As more companies shift from in-person to video interviews, good technical preparation has become essential to a smooth, positive experience. Here’s how to plan accordingly, so you can focus on just being yourself and wowing your interviewer.
1. Find an appropriate background. Choose a background that is simple and free of clutter and distractions. Do not use a picture as a background. This is unprofessional and distorts the quality of the feed. Remember: You want the hiring manager to be focused on you, not what’s going on behind you.
2. Test your internet speed. A good internet connection is critical for a successful video interview. If your video is pixelated, invest in boosting your bandwidth, even if it’s just temporary while you conduct a job search. Google offers a free internet speed test (search “internet speed test”) that can determine if you need to make any bandwidth upgrades.
3. Charge your computer battery. This seems obvious, but make sure your computer battery is full. Better yet, plug in your computer. The last thing you want is for it to die in the middle of the interview.
4. Adjust your lighting. Face a window or have one steady, soft lamp directly in front of your face for even lighting. Avoid sidelight and backlight, as the camera will expose in response to the light and turn you into a silhouette. A good rule of thumb is that your face needs to be the most lit up object on the screen. Consider an affordable clip-on light that attaches to your laptop or monitor.
5. Sit the right distance away from the camera. Even though this is a video interview, you still want to give the interviewer some personal space. Take a seat about two feet away from your camera. There should be a few inches between the top of your head and the top of the screen. Ensure that the camera is at eye level.
6. Run a practice test. Practice is the key to a successful interview, regardless of the format, but it’s even more important with video. Invite a friend or family member to a video call, and go over this simple checklist:
- Joining the call —make sure you know how the software works so you are not late to your interview.
- Video — check lighting and get rid of any glares.
- Audio — confirm that you are not echoing or sound too loud or soft.
- Network — verify that your internet and computer battery are capable of conducting an hour-long video call.
7. Dress to impress. Just because you’re not interviewing in person doesn’t mean the interviewer won’t be forming the same type of first impression. It’s perfectly appropriate to ask about proper attire prior to the interview. When in doubt, go with business attire — better safe than sorry.
8. Arrive early. There often is a waiting room within video calls. Join the call five minutes early so you’re ready when the interviewer launches the broadcast.
9. Communicate nonverbally. A downside of video interviewing is that the natural communication that comes from eye contact and body language can be diminished. Nodding your head and showing facial expressions let the interviewer know you are invested in what they have to say. Try to look directly into the camera, rather than what’s on your screen. It’s challenging at first, but it gets easier with practice.
10. Let the interviewer completely stop talking before your respond. If you jump in too soon, it mutes the mic of your interviewer and cuts them off. This can come across as rude — and awkward, if you miss out on what was said and need to ask them to repeat it. Allow a pause that’s slightly more extended than in real life.
11. Use video to your advantage. The interviewer cannot see what is behind your camera, so leverage this opportunity to tape up your notes, the questions you plan to ask, a list of accomplishments and other pertinent information. Have the job description visible, as well as background information on the company.
12. End on a high note. Always let the interviewer end the meeting. And prior to its conclusion, be sure you’ve conveyed your interest, inquired about next steps and thanked them for their time.
Register for the ASCM Virtual Career Fair on November 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST.