You sent out your resume to a job ad and now you have an interview. Trouble is, it’s a video interview, not the phone or in-person interviews you are accustomed to. You might have known it was a remote possibility (pun intended). After all, since the start of the pandemic, recruiters reported a 67 percent spike in video interviews. But don’t fret–we have you covered! From setting aside professional attire to setting up a quiet workspace to host your interview, here is how to prepare for a video interview.
As you begin to look for work, you want to look your best. From the clothes you wear to the smile you give others, it can say a lot about a person. And your interviewer will be paying attention, too. Make sure you come across both professional and confident.
While it may not be necessary to wear a suit and tie to your video interview, put aside a clean-cut ensemble (from head to toe) that makes you look and feel polished. Also, make sure to present them with a winning smile. Before you even get your first interview, use a teeth whitening kit to get a sparkling, brighter smile. Then, give them a touch-up the morning of the video interview with a teeth whitening pen or tooth stain eraser after your morning coffee. There’s nothing that says confidence like a big smile.
Another way to prepare for a video interview is to set up your environment. From proper lighting to a decent camera angle, you want to finalize and tweak these things before the interview even starts. Otherwise, it’s just a distraction (both to you and the interviewer).
Choose a Quiet Spot
To start, choose a quiet spot in your home to hold the video interview. Even if you can’t find a good spot at home, consider a place you can go where you can control your surroundings. Also, make sure the internet connection is good! You don’t want to struggle to connect at a time like this. Whatever you do, avoid video interviews in public places like a coffee shop. Overall, just consider setting up somewhere that’s not too distracting, avoiding noisy and busy areas. If you have kids, ask them to give you quiet time or ask a partner to wrangle them during the interview.
Lastly, tidy up the area. Clear your deskspace, placing only interview materials on top that you might need, like your resume and the job posting. Keep a pad of paper nearby for quick note-taking. The day-of, bring a glass of water, too. You’ll be doing lots of talking!
Set Up Your Lighting
For a video interview, or any other video chat for that matter, you need to have a good lighting source. However, the best lighting is natural lighting. If you can, avoid fluorescent or tungsten lights that can be unflattering and even make you appear sickly. Instead, try to find a spot close to a window where you can pull back the curtains and blinds.
Also, be sure to set up the space or camera where you will be facing your light source. You want to avoid sitting in a way where the natural light or other light source is behind you. This will only create shadows.
One last tip for setting up your lighting? Once you get the camera on, double-check yourself for distracting glares. Make sure your eyeglasses, jewelry or other accessories don’t constantly flash. Your glasses especially should be clear, allowing the interviewer to see your expressions.
Angle Your Camera
Once you determine a quiet spot to set up and to set up proper lighting, it’s time to get your camera angle just right.
As a general rule, you want the camera to be at eye level. Avoid trying to hold your phone and, instead, prop it up with books or get yourself a mini desk tripod or clamp. Not only does this simply free your hands to do other tasks, like flip through a contract or grab your resume for reference, but it also ensures a steady shot.
Also, make sure you are facing the camera directly. If you have multiple monitors, place the camera on the middle or straight-facing one. Intentional or not, body language can make you appear distant and distracted, especially when you turn sideways or look away.
Get used to seeing yourself on screen. Most people tend to watch themselves (checking their hair, etc.), which comes across as inattentive. If you struggle with this, an easy trick is to move the video call window closer to the camera. Ultimately, even if you still catch glances of yourself, it still looks like you are making eye contact with the interviewer.
Now that you have your environment squared away, it’s time to prepare yourself for the video interview. Essentially, just like any face-to-face interview practice, you want to practice with the video. Ask a friend or family member to hop on a quick video call to ensure everything is working properly.
Practice with the exact same software or online platform the interview will be held on. You don’t want to be scrambling to figure out how to mute or turn on the video. Instead, get familiar with the tools and test the connections, including the audio and video.
Also, ask your practice interviewer if they see anything distracting or if your body language appears awkward in any way. After all, as a friend or a family member, they know you well enough to point out a trait that isn’t in your personality. While putting on a professional face is one thing, fidgeting is another.
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Your video interview is getting closer. How else can you prepare? Well, you can tweak your video a bit more and frame your shot.
When you prepare for the video interview, sit down in your chair and adjust how close you are to the screen. Ideally, you want to avoid a screen that’s only a talking head, so make sure to capture your shoulders, too.
Make sure your environment is free of clutter and distractions–not just on your desk, but behind you as well. You may be used to the extensive book collection or family photos, but it can be distracting for the interviewer.
If you experience echoes during your video interview, put on a pair of headphones–specifically, ones with a microphone. Just make sure the mic doesn’t rub against objects, causing annoying feedback.
Pay attention to your body language. There are many ways you can exude confidence through body language, and there are many ways you can impact your interview. But play it safe with basic tips: sit up straight, smile and nod. Let the interviewer know you are eager for the job and paying attention.