How To Prepare For A Video Interview

12 October 2020 Brijesh Mongia

Video Interview Tips For Candidates

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, video interviewing has become a very popular hiring tool among recruiters. Preparing for a video interview is very similar to preparing for any other interview–the questions you will be asked and the ways you should conduct yourself will be the same. You will, however, have to take some additional things into consideration when video interviewing, including learning to use some hardware and software, how to look good on camera, and how to maintain proper eye contact. 

According to a survey, 60% of hiring managers and recruiters started using video interviews at some stage in their hiring process.

At the same time, 57% of candidates said that they prefer live video interviews, while 34% prefer in-person interviews and ONLY 9% prefer one-way pre-record video assessment tools

The good news is that most of your competitors are terrible at video interviews (yes, even if they prefer this type of interview, it doesn’t mean they are good at it). Sadly, the bad news is that you are likely in the same boat.

But here is the thing – you shouldn’t be. Even though the ability to shine in a video interview requires some skills and savvy beyond basic job interview best practices it doesn’t mean you cannot master it.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to properly prepare for a video interview to give you the best chance possible.

Treat it like a regular face to face interview.

You may be doing the interview from your living room, but don’t let yourself get too comfortable. Wear exactly what you would if the interview were in person. It’s tempting to wear a nice shirt paired with pajama pants, but doing that will negatively impact your performance. Putting on business clothing signals to your brain that it’s time for work, not relaxation. It’s a simple yet powerful mind trick that truly works.

Don’t rely on notes.

You can’t use notes in a face to face interview, so don’t use them in a video interview. There’s no way of using them discretely, no matter how hard you try. You’ll be seen glancing away on the video, which makes it very obvious to the hiring manager that you’re reading from something. The perception will be that you aren’t confident, aren’t prepared, or aren’t engaged – not the message you want to send. That will likely cause the hiring manager to stop watching your video and move onto the next candidate.

Know the rules.

Make sure to read the instructions carefully before you record your interview. You should be told how long you’ll have to answer each question and what the time limit is on each recording, as well as if there’s an option to re-record your answers. I highly recommend not utilizing the re-recording tool. Re-recording often causes you to come off as robotic, rehearsed, or forced. None of these are desirable qualities in a job interview, nor do they help you stand out in a crowded field of candidates.

Put your phone away.

Put your phone on silent and leave it in another room. You don’t want any distractions during the interview, and it’s all too easy to let a quick glance at a phone derail your train of thought. Better yet, turn off vibrate so your phone is completely silent. That will ensure a 100% distraction-free environment.

Make sure your environment is quiet.

Nothing is more disruptive than a person shouting or the sound of a coffee machine in the background. Find a quiet spot where you can guarantee there won’t be any background noise for the interview. If you have roommates, let them know when you’ll be doing the interview so they can keep quiet. Also, avoid chewing gum or eating a lozenge, as the sound of that will be picked up by the recording.

Get set up 10 minutes early.

Have everything you need for the interview ready to go 10 minutes before the interview starts. Put your phone away, turn on your computer, have your login info ready, then take a few minutes to relax. A quick meditation or guided breathing exercise will help you focus on and ease your nerves.

Test all your tech beforehand.

Make sure that everything works before you log in and start the interview. Check that your camera is working and find a flattering angle with good lighting. Make sure that your background isn’t cluttered or showing anything that doesn’t work appropriately. For the best audio, use headphones to ensure that your speech is captured clearly.

Prepare exactly the same way you would if you were doing a face to face interview. Do your homework, learn about the company, review the job description, and know what skills you want to highlight in the interview. Remember that the video interview is simply a different format, and don't let that rattle your nerves.

Adapted from Forbes Magazine