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Top 15 Video Interview Tips

In: How To

Perform excellently during the next video interview

The coronavirus pandemic is causing radical changes in the way we live, relax, and work. And the job interviews aren’t the exception. Even if you haven’t been invited for a video interview before, chances are that your next interview will be moved online. Video interviews aren’t better or worse than traditional ones that take place in the employer’s premises. Yet, they do require slightly different approach to preparation.

According to the statistics, 60% of hiring managers were using video interviews in 2019. And this share is already growing due to social distancing measures. So, if you are camera shy or simply don’t know how to prepare for this kind of interview like a pro, we can help. Continue reading for a step-by-step guide to beating the competition and making your next interview your time to shine.

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Now, let’s get back to the point and look at the exact steps of preparation for your first (or next) video interview.

Before the interview

Like an in-person interview, a video one requires thorough preparation – simply tuning in at the agreed time is not enough. Use this checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

1. Prepare the technology in advance

Repeating tech issues during an interview can be interpreted as your unpreparedness and careless attitude. So, you want to test everything in advance to prevent any technical difficulties. Test your internet connection, a microphone and a webcam. Calling a friend is a great way to check everything, as well as set up the volume and other parameters. Charge your laptop or tablet to avoid the shutdown during the trickiest question.

2. Familiarize yourself with the platform

If the interview requires the software you don’t have (such as Skype, Zoom, or Jobvite), install it in advance and take some time figuring out its basic functions. Close down the browser and any other extensions or apps you won’t need during an interview. You don’t want a popup or the unexpected sound to interfere in the middle of the interview. These seemingly tiny details add up to an overall impression about you.
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3. Prepare an interview outfit

You’re being interviewed from home, yet you still need to look professionally on the screen, and your attire will be evaluated just like during an in-person interview. The style of your interview outfit will depend on the corporate culture of your target company – if it’s a financial company, the suit is a must. Career experts recommend that you opt for solid colors as they look best on screen. And don’t forget to wear pants! You might think that it’s not necessary, but if you have to get up – to handle a distraction, for example – your pajama pants are not likely to make the right impression.

4. Practice answering the questions

During the video interview, you’re likely to be asked the same standard questions that are typical for your industry and profession. Thus, it makes sense to research those questions in advance and prepare well-thought-of answers. By looking through typical questions and preparing answers, you reduce the interview anxiety. Moreover, the preparation will minimize the awkward pauses and helps you present yourself in the most favorable light.

5. Set the scene and block possible distractions

You’ve probably seen the viral video of kids breaking into the room during the dad’s news interview. To avoid this from happening during your next job interview, think of eliminating all possible distractions in advance. Close the location from pets and ask the roommates not to disturb you. Turn off all notifications, social media alerts and put your phone in the silent mode. Also, find a suitable location with a neutral, neat background such as the wall or bookcase. Adjust the lighting so that the interviewer sees you clearly. Natural light works best, but if it’s too bright, you might want to experiment with location or lamps.

6. Tune in early

Log in to the video interviewing software at least 10 minutes early. Make sure that all necessary items – such as the copy of your resume, a notebook and pen – are next to you.

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During the interview

You’ve made the preparations, so the half of work is done. Now your goal is to stay as focused, positive and enthusiastic as you would during the regular in-person interview.

7. Maintain the optimal eye contact

During the real interview, it’s essential that you maintain an eye contact with the interviewer. You want to get as close to an actual eye contact as possible. To achieve this, look at the interviewer on the screen or directly in your webcam. Don’t look around or look at other items in the room – it will make you look bored, uninterested and disconnected from the person on the other side of the screen.  Also, make sure your face is centered on the screen.

8. Keep your body language professional

Home environment might make you feel relaxed, yet, it’s important to maintain the professional body language as it contributes to the impression you make. Sit straight with your feel planted on the ground and maintain a good posture. Smile and use open gestures as you speak to make your responses more vivid. Nod as you listen to the interviewer to communicate that you hear them clearly and pay attention. Keeping your body language positive yet professional is important since we take in most of information nonverbally.

9. Be more expressive than during the face-to-face meeting

One of the tricks for working with the camera is that you have to slightly exaggerate your mimic and body language. If you have a calm personality and this looks natural during the face-to-face interview, your calmness may appear as lack of enthusiasm on the video. Thus, try being more expressive and vivid than it’s typical for you to convey your upbeat attitude and enthusiasm. Be sure to keep your gestures professional, though.

10. Pause before answering

Even if your internet connection is good, sometimes the video or sound may be delayed. The solution? Take a 1-2 second pause to make sure the interviewer has completed their phrase or question, and only then start talking. Thus, you’ll make sure you haven’t missed a single word and your speech won’t overlap. Moreover, pausing will give you some extra time to think your answer through.

11. Handle the distractions professionally

You seemed to eliminate all possible distractions and even blocked your cat in the kitchen. But then, all of a sudden, an Amazon carrier rings the doorbell… How do you go about it? Apologize, mute the microphone and turn off the camera to handle whatever interfered with the conversation. Then, go back to the interview and continue the conversation. It’s best to avoid any interruptions at all, though.

12. See an interview as a conversation, not a Q&A session

One of the biggest challenges of video interviewers is a difficulty in setting up a personal contact. If you simply answer the questions asked and then come up with yours, it won’t help you show your personality and actually become memorable for an interviewer. The solution? Allow yourself to be more personable. Add remarks to interviewer’s phrases, joke if appropriate, or share a short story – while keeping the topics professional, of course. All in all, people whose personality shines through have much better chance to be remembered.

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After the interview

After you’ve closed the video chat window, it’s no time to relax yet! These finishing steps will help you stay top of mind for an interviewer and increase your chances for a job in general:

13. Follow up with a thank-you note

Common courtesy and professional etiquette require that you follow up after the video interview as well. Send a tailored thank you note no later than 24 hours after the interview. You might want to reiterate the key points of the conversation, mention what you’ve forgot to say about your qualifications, and thank the person for their time. By the way, our writers can compose a follow-up letter for you urgently, and our prices for thank-you notes will pleasantly surprise you.

14. Get back in touch

Haven’t heard from the employer for some time? Don’t rush things up. During the challenging crisis time, companies adapt to remote work and optimize process, so it can take them longer to respond to applicants. Yet, if it’s been more than two weeks, be sure to inquire about the status of your application. Keep your tone positive – mention that you’re still interested in working for them and would like to know how to proceed.

15. Keep scheduling interviews until you get an offer

Don’t stop the job-hunting process simply because you wait for an answer from this particular employer. Keep applying for jobs and scheduling more video interviews. Like in any other activity, perfection in video interviewing comes with practice.

5 things to do in your new remote job

Did your video interviewing skills got you hired? To start off the right foot in your new remote job, follow the checklist below:

✓ Face the fact that you’ll be sitting more than you did in the office

Remote workers admit to spending more hours in front of their computer at home than in the office. While working from home, you don’t have a luxury to walk to the restaurant for a lunch, a coffee talk or a meeting. The solution? Give yourself timed breaks to stretch your muscles or go outside.

✓ Review the onboarding materials

Learn the company’s policies and practices pertaining to work. This manual will throw light on the corporate culture, preferred methods of communication, and many more. Familiarize yourself with the software the company uses in advance to avoid slowing down the working process. If you start prepared, you’ll be able to make a tangible contribution since day one.

✓ Learn the communication preferences

The successful outcome of remote work depends heavily on communication. So, figure out the platforms that your colleagues use for discussing various kinds of issue, and stick to what’s commonly accepted. Also, learn the preferred communication time for every coworker – chances are that some of them have flexible schedules.

✓ Clarify expectations with the boss

Most misunderstandings with your boss happen because of expectations that haven’t been discussed. So, take the initiative and ask your management what they expect from you in terms of responsibilities, style of communication, and other aspects of work. These insights will help you outperform.

✓ Take regular breaks

When working from home, it’s easy to forget about breaks and work-life boundaries. Fix this issue proactively. Create a schedule and do your best to stick to it. Don’t forget about breaks to exercise, have a snack or simply socialize with the coworker. Set the boundary between work and life – it will help you relax better in the evenings.

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