11 Ways to Shine in Your Video Interview

Posted: 08/27/14 | Category: Interviewing

Video interviewing has made overcoming long distances a cinch. Instead of flying or driving hundreds of miles for an out-of-town interview, you can compete for a job in the comfort of your home. Yet at times, a video interview requires you to be a job candidate, a network technician, and a cinematographer all at once. Sound hard? With these 11 tips, it doesn’t have to be.

1.) Only Use a Reliable Web Connection – Video interviewing without a strong internet connection is a gambit. Drop the signal and your chances may drop with it. Not sure how your signal holds up? Test your internet connection speed. Always connect via an Ethernet cable if your digital device allows for it. If not, access a proven wireless network capable of handling high bandwidths.

2.) Seek Out a Soundproof Space – Even the slightest noise can be magnified and disrupt your video interview. Coffee shops, restaurants, and public spaces add their own audio track, but even the sounds of your home can jockey for the interviewer’s attention. What audio will register on the other end? Check your microphone. If a room’s ambiance spikes on the microphone’s levels, then your video interview should happen elsewhere.

3.) Run a Test Interview – Never test new technology on the fly. Video interviewing, though no differential calculus, needs some preparation. Whether using Skype, GChat, or any other video interviewing platform, test the features in advance and acquaint yourself with the basics. Glance over any frequently asked questions on the company’s website before your interview.

4.) Buy or Borrow Extra Equipment – Internal microphones & speakers often have their shortcomings. A test video interview can preemptively identify them. However, there’s no need to go overboard with the sound. The microphone should cleanly capture your voice and the speakers should cleanly convey the voice of your interviewer. Anything else only matters if you’re a serious audiophile.

5.) Center Yourself – Basic video interviewing doesn’t yet allow for panoramic views or for you to adjust the other person’s camera on your end. If you look like a distant speck or don’t have enough head room, that’s the first thing the interviewer will see. Though an unconscious mistake, it can create a bad impression. In your test video interview, adjust the angle of the camera and your distance from it until you find the right balance. 

6.) Adjust the Lights – Bad lighting can ruin a video interview. For starters, never film in front of a window. Any veteran videographer will tell you that natural light is unforgiving. It’s better to use a wall as your backdrop. That leaves you at the mercy of the room’s artificial lighting. Too much lighting can make you appear bleached out. Too little lighting can swallow your silhouette in darkness. Achieving balance may require you to block light sources and add more light with a desk lamp. It may seem a pain, but it pays off. 

7.) Pick the Right Outfit - The color of your outfit matters all the more in a video interview. A color scheme that clashes with your backdrop (i.e. wallpaper, door, etc.) can preoccupy your interviewer. Opt for neutral colors and plan out your wardrobe a day in advance. Also, you still need to dress to impress. Even though you're at home, that doesn't mean you can wear pajama pants. 

8.) Shut Down All Other Devices – Once again, we come back to audible distractions. Though your room may seem distraction free, a cell phone alarm or text alert can break any train of thought. Silence your phone while video interviewing as you would if you were there in person.

9.) Simulate Eye Contact – It feels natural to make contact with the interviewer’s eyes. However, that gives the impression you are staring at his or her chest the whole time. To simulate eye contact, look at the camera lens itself. Then, glance back at the interviewer’s face from time to time to read their expressions. This creates the semblance of natural eye contact.

10.) Know the Interviewer(s) – It seems obvious, but some job seekers have gone into interviews without knowing the names or number of people on the other end. In a traditional interview, you can often recover from this. Video interviewing is less forgiving. There are no name plates on the door. Plus, the surprise of extra interviewers can and has thrown job seekers completely off their game.

11.) Prepare Like Usual – This isn’t an opportunity to slack off and read from cue cards. You need to be as well-versed in a video interview as you would be otherwise. Any good interview is all about strong presentation, giving the illusion that everything is natural and off the cuff.

by James Walsh

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