Video interviews can be a great way to connect with a potential employer, especially if you’re interviewing for a position which would require you to relocate or work remotely. But video interviews are also full of potential pitfalls. These five steps can help you to prepare for a video interview and increase your chances of making a positive impression.
Test Your Equipment
Sit down and test the equipment that you will need for the interview, including your computer and your webcam. Make sure that your internet is fast enough to video chat in real time, and familiarize yourself with how your webcam works and where the volume and screen brightness controls are. Check your volume and see if your microphone picks up your speech well.
Test your equipment well in advance of your interview so that if you encounter problems, you will have some time to fix them.
Ask a friend or family member to help you prepare by conducting video chats so that you can get used to how things will feel during the interview. Talking through video can be a little unsettling, and the fact that you can see yourself during the chat can distract many people. Practice looking straight at the camera, rather than the screen, and ask your friend or family member for feedback. This is also a great time to determine what computer height and angle is most flattering for you.
Prepare an Appropriate Location
You will also want to give some thought to the location that you’ll use for the interview. If you have reliable internet and a home office, then conducting the video interview at home may be a suitable option. Be sure that you schedule the interview for a time when you will have some privacy, and when any children or animals are ideally out of the house or are being supervised in a non-adjacent room.
Carefully assess the background that will appear in the interview. You should try to find a background which is fairly plain and non-distracting. Arrange some lights so that your face is lit and there are no major shadows, but avoid placing lights directly behind you, since they can interfere with the camera’s ability to focus.
Research and Prepare
Don’t get too distracted by the fact that you’ll be interviewed via video – in truth, a video interview is quite similar to an in-person interview. Research and prepare for the interview much as you would for an in-person interview. Spend some time researching the employer and the position. Make a list of any questions that you have so that you can refer to it during the interview. Give some thought to how you will respond to any standard interview questions that you may be asked.
Preparation can also help to ensure your success on a video interview. Sit down in front of your camera and practice responding to interview questions. Watch your posture and body language – do you appear confident, or are you fussing with your hands or hunching forward? Practice speaking clearly and calmly, and rehearse a bit in the clothing that you intend to wear so that you can spot any potential wardrobe issues ahead of time.
Be Prepared for Technical Issues
Any time that you work with technology, there’s the potential for something to go wrong. While testing your equipment should eliminate many potential issues, you may still run into problems on the day of your interview. Internet downtime, power outages, and even webcam issues may throw a kink into your video interview.
It is best to have some backup plans in case these issues occur. If possible, have another computer on standby. Plan a backup location where you can conduct the interview if your internet or power goes out. And make sure that you’re prepared with a phone number so that you can reach the employer in case something does happen.
With today’s continuous technological advancements, the chances are good that you will be interviewed via video at some point during your job search. Spend some time preparing, remember that you’re an asset to the employer, and have a great interview!