How to conduct a successful video interview

When you cant shake hands

Get some quick tips for your next digital interview that could help you land the job.

What if your next job interview took place in your home in front of your computer? It just might, if your prospective employer is one of the many companies that recognizes the benefits of conducting remote interviews over the internet versus over the phone.

Video interviews are more personal than phone interviews, and provide companies with a bigger talent pool while reducing travel costs. It also allows the employer and job seeker to gain a better sense for one another's personality, communication style, confidence, and other nonverbal cues often lost during phone interviews.

The digital interview also introduces technological components beyond traditional interview practices. You'll likely be evaluated on how comfortably you can navigate the technology in a professional setting, especially if you're interviewing for a telecommuting position such as web developer, computer programmer or software engineer.

Below are some quick tips for your next digital interview that could make a big difference in helping you land the job.

Setting up the right environment

  • Set up your computer equipment in a quiet location for the interview.
  • Avoid noises coming from music, TV, pets, traffic or construction.
  • If the room's background is in view, tidy up as needed and keep it looking presentable.
  • Make sure the lighting source is sufficient for the time of the interview.
  • Use indirect light in front of your face (not coming from behind you).

What to know about the “technical stuff”

Video:

  • Test the quality of your camera; if the quality is poor, consider borrowing an alternate one.
  • Take note of how your face appears on your monitor, or ask a friend for feedback.

Audio:

  • If possible, use an external microphone to improve the audio quality and to avoid picking up unwanted sounds or echo from the speakers.
  • Test the audio levels by speaking into the microphone just as you will during the interview.
  • Pay attention to your vocal volume and clarity.

Internet connection and computer operation:

  • Test the speed of your internet connection.
  • Make any adjustments that will optimize its performance, such as quitting unneeded applications that use up bandwidth.
  • Practice the entire process in advance with a friend, until you feel confident in your ability to operate every component.
  • Be ready to address unexpected interruptions with professionalism, just as you would if speaking with a customer or client, to show how you would handle yourself in a real-life situation.

Professional behavior to remember

  • Dress professionally as if you were interviewing in person.
  • Create quick access for yourself to important documents, such as your resume, references, portfolio and a calendar to schedule another potential appointment.
  • Keep a phone close by as a backup in case there are issues connecting from either end.
  • Connect with the hiring professional on time, and keep time zone differences in mind.
  • Resist the temptation to watch yourself on the monitor.
  • Find opportunities to look directly into the camera to give the appearance that you're looking into the interviewer's eyes.
  • Smile and put your best foot forward.
  • Stay focused on the interview and avoid checking email, Facebook, etc.
  • Refrain from doing anything distracting like swiveling or rocking in your chair, tapping fingernails or a pen on the desk or jingling noisy jewelry.
  • Keep water close by in case your nerves give you a dry mouth.

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