. Trust me, people can feel if you are looking at them, or you are looking at your Post-It note or Word document. Try not to multitask while you speak (same advice goes for the interviewer :)).
Also, make sure your camera is at eye level, so that the interview is not looking at your double chins or forehead.
4. Adjust Your Sitting
This is something I’ve often seen people have ignored on. Have your shoulder above appear in the video. Try not to only show a head, no matter how pretty/handsome your face are. This is extremely important if you have to use cell phone to login the video platform as the last resort. Cameras on mobile devices make people look like they are closer to the screen.
It actually ties to the tip #3. You should be able to get a proper appearance if you keep your camera at eye level. In the meantime, also adjust your sitting distance to the camera.
5. Eliminate Distractions
This is interview 101. Close the door and windows in your room. Turn off the TV. Silence your cell phone. Keep your kids and/or pets out of the video zone. You’ve probably read posts on LinkedIn saying how an interviewer appreciated a mom candidate who had to feed her baby while interviewing. My suggestion? Try not to have that happen in your interview. Not that I lack empathy, those PR posts you’ve read don’t speak of all the interviewers. People love to meet their co-workers’ family, see kids or pets running around during your team meeting. But let’s try not to have them around during your interview.
Another story of a fresh graduate candidate. He did great in the most part of his interview, the hiring manager really liked him. While we were about to ask few more questions and wrap up the call, he picked up his cat and hold in the arm, then stood up, holding his laptop with camera walking around in his room, finally sat down, started eating apple. Some companies probably don’t care, but you may not want to risk your job opportunity to verify.
6. Dress for Success
Even though you are only showing your shoulder above in an online video interview, it doesn’t mean you should only dress up the upper half of your body. Dressing in full attire will help mentally prepare you for the video interview and help get you in the right headspace.
7. Practice with a Friend or a Career Coach
Have a friend or a career coach role-play the interview with you, and record the meeting. Watch the recording of your mock interviews, and identify where you need to improve. Don’t forget to ask your friend or career coach for their feedback too. Contact me if you need help with mock interviews.
Amongst all those tips and tricks, the most important thins is that bring your highest and best self forward, present yourself in the most confident way, so that you can truly shine as a candidate.
Good luck with your next video interview!