Video job interviews are an increasingly common part of the hiring process. These interviews can take several forms. If you have one coming up, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with all the variables so you can be prepared. In this guide, we will walk you through the types of video interviews, what you should wear, and helpful tips on body language and eye contact.
Before we get into the specifics, take note that the content of a video job interview can be similar to in-person or phone interviews. As a result, the following will also be useful to you as you prepare:
Video interview locations
In-office video interviews
Some video interviews will take place at your potential employer’s office. This may happen if you are interviewing with someone at the company who is based in another location. In this situation, you will want to follow the best practices for an in-person interview: prepare beforehand, dress appropriately, arrive early and be respectful of everyone you encounter.
When you arrive at the office, you will typically be led to a room with all the equipment you will need for your video interview. Ask the person who brought you to the room to help you set up the interview and make sure everything is working before they leave. You may also want to ask them how you can find them if your audio or video connection stops working at any point.
Remote video interviews
Some video interviews take place outside of the potential employer’s office. In this case, you will be responsible for finding a quiet location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Specifically, you will need:
- An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second.
- A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option.
- Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.
- A quiet, private and well-lit place where you will not be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that is free from distractions. Avoid coffee shops and other communal spaces.
If you do not have these resources already, you may want to consider the following:
- Explore the resources available at the public library in your area. Some libraries have private rooms you can reserve and may be able to loan you the equipment you need.
- Ask friends if you can borrow equipment.
- Rent equipment.
Live vs. pre-recorded video interviews
Some interviews will be live, meaning that you might join a video conference from a link that the employer shares with you, or you might receive a call via Skype, Google Meet or another video conference provider. Once connected, you will be able to see and speak with an interviewer on the other end.
If you are using a personal Skype or Google account, make sure that you have a professional username and check your privacy settings. If you have any concerns about whether your username is professional enough, you may want to set up a new account for your video interviews just in case.
There are times when an employer may use pre-recorded video interviews. In this format, the employer will give you instructions on how to join the interview. Instead of being connected with a person, you will be prompted to answer interview questions that have been pre-recorded or appear in writing on the screen. You will record your answer to each question and the employer will review the recording later. There is often a time limit for your answers, and you may be given more than one chance to record each answer.
The pre-recorded format can feel unnatural to some people. Try to imagine that you are having a live conversation. Your preparation for the interview will be especially useful in this setting—be sure you have your answers at the ready.
Whether your video interview is live or pre-recorded, make sure that you have closed other apps or windows on your computer that could interrupt the conversation or slow the internet connection. Set your phone to silent before you begin the conference.
What to wear for a video interview
For your video interview, you should dress professionally—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Research the company culture before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate.
To look your best on camera, avoid bright colors and patterns and opt for softer colors instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid color rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.
Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centered on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.
Video interview body language
Eye contact is very important during an in-person interview, and you want to convey that same level of connection during a video interview. Here’s how: Avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you are answering a question. Instead, when you speak, you want to direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you are listening, you can look back at the screen.
When you are listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you are giving them your full attention. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate and keep your movements close to your body. Avoid fidgeting or letting your gaze drift away from the device.
Some more tips:
- Find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions.
- Ensure your internet connection is stable.
- Check that your computer’s audio is working.
- Test your computer’s webcam.
- Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
- Dress professionally and avoid bright colors.
- Have a pen, notepad and copy of your resume on your desk.
- When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged.
- Use hand gestures when appropriate.
- Place your phone in silent mode.