With remote and hybrid work becoming more common, it’s clear video interviews are here to stay. When being interviewed from home, it’s understandable that some elements are out of your control. Dogs may bark, kids might cry and the doorbell could ring. We’re all human and many of us live in shared spaces with kids, roommates and pets at home, but there are ways to prepare ahead of time and set yourself up for a successful interview.
Here are 8 tips to help you nail your next video interview.
Treat video interviews like in-person interviews
Although virtual interviews often take place from the comfort of your own home, being prepared is still important. Set yourself up for success by preparing the same way you would if your interview was in an office.
- Be on time (and don’t forget to check your internet connection beforehand!).
- Research and prepare: Google the company, review the job description and match it to your skills, check out the company’s social pages, etc.
- Check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile before the interview. Look for interesting details that could spark a conversation during your call.
- Have your resume and all necessary documents handy. If you plan to show examples of your work, have the files open so you can easily screen share.
Think about your surroundings
Whether it’s a dog barking or a family member walking by in the background, there are a number of distractions to consider when setting up for a video interview. To the best of your ability, make sure your environment is free of noise and distractions.
- Ask a family member or friend to mind your kids or take the dog for a walk.
- Tell your housemates about your interview so they don’t walk in unexpectedly or play loud music.
- Be mindful of what’s behind you. What posters or pictures do you have hanging on the wall? Do you have a pile of laundry on the floor or dirty dishes on the counter? If you are self-conscious about what’s behind you, try a simple professional virtual background.
- Think about your lighting – make sure the light source is in front of you, not behind you. And as much as we hate to say it, don’t sit on your bed….or even worse, on the toilet!
Test your technology
Just like you’d plan your commute before heading to an in-person interview, you’ll want to make sure your tech is set up and working properly ahead of time.
- Download the video conference software in advance to ensure you know how to use it. We recommend practising with a family member or friend in advance. Specifically, check that the microphone and camera features are working.
- If you have the option, use an Ethernet connection rather than Wi-Fi.
- If using Wi-Fi, make sure you have a strong connection. And if you’re using a laptop, move closer to the modem to help avoid buffering or freezing between questions.
Practise makes perfect
Just like everything we do, practise makes us better (and can help calm those interview nerves).
- Prepare for the interview questions you expect may be asked. While every role and organization is different, there are often common questions that can be expected in interviews. Find tips and samples in this blog.
- Ask your family or a friend to host a mock interview with you. Ask them to share candid feedback at the end and be sure to record for future reference.
- Start a Zoom meeting with yourself and record it while practising your answers. Watch it back and address areas where you can improve.
Dress for success
It’s a good idea to dress in a way that makes you both approachable and presentable to the interviewer and the team you may join, even when participating in a video interview.
- Prepare by asking the interviewer what the normal office dress code is and use that as a guideline.
- Dress your entire body – you might think that the interviewer can only see you from the waist up but what if you have to stand up or move your chair? Plus, dressing for success builds confidence and impacts how we present ourselves.
Look the camera in the eye
It sounds funny, but sometimes people don’t know where to look when using a webcam – we often look at ourselves. Here are a few tips to make sure the webcam is helping, not hindering, your interview:
- When speaking, look at the camera so that the interviewer has the perception that you’re looking them in the eye.
- Make sure your camera is positioned at eye level. You don’t want the interviewer looking up your nose or staring at your forehead. If taking notes, type them versus writing them so your head stays focused on the screen.
- Maintain positive and professional body language – sit up straight, and don’t fidget, swing around in your chair or lean back with arms folded.
- Think of camera distance as well – an interview is not the time for an extreme close-up.
How you end the interview can help set you apart. With some preparation, you can leave a positive impression that will stay with the interviewer after you end the call.