Statistics show that video technology is being used by at least 60% of hiring managers and recruiters. A survey of 506 companies revealed that 47% use video interviewing to shorten the hiring timeframe, and 22% would consider it for interviewing candidates that aren’t local. Given that today most of us are hunkered down at home, that percentage is likely to be much higher. So, if you’re in the midst of a job search, it’s more important than ever to ace your next video interview. These tips will help you prepare in a way that will put you head and shoulders above your competition.
Set-up for the video interview
The first step is to ensure that you have the right set-up. Choose an area where you can control your surroundings (not a noisy coffee shop). If possible, look for a location with natural light and a neutral, clutter-free background. The key is to face the light source. If the light is behind you, it will create shadows. Test different lighting options to see which works best for you. In terms of a camera, try to use an external webcam versus a built-in one if your budget allows. They typically offer higher image quality and more positioning flexibility. If you have a MacBook, you can probably get away with the built-in webcam. You’ll want to position your webcam to be above your eye-line, angled slightly downward. Although you don’t necessarily need one, a headset is a good idea. It will reduce any ambient noise and make the tone of your voice richer and clearer. Test your internet speed to be sure it’s fast enough and use a wired ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. This will be faster, smoother, and less likely to cut out randomly. Because technology is unpredictable, do a complete run-through at least the day before your interview.
Preparing for the video interview
Practice for the video interview as you would an in-person meeting. Consider doing a practice run with a close friend or family member. Don’t expect to rely on notes as it will look awkward on camera. Also, dress professionally based on the company culture. It will help you to feel and act like a winning candidate. The number one thing recruiters say they hate to see in a video interview is distractions. Fortunately, this is something you can easily avoid. Take steps to remove interruptions like the following:
- Set your phones to silent
- Remove pets or put them in another room
- Close your windows to eliminate outside noises
- Put a sign on your front door alerting people not to ring the doorbell
With a little planning, you’ll be able to prevent any unneeded disturbances.
During the video interview
At the start of the call, have a copy of your resume, pen, paper, and a glass of water nearby. Maintain eye contact by directing your gaze at the webcam, rather than your interviewer on the screen. Keep your mood upbeat and let your personality shine through. Maintain proper posture and avoid fidgeting. Listen actively by nodding when appropriate, so they know you’re giving them your full attention. Smile throughout the interview, but not so much that it appears unnatural.
After the video interview
Send the interviewer a thank you note or email following the discussion. Follow-up with them on the status if you don’t hear back within a reasonable timeframe. Remember, be patient. With the current crisis, the process could take longer than usual.
Ultimately, preparing for a video interview is the same as preparing for a face to face meeting. Research the company, communicate your value, and develop a list of intelligent questions. As they say, “practice makes perfect.” The more you practice using video for interviewing, the more comfortable you will feel. There’s no question that the hiring process is becoming more technologically advanced. By embracing this visual medium, you’ll soon be ready to edge out the competition.
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