How to Ace Your Video Interview

By Lana Johnson on September 18, 2018

The number of companies who are conducting job interviews through video is on the rise; in fact, organizations say they are 61 percent more likely to use video at some point in their talent acquisition process. Let's look at why companies are using video, the types of video interviews, and four keys to video interview success for job seekers.

Video Interviews on the Rise

There are many advantages to video interviewing. For companies, video interviewing reduces scheduling challenges, they save time and expense when interviewing candidates from other geographic locations, and video interviews provide a more personal connection earlier in the interviewing process.

There are similar advantages for candidates when it comes to saving time and having a more positive, personal candidate experience.

If you’re a job seeker who is new to video interviewing, you might feel intimidated or unsure about how it all works. Our blog today gives you all the pointers you need to ace the video interview and move forward in the hiring process.  

Types of Video Interviews

There are two types of video interviews: live video interviews and one-way interviews.

Live interviews are active two-way conversations through video between the interviewer and you, the job seeker. Consider this the same as a phone or in-person interview; it’s just done through video. There are many different platforms employers might use for a live video interview such as video chat services (like Skype) or video interviewing platforms (such as SparkHire, Montage, or others). Video interview platforms offer many features such as the ability to record the interview and automated scheduling tools.

Live Video Interview

During one-way interviews, interview questions are given to you in either text or video form. You record and submit your responses, and then, on their own time, the recruiter or hiring manager reviews your video interview. One-way video interviews are sometimes referred to as “asynchronous” because as the job seeker, you’re the only one on the interview and you’re the only one doing the talking.

Today we’re focusing on how you can master the live video interview. The key is preparation in four main areas:

  1. Your set up
  2. Your environment
  3. Your appearance
  4. Your actual interview

4 Steps to Video Interview Success

Step 1: Your Set Up

Depending on the platform or service the hiring company is using for your video interview, you might need to download software or an app. Make sure you do this well in advance of your interview in case you have any difficulties. If the hiring company sends you a tutorial on how to use their platform, make sure you review it.

How you look and sound is very important so test out the camera and sound on your computer beforehand. Clean the lens on your camera for the clearest picture. Consider investing in an external HD webcam if the camera on your computer is weak or if the picture is bad.  

Make sure the camera is at eye level. If you’re using a laptop on a desk, for example, the camera angle will be too low. Prop it up to eye level. Doing so will help you avoid any unflattering angles.

If you must use your phone for your interview, consider spending a few dollars on a phone tripod. This will keep your picture steady and it makes it less obvious that you’re using a phone.

Do a couple of practice runs to test out the picture and the sound. Ask a friend or family member to help. Set up a few days before the interview, and test everything out again the “day of.” Finally, and most importantly, make sure your WiFi signal is strong and reliable.

Step 2: Your Environment

You want the environment around you to help you put your best foot forward. Your objective is to prevent any distractions so that the interviewer stays focused on you and why you’re the best person for the job.

Make sure your background is cleaned up, office-like, and clutter-free. If necessary, put up a simple clean background. Check the lighting to avoid any glare from back lighting or any unflattering shadows. If necessary, position some lamps or lighting to give you a bright, clear appearance.

Not only do you want your background to be visually appealing; make sure your background is noise-free. If you have pets or kids, make arrangements to keep them quiet and out of view during your interview (remember the BBC guy?). Turn off your phone or any other devices that might make background noise while you’re talking.

How to Ace Your Video Interview

Step 3: Your Appearance

Pay as much attention to your appearance as you would for a face-to-face interview. Your attire should be professional and you should wear what you would in person. Dress for the interview from top to bottom (you never know if you’ll need to stand up during the video interview). Stick with solids and avoid distracting prints that might not come across well on camera.

Once you’re on camera, focus on making great eye contact. One tricky aspect of a video interview is to maintain strong eye contact by looking directly at the camera. You’ll be tempted to look at the screen to see yourself or the interviewer, but keep your eye on the camera. Make sure you have great posture, sit still, and smile!

Step 4: Your Interview

During your actual video interview you should have a pen, paper, your resume, and your notes at your disposal. Close everything else on your computer and turn off any audio or visual notifications that might pop up on your computer (or from any other devices, like your home or mobile phone) to eliminate any distractions.

Beware that sometimes, video can lag or the screen can freeze. And sometimes, of course, the technology can be glitchy or fail altogether. If that happens, remain calm. Log out and log back in, or look for direction from the interviewer. It happens!

As far as the interview itself, do all of your research and prepare thoroughly on your answers to potential questions, plus the questions you want to ask. Need help getting ready for the interview? Review Advanced’s Interview Prep Guide to get all the information you need to succeed.

Subscribe and stay up to date