Video job interviews are quite common these days. And though they aren’t actually that different from in-person interviews, they do feel different. At least for those of us who didn’t grow up with Skype and Google Hangouts.
There are a couple of different ways in which video interviews are conducted. One of these is an interview that takes place in a set location; you go to the company office to be interviewed by someone who isn’t on site. Another is the remote interview, which takes place anywhere you happen to be. The former is, obviously, pretty much just an in-person interview on camera. The latter requires a different kind of prep.
So, if you’ve got on coming up, here are some tips for acing your next remote video interview.
Find a suitable location
Find a quiet, well-lit place that is not the bathroom. I once read about an interviewee who conducted their interview in a bathroom, with the toilet visible in the background. The hiring manager was unimpressed. I know it can be hard to find a place for some, but there is no way the bathroom is your only option. If you live in a small space with a family and little kids, rent a room at a co-working space, go to a friend’s house, get someone to come over and occupy the kids for a half hour, or see if your local library has a room you could use. How you handle this will tell the employer something about your problem-solving skills.
Check the surroundings
Make sure the area is not a huge mess. Tidy up. If there’s artwork or posters on the wall, ask yourself if it reflects the image you want to portray. Maybe take down the Hot Firemen of 2019 calendar.
Even if you think they’re only going to see you from the waist up, wear pants. You never know what could go wrong. In fact, you should dress as though you are going to an in-person interview. Your clothing won’t just affect what the interviewer thinks of you; research suggests that what you wear affects both your cognitive ability and negotiating skills. To be at your best, dress yours appropriately. Dress for the job you want, as they say (unless that job is Batman).
Warn your family and/or roommates. Is someone liable to wander into the room naked or rush in to excitedly tell a joke of questionable taste? Make sure they understand that you’re doing an interview and this is not acceptable. You might also want to lock the pets out. I once did an interview while my puppy kept trying to play with me. I played with him and didn’t get the job (though, if that’s actually the reason, I also didn’t want it. So, make your own choices here).
Put your phone in silent mode
Check your tech. Check that your internet is working and that whatever video software you’re using is up to date. Run a test with a friend, if possible. And if there is a problem, find a solution. Test your camera and mic. If there’s a tech glitch during the interview, you’re not going to get that chance to make a first impression again. It won’t necessarily kill your chances of getting the job, but it won’t help (unless you find a masterful way to save the situation that is so impressive it makes you look like a hero).
Print materials you might need
Print any notes you might need, so you don’t have to look for them on your computer during the interview. Have a copy of your resume for reference, if you don’t have it memorized.
Just behave as you would in person. Have a conversation. Use hand gestures if that’s what you do, smile, make eye contact, and convey all the enthusiasm you would in an in-person interview. If there are technical glitches, do your best to overcome them and handle them with aplomb.