Video interviews are now extremely common, and being prepared can make a significant impact on your chances of landing your next career opportunity. The changes brought about by the pandemic have transformed the way we work, and remote work and virtual recruiting are here to stay. As a result, your next job interview may very well take place via video. With the right amount of preparation, you can shine just as easily as you would in an in-person interview.
To help you impress your potential employer, following are eight valuable tips on how to prepare for a video interview.
1. Download and familiarize yourself with the video conferencing platform
Once your interview is confirmed and you know which video conferencing platform will be used, download the application and get familiar with its features. While most platforms like Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft Teams have similar functionalities, there may be slight differences among them. Being comfortable with the technology will prevent added stress in case of any technical malfunctions.
Another helpful tip is to be sure that your on-screen username is both correct and appropriate.
To gain confidence, conduct a mock interview using the platform with a trusted individual (or your Judge recruiter) who can provide honest feedback.
Pro tip: There’s a chance you might be asked to share your screen. Be sure that you know how to do so, and consider preparing a digital portfolio or sample of your work that you can easily share on-screen during the interview.
2. Test your audio and video
Despite our best efforts, technology can still present us with issues. Don’t assume your laptop’s built-in camera and microphone are sufficient for a professional interview. Test the video and audio capabilities of your computer and decide if you need to use a headset with a microphone, or an external camera. If you’re using a mobile device, ensure that it is stable to minimize video movement (although we highly recommend that you don’t interview on a cell phone).
Perhaps most important of all – be sure that your device is either plugged in or fully charged (you don’t want it dying mid-interview).
Pro tip: Lighting is also important, so position yourself with the light in front of you and behind your computer. Consider using additional lighting sources to create a warm and well-lit environment.
3. Your background says a thousand words
Your surroundings can speak volumes about your preparedness for the interview, so it’s essential to put your best foot forward. Choose a blank or solid-colored background for your video, such as a wall or a neatly arranged workspace. Clear your desk of any unnecessary clutter and only keep relevant items like awards, books, or certificates visible. If you don’t have an organized background available, use the blur background feature available in your video conferencing platform.
4. Dress to impress
Dress as you would for an in-person interview, from head to toe. Wearing professional attire will help you feel more confident and maintain a professional image. Avoid wearing loud patterns or bright colors that may distract the interviewer. Choose clothing that complements your skin tone and appears neatly pressed on the video screen.
5. Plan for potential interruptions
It’s easy to overlook potential interruptions when you’re in the comfort of your own home (this is a good time to mention that a coffee shop is NOT a suitable place for a virtual interview). Take proactive measures to minimize disruptions during the interview. Inform family members or roommates in advance, mute your phone, give your pet/s a treat or toy to keep them occupied, and consider placing a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Treat the video interview with the same level of professionalism as an in-person interview.
Pro tip: A barking dog, a loud lawnmower, or a doorbell ring are just some of the unexpected distractions that could occur during a virtual interview. If possible, select a room in your home where minimal outside noise can enter.
6. Practice makes perfect
Prepare for a virtual interview by practicing in front of a mirror, which allows you to familiarize yourself with your own expressions, gestures, and body language, ensuring that you present yourself confidently and professionally during the actual interview. By observing your reflection, you can fine-tune your nonverbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact and refining your overall presence. Mirror practice helps you build self-awareness and boosts your confidence, enhancing your performance and increasing the likelihood of a successful virtual interview.
7. Look at the camera, not the screen
Although it may feel counterintuitive, maintaining eye contact during a video interview requires looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen. We know – it might be tempting to look at yourself! But looking at the camera ensures that the interviewer perceives you as looking straight ahead and engaged. Practice this skill by looking at yourself in a mirror while speaking. It’s also essential to pay attention to your facial expressions and maintain a warm and inviting demeanor.
8. Add extra enthusiasm
Any news announcer will tell that your reactions translate differently when on-screen, so it’s important to compensate with extra enthusiasm and concise answers. Additionally, speak succinctly and remember that speed is important. Since there is a bit of body language with a video viewpoint, ensure that your body language is warm and inviting.
Mastering the art of video interviews is crucial in today’s remote work environment. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can navigate virtual interviews with confidence and stand out as a strong candidate. Remember to prepare well in advance, familiarize yourself with the technology, create a distraction-free environment, and present yourself professionally.
Additionally, don’t forget to follow up with a thoughtful thank-you note to express your appreciation and reinforce your interest in the position.
With the right preparation and mindset, you can excel in virtual interviews and secure your next career opportunity.
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