We were impressed with your application materials and would like to invite you to a thirty-minute video interview.
Upon your first glance at that sentence, your stomach does backflips. You did it! You made it past the resume review stage and are moving forward with an interview.
But, it doesn’t take long for your stomach to complete that backwards handspring and then dive straight toward your shoes when your eyes catch over the phrase “video interview” again.
I get it—all job interviews are nerve-wracking, but there’s something about a video interview in particular that kicks your anxiety into high gear.
Here’s the thing, though: If you’re going to make it through the hiring process and land a new job, the chances are high that you’re going to need to complete a video interview.
Why? Put simply, employers love them.
They’re far more enlightening and personable than a standard phone screening, they allow companies to interact face-to-face with candidates all over the globe (particularly if they’re hiring for remote positions), and they’ve been proven to shorten the time it takes to actually make a hire.
That means employers are using them more and more. In fact, statistics show that the use of video interviews has increased by 49% since 2011. Even further, six in 10 HR managers state that they use video to interview candidates.
So, whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, chances are good that you’re going to need some solid video interview tips under your belt to impress those potential employers.
What does it take to be extra impressive in these types of interviews? We connected with various hiring and human resources professionals to get the lowdown on how you can ace your video interview and take one more step toward landing that job.
But first...what type of video interview are you dealing with?
There are two main types of video interviews, and it’s important you know which one you’re dealing with so that you can adequately prepare.
Live video interviews: These types of interviews are the ones that typically spring to mind for most people. A live interview is conducted through Zoom, Skype, or another video conferencing platform, and you’ll be asked to answer questions in real-time.
Pre-recorded video interviews: In contrast, this type of interview presents you with a question and then prompts you to record your own answer. You’ll repeat that process until you’ve answered all of the required questions.
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10 video interview tips you should know
Regardless of which type of interview you’re participating in, there are a few tips you should implement to give a polished and professional impression and set yourself up for success. Here are 10 must-know interview tips to help you bring your best to that conversation or recording.
1. Work out the technical details beforehand
The last thing you want is to be totally prepared for that conversation and then have your computer require an update or your audio drop out.
“While it might seem obvious, don’t overlook the importance of checking your internet connection before you have your interview,” says Nate Masterson, HR Manager at Maple Holistics. “Nothing can be more frustrating to both you and your potential employer than freezing or dropped videos.”
It’s smart to do a technical run-through a day before your conversation when you can double-check that all of your technical components (like internet connection, video, audio, and any necessary programs) are working appropriately.
Doing so will give you enough time to troubleshoot if necessary—rather than spiraling into a panic two minutes before your scheduled interview time.
2. Silence all notifications
That interview deserves all of your attention, which means you should eliminate any and all distractions that could potentially throw you or your interviewer off track.
Turn notifications (like email alerts or instant messaging pings) off on your computer, and silence your phone or even leave it in a separate room so you aren’t tempted to peek at it during that conversation.
“Phones should be silenced and turned over as not to be a distraction,” shares Shalanda Tookes Wilder, an Executive Career Coach and Recruiter. “A pet peeve of mine is when someone looks at their phone when we are conversing.”
Mollie Moric, Career Advisor and Hiring Manager at Resume Genius warns,
Even if a candidate has aced their video interview and seems like a perfect fit, I likely won’t hire them if I see them pick up their phone and check messages during an interview.
“Many candidates think that they are being subtle and that their interviewer can’t tell when they are checking their phone, but we can always spot this serious interview faux pas. If you wouldn’t do it during an in-person interview, you shouldn’t do it during a digital interview.”
3. Find a quiet, distraction-free space
Speaking of distractions, the environment in which you complete your interview matters. It should be a quiet, private space where you won’t be sidetracked by barking dogs or vacuuming roommates.
Also, remember that the interviewer can see what’s behind you. Find a space that looks clean and professional. For example, sitting down for that conversation at a desk or kitchen table is preferable to lounging on your bed.
The space should also be fairly simple, so the interviewer’s eye doesn’t keep getting caught by something else.
“Make sure nothing in the background will be a distraction,” adds Tiffani Murray, Career Consultant and Resume Writer at Personality on a Page. “For instance, I once had a client who had a beautiful plant in the background, but where she was sitting it looked like the plant was growing out of her head. We moved it prior to her video interview.”
4. Adjust your computer
In any interview, eye contact is important. But, that’s tougher to do in a video interview when you’re actually just staring at a screen.
“Position your camera at eye level to make this more natural,” advises Maryellen Stockton, Co-Founder of Work Well Wherever.
Place your monitor on a stack of books or something else so you aren’t constantly glancing down and can keep your chin up and maintain proper posture.
Learn more about why eye contact matters (because, yes, it really does!) in this short video.
5. Mind your posture
It’s easy to approach video interviews with not as much formality as you would an in-person interview. However, remember that the interviewer can still see you. Slouching back in your chair will only make you look sloppy and disinterested.
Instead, sit up straight. Jason Patel, Founder of Transizion advises,
For the sake of good posture, keep your hands on your desk. It'll help your shoulders and back align properly.
“If you keep your hands flailing around or by your side, your shoulders will drop, and your back will hunch over. This isn't a confident posture. Instead, keeping your hands on your desk, one on top of the other, helps you keep your shoulders back and neck straight. This is a confident posture, and it'll help you during the interview.”
6. Dress appropriately
“Take the video interview as seriously as you would an in-person interview,” explains Mikaila Turman, VP of People at GoodHire. “That means you still need to consider your appearance and wear a professional-looking outfit suitable for the position.”
Yes, actually get yourself dressed—rather than going halfway and assuming you’ll be able to hide your pajama-clad legs for the entirety of the interview. Putting that effort in will not only make you look more presentable, it will also put you in the right mindset.
“Avoid articles of clothing that may appear ‘busy’ on camera—fine stripes, polka dots, and certain prints could be problematic. If in doubt, choose another outfit,” adds Richard Pummell, Human Resources Lead at DevelopIntelligence.
7. Have your materials ready
“Have anything you may need to reference printed and in front of you,” recommends Christina Butler, Associate and Trainer at The Professional Edge, Inc.
It’s wise to have a copy of your resume, the job description, and any important notes about the company right next to you during the interview so they’re easily accessible.
While you shouldn’t keep your eyes glued on them (remember, eye contact is important!), having those ready means you’ll be able to glance at them when necessary—rather than shuffling around to find them.
8. Do your research
Despite the fact that you’re able to have this conversation from the comfort of your own home, it’s still an interview—which means it deserves the same amount of careful planning and consideration you would give to an in-person conversation.
Don’t forget the interview basics, such as doing plenty of thoughtful research on the position and the company.
"Be well prepared. Candidates should research the company, role, and interviewers, study the job description to understand the job requirements and demonstrate their fit for the role, as well as prepare good questions to ask," says Miki Feldman Simon, Founder of IamBackatWork.
9. Don’t forget to practice
I’ll spare you the “practice makes perfect” cliché. But really, as awkward as it might feel, practice is the key to a successful interview.
Grab a friend to not only help you test out your technical equipment, but also to run through some common interview questions and answers and provide feedback on your responses and demeanor.
Doing so will not only help you think through what you want to say, but will also eliminate some of those nerves that can creep up.
10. Send a thoughtful follow-up note
Following any type of interview (yes, even video interviews!), send a thoughtful “thank you” email to thank that employer for their time and consideration.
It doesn’t need to be anything long. Even just a short message will demonstrate your level of professionalism and your interest in the hiring process. That email can look something like this:
Dear [Contact Name],
Thanks so much for your time during our video interview today!
It was great to learn more about [Company Name] and what the [Job Title] position entails. Following our conversation, I’m even more confident that my skills and experiences would be a valuable addition to your team.
Thanks again for your consideration, and I’m looking forward to hearing about next steps in the hiring process.
All the best,
Pre-interview checklist & other free resources
Implementing the above tips means you’re sure to impress the hiring manager with your video interviewing chops.
Worried you’ll forget something? We’ve pulled everything together in a handy checklist for you right here. Check off each of the boxes ahead of your interview, and we know you’ll knock it out of the park.
Get your free video interview checklist
Make sure you have all bases covered before your next video interview!
For more interview tips, check out our guides on how to answer key interview questions like a pro for different industries:
- How to nail the "tell me about yourself" question
- Soft skills interview questions and answers
- Project management interview questions and answers
- Agile scrum interview questions and answers
- Graphic design interview questions and answers
- Finance interview questions and answers
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