Initial interviews by phone or Skype are more common than they used to be. It’s a cost-effective way to screen candidates in the initial stages of a recruitment process.
As hiring becomes more global, both for employers and candidates, video interviewing is a way to expedite the interview process.
I know from experience that many job seekers find video interviews quite intimidating. They think it’s hard enough to interview face-to-face, let alone in front of a camera and microphone! However, with a bit of advance planning, the video interview is not very different from an in-person interview.
Your aim is to prepare and be comfortable with the video interview format so no technical challenges distract you from making a great impression. Here are some tips for acing your video job interview.
Make sure your username and profile picture create the right impression
You don’t want your profile picture to be a topless holiday photo, as was the case with one of our candidates! Also, your username should be professional. PartyGirl85 won’t cut it. You don’t want the interviewer to misjudge you at the start of the interview.
Dress like you would for a normal interview
I’ve heard of someone who wore sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt for his Skype interview. It seemed like he couldn’t care less.
Avoid any unprofessional or distracting background
You don’t want the interviewer to see a pile of laundry behind you. Elaborate backgrounds can be very distracting too.
Test your Skype connection before your interview
Check that the Internet connection works and that the lighting is flattering. You don’t want to look washed out or shrouded in shadows. Test the sound and close all other Internet applications that could interfere with Skype.
Be aware of background noise
The microphone picks up all noises, so avoid typing or shuffling papers during the interview.
Make eye contact
That means looking directly into the camera most of the time, not at the screen or the picture screen of yourself.
Sound enthusiastic and energetic
Not bored or uncomfortable. You should try to come across as passionate about the job and the organisation in any interview, including a video interview.
Prepare a two-minute pitch about yourself
Really think about how you want to come across and what sets you apart from other candidates.
Act as if you’re in the interviewer’s office
Good posture is important; sit up straight and try not to slouch or fidget.
Don’t forget to spend time preparing to answer the interview questions. Looking good on webcam is important, but your answers to the interview questions are even more important.
Remember to also ask them some good questions and send a thank you note after your interview to reiterate your interest in the role.
Margaret Buj is a career and interview coach who specialises in helping professionals to get hired, promoted and paid more. She has 13 years of experience in recruiting for global technology and eCommerce companies across Europe and the US.
In the last 12 years, she’s successfully coached hundreds of people to help them to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. If you would like 1-to-1 interview coaching you can contact Margaret on firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more interview advice here.