11 Tips for Video Interview Success

Published: Oct 17, 2019

 Interviewing       Job Search       Technology       
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Video interviewing is rapidly becoming the norm for corporate recruiting departments, as HR departments seek cost effective ways of interviewing higher volumes of available candidates. Being able to communicate your value to an employer via one-way video (where you video your answers to questions companies provide) or in a Skype/Zoom conversation is paramount. But it’s important to do it correctly to sell yourself well. 

Here are key video interviewing tips that can help you impress your prospective employer and allow your strengths to resonate with hiring managers.

1. Practice by making a video of yourself answering sample interview questions.

After you do this, then watch yourself answering the questions on camera. This will let you see what you will most likely look like on the screen to the interviewer. Make note of adjustments that need to be made such as in your mannerisms, speed of speech, and eye contact. Also, review camera placement and how you are presented on the screen. The video could narrow in too close on your face, which can create an unflattering look.

2. Treat video interviews like regular interviews.

Prepare for video interviews as if they're regular in-person interviews. That includes doing your research on not only the company, interviewer, and role but also on what you need to know to impress the company. Prepare just like you would for an in-person or phone interview. For one-way videos and when you get the questions in advance, prepare prior to the actual interview so when you go on video, you already know the answers you will cover. Remember, preparation is important to your success in landing that position.

3. Be yourself.

Don’t let technology get in the way of letting your personalty come through. In a physical interview, you would engage in small talk, converse casually, and allow the interviewer to get to know you as a person. People hire people they like as well as those that have the required skills—so focus on having the interviewer like you and not be distracted by the technology.

4. Don’t lose sight of the formality of this meeting.

Even though video interviews take place at your home with your webcam, they're still formal interviews. You need to be professional throughout them, so silence all pets, leave a sign on your front door to not be disturbed, turn off phone ringers, and shut down any computer notifications that might appear. You don’t want all your new incoming email messages or instant messages to show, especially if you're actively interviewing. If you have to go to an office to record your video interview , get there early to allow time to get settled, see how you look on the camera, and possibly do a trial run to test the equipment.

5. Be mindful of the background.

Is the background behind you disorganized or professional?  Be sure to put forth a clean, professional image by making sure the background is free of visual distractions. Consider taking down pictures in the background. Look to see if you have inappropriate or awkward items within the interviewer’s sight. Additionally, check the lighting. You want a well-lit room, but you don’t want the light to shine directly in the camera's lens or leave shadows.

6. Wear pants.

Yes, wear your suit pants and not your comfy Hawaiian shorts with your collared shirt and suit jacket. You may not think the camera will see your legs, but if you need to get up for any reason during the interview, it will be awkward—to say the least.

7. Dress in solid colors.

Solid colors, as opposed to stripes or other patterns, look best on screen. Video is not the time for that fabulous, new print tie or striped collared shirt—prints and patterns can overpower the screen, which can make it difficult for the interviewer to watch you. It can also detract from what you're saying—which is the whole point of the interview.

8. Don't say anything that can't be replayed over and over.

Unlike in-person interviews, video interviews can be replayed over and over. Often, hiring managers will share your answers with others in their company and compare your answers to other candidates. So be sure what you're sharing in the interview is something that you're okay with being said in a recorded fashion. And just the same as you would in a regular phone or in person interview: no bashing of anyone or any company.

9. Put on your best newscaster face.

On video and phone interviews, you have to be a little more animated and expressive than you would in person to convey your enthusiasm. This is where recording yourself first comes in handy—filming yourself answering some sample questions to see how you're expressing yourself can be instrumental to your interview success.

10. Memorize important information.

Don’t use notes. With phone interviews you can rely on handwritten notes, but video interviews are just like face-to-face interviews where you can’t use notes. It will appear obvious when you look down to review your notes and can cause a gap in your focus.  This isn’t to say you can’t have your resume handy, as that can be beneficial if you really need refer to it.

11. Test all your tech prior to the interview

Even if you used your tech setup recently, make sure that everything is in good working order before you log in and start the interview. Not only can they be a waste of the interviewer’s time but tech problems can cause additional stress for you, which of course will hurt your interview.

A final note

Video interviewing is not the wave of the future; it's already here. So we all have to embrace video interviews and work at recording them successfully. With the successful video interviewing tips above, you're certain to have a solid start to edge out your competition.

Lisa Rangel is the Founder and Managing director of Chamelon Resumes  LLC (a Forbes Top 100 Career Website). She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Job Landing Consultant, and Recruiter. Lisa is also a paid moderator for LinkedIn’s Premium Career Group, which has 1,300,000+ members. Chameleon Resumes reviews the goals of each client to ensure career documents serve their goals while meeting the needs of the prospective employers. Rangel has authored 16 career resources, and has an active YouTube Channel with regular tips and advice.