by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
This article covers tips for how to prepare for a video interview, how to succeed in a video interview, and what to do after a video interview.
Before Your Video/Online Interview
1. Determine the Best Hardware to Use
If you have multiple devices (such as a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.), choose the one you are most comfortable with -- and the one with the most reliable technology. For most, a computer will be best. If necessary, invest in purchasing -- or borrowing -- the best technology to use for the interview.
2. Select the Proper Location for the Interview
The ideal scenario for your interview location is a secluded room in which you can shut out distractions (and noises), control the lighting, and display a generic background. Ideally, you'll want to have some diffused lighting so as not to create shadows or glare, plus a plain wall as your backdrop. You should also have a location in which you can be seen on camera from about the waist up.
3. Test All the Technology
Test your connection. Test your camera. Test your lighting. Test your sound. Test the video program. Make sure you understand how it all works. And test it all again right before the interview commences.
4. Schedule at Least One Mock Interview
Under as close to identical circumstances as possible, schedule an interview with a friend, colleague, or family member.
Practice your interviewing skills, as well as the functions of the technology. If you can, record the interview so you can play it back for yourself. If you can't record it, ask your friend, colleague, or family member for as much feedback as possible -- especially for how you look and sound.
5. Plan for Glitches
Have a backup plan ready if something goes wrong the day of the interview. For example: confirm with the interviewer, in advance of the interview, that you'll switch to a phone call should technology or connection issues crop up.
6. Complete Full Interview Preparations
Don't skimp on your interview prep. Conduct research on the employer, prepare responses to expected interview questions, formulate a few questions you want to ask, and determine the best professional outfit for the interview.
Day of the Video/Online Interview
1. Test All Equipment Prior to Interview Time
Do a run-through at least an hour before your interview time. And then do another run-through around 30 minutes before the interview time.
2. Dress Professionally
Remember, nothing too flashy or suggestive with clothing.
Be on the safe side with clothes. Do research on the general dress code for the industry you're interviewing in.
If you're unsure what will work best, view yourself in the monitor. For most, something along the lines of business casual will work (unless you're interviewing in a buttoned-up profession like finance).
3. Turn Off Before the Interview Starts, and Go Under
Remember to turn off all apps and programs that might interrupt the interview. Also, silence your phone. Go to your interview location and shut out all distractions, and give yourself around 10 minutes to collect yourself and do any last-minute preparations.
5. Remember Your Nonverbals
Make solid eye contact and smile at appropriate times. Have good posture and even lean in a bit. Learn more about the importance of nonverbal cues in job interviews.
6. Look Directly into the Camera
You might be tempted to look at the monitor or yourself, but focus on making eye contact with your interviewer via the camera.
7. Have a Conversation
Speak in a conversational voice, just as you would in an actual interview situation.
8. Notes if You Need Them
Unlike other interview situations, you can have some notes in front of you (off camera) to remind you of critical issues you want to highlight, but do NOT overuse them, or you will look odd on camera.
9. Take a Second
When responding to questions from the interviewer, nod, but take a second before responding in case the connection is weak -- so that you don't end up talking over the interviewer.
After the Video/Online Interview
1. Write a Thank-You Note
Just as with any other job-hunting situation, follow up your interview with a thank-you note to your interviewer(s). Check out LiveCareer's thank you letter samples for guidance.
2. Follow-Up on Progress
The hiring process is a lengthy one, most likely with several more rounds of interviews, so you'll need to be patient -- but that does not mean you should not follow-up occasionally to express your interest in the job.
If the interviewer provides you with a hiring decision date (when your online interview wraps), do not reach out prior to that date. If the date comes and goes, follow-up with the interviewer.
Final Thoughts on Succeeding in Online/Video Job Interviews
If you're uncomfortable with the technology or how you look/sound on camera, the best you can do is practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the better you'll get with not only online conferencing technology, but the art of interviewing, too!
Additional Resources for Jobseekers: