I wrote an article recently that featured a few tips for a successful phone interview. In it, I mentioned video and realized it might be a good idea to share some tips for a successful video interview. Like phone interviews, video is becoming increasingly popular given the pandemic. And I don’t see it going away anytime in the near future because employers are finding it to be very cost effective.
Like phone interviews, it’s absolutely essential to plan before a video interview. Here are a few things to consider:
- Confirm your technology. Generally, phone interviews are shorter and well, they’re on your phone. A video interview could be longer so you might not want to use technology that you’re going to have to hold the entire time. Make sure whatever tech you’re using is charged and ready to go. Test whatever software you’re using for the call in advance and make sure you know what to do if the technology doesn’t work during the interview. The recruiter should give you this information in advance. If they don’t, you should ask.
- Plan your background. I recently conducted a poll over on HR Bartender about video backgrounds. They do matter and people pay attention to them. As you’re testing out your technology (see number one above), look at the video background. Make sure that anything you see in the background you want a recruiter to see. As an HR pro, I’m going to tell you that candidates do not take enough time in this area and the number of NSFW items in video backgrounds…yowza!
- Think about your wardrobe. I’m not mentioning clothing because you need to dress hip or flashy. You be you. But video cameras can distort your clothing. For example, if I went to an in-person interview, I could wear a striped blouse, and no one would pause. It’s totally fine. A striped shirt on video can be distracting. You want the recruiter to be focused on your experience and strengths, not the pattern on your clothing. So, look at what you plan to wear on video to make sure it’s camera-friendly. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but just in case…wear pants.
- Have a pen and paper handy. You might want to take notes during the interview. A question might pop into your head during the conversation. Or you might think of something you want to share. Trying to remember this information will be reflected in your facial expression. Just jot a note – maybe a couple of words to prompt your memory – and stay focused on the conversation.
- Prepare your questions. Given what’s going on right now, it’s possible that you might have a phone interview and then a video interview. You will want to have some questions prepared for each. In fact, you might start with, “Last time we spoke, we talked about XYZ, I’d like to hear more.” It’s always good to ask what next steps will be in the interview process. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you’re asked multiple times about your salary requirements. Especially, if the position you’re applying for pays less than what you’ve been paid in the past.
- Check your security settings after the call. Many times, you will have to “allow or permit” your technology device to use the video and microphone to conduct the interview. It’s totally up to you, but you might want to turn those permissions off once the interview is over. The downside is that you have to remember to turn them on every time. The upside is you don’t have to worry about security risks.
While the format for interviews is evolving, the purpose of the interview hasn’t changed. It’s for the organization to learn about your skills and experience. It’s also for you to learn about the company. Don’t lose sight of that. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to be flexible and resilient, two qualities that employers everywhere are looking for.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas