Acing a Video Interview

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Video InterviewCongratulations! Your resume passed the six-seconds test. Now, you’ve been asked for your availability for a video interview. Unless you are a YouTube star, facing a camera and appearing comfortable answering questions is a stressful situation. If the video interview is a step towards finding your dream job, the stakes are even higher.

Here are some tips for avoiding the potential awkwardness of this increasingly common practice and letting your best self has a chance to shine through.

Check the time zone

You may not be in the same time zone or country as the interviewer. Mention the name of the city where you will be at the time of the interview.

Tip: Before you accept the time, make sure to check that it’s not too late in the night for you.

Get familiar with the video interview software

Skype and Google Hangouts used to be the platforms of choice for video interviews. Today, recruiters have many more at their disposal, including Blue Jeans, Imo, Whatsapp, etc. Get familiar with the one they’ll use. If you need to install software or an app, do that ahead of time. The time available for the interview should not be spent fixing technical glitches. Turn off notifications from social networking sites, chatboxes, and email before the interview. Clean the camera lens, check the audio level, and review lighting and angles. Get a friend to help you test the software and test the sound and video quality. Your comfort level with the technology will be on display, so the less troubleshooting during the interview, the better.

Also, if you want to use your phone camera, remember that you will need to hold it steady. If the video interview goes on for an extended period of time, your hands can get tired and wobbly. Either rest the phone against a support so that it is steady or better still, invest in a tripod. The tripod will help keep the camera at the eye level and enable you to look at the camera, and not the screen, as you respond.That makes you look confident and sharp.

Tip: A laptop works better for a video interview. It will save you the hassle of trying the keep the phone still.

Create an appropriate screen name

Sweet_Richa or Pikachu_Forever may be a great screen name to use when socializing with friends or while gaming, but it doesn’t inspire confidence in a potential recruiter.

Tip: Create a new, straightforward user name for professional use.

Dress for the job

Dress as if you are going to meet the interviewer in person. Preferably, dress to match the company’s dress code. Solid colors work better. Avoid loud prints, pinstripes, plaid, or houndstooth because they appear distorted on video. Avoid shiny fabrics and clanking jewellery – they distract everyone.

Tip: If you dress for the part, you will feel the part.

Prepare the room and yourself

If you are taking the video interview in your room, you are also giving the recruiter visual cues about your personality. Ask a friend to do a Skype call with you to see how much of your room is visible through the camera and, if necessary, tidy up. Make sure your face isn’t in the shadow.

Find a quiet spot for the video interview. Using a headset improves the clarity of your voice, but remember that headsets often pick up the ambient noise.  Ensure other people (or your pets) do not enter the screen and are not heard during the call. A headset also helps you concentrate better on your interview as it takes the focus away from holding your phone at the correct distance  (to be clearly audible) and leaves your hands free.

Tip: Don’t have a light source behind you – unless you’re interviewing for a secret agent’s job!

Have a printout of your resume handy so you do not have to fumble with details. You can put some Post-It notes on the laptop screen to remind yourself of the information you definitely want to share. Write down some questions, so you’re prepared when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Keep a check on your phone etiquette

Remember the rule, “Caller Calls Back.” If the video call drops, wait for the interviewer to call you back, especially if he or she had initiated the call.

Wait for the interviewer to finish his or her sentence before you proceed to answer. When you don’t let the other person finish what they have to say or begin responding while they are still speaking, it can be viewed as impatience.

These tips can help ensure you come across prepared, relaxed, and ready to focus on the substance of the interview. Finally, as you would with an interaction in person – appear professional and give it your best.

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Written for Harvard Business Review Ascend on Aug 18, 2018

Read more: How to protect your reputation on Social Media

Read How to survive the six second test

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Comments

  1. very useful information, Thanks for sharing

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