You’ve been invited to your first video job interview. Congratulations! This might be a brand-new experience for you, as remote meetings with hiring managers have increasingly become the standard in a post-pandemic world.
While a virtual job interview is similar to one that takes place in person by allowing you to detail your expertise for the role and learn more about the position, there are a few factors and things to be aware of that can help or hurt your chances of getting the job. Be sure to check out our video interview tips below to give yourself that extra edge, nail the interview and secure an offer!
1) Test Your Equipment
Faulty equipment can make it challenging to communicate effectively. That’s why it’s especially important to test your camera and microphone ahead of time to ensure they work properly. A great starting point would be to get feedback from friends and family by doing a test call in advance. Ask them if they can see and hear you clearly — if not, you have ample time to iron out the kinks before your interview.
2) Optimize Your Connection
Internet connection quality is another factor that can impact how effectively you communicate in the interview. If you find that your connection is slow or frequently lags, try getting closer to your router or plug an ethernet cable directly into your computer or laptop. Be sure to also close down all background programs and browser tabs to prevent your computer from slowing down during your meeting.
3) Set Up Ahead of Time
One of the bonuses of a video interview is that you can skip the commute. However, be sure to still give yourself enough time to get organized and join the meeting promptly. Technical difficulties almost always seem to pop up at the last minute, even if you’ve successfully completed a test as described in Step 1. So, set up and test your equipment ahead of time to avoid scrambling to join your video interview on time.
4) Pay Attention to Framing and Lighting
Think of a video interview as an extension of an in-person one –- the way you present yourself still matters! Aside from dressing the part, framing and lighting are also key.
Start with lighting. If possible, try to set up in a well-lit area that illuminates your face. Avoid backlighting as it will cast your face in shadow and make it difficult for the interviewer to see you clearly.
Another mistake to avoid is poor camera angling. Try positioning your camera so that your face is centred on the screen instead of displaying half of your ceiling! And while this is a no-brainer, be sure that your surroundings are clean and tidy, removing anything from your framing that could be a visual distraction. Opting for a neutral backdrop like a bare wall can help with this.
5) Reduce Background Noise and Other Distractions
Background noise is another factor that can be distracting. Of course, you cannot have total control over this, but there are measures you can take to reduce noise. While this is another no-brainer, start by picking a quiet spot to participate in the video interview. Close any doors or windows, too, in case a noisy truck drives by or a neighbour starts their lawn mower. And, of course, inform others in your household about your interview and the importance of keeping noise to a minimum during your meeting window. Remember to use your mute button when appropriate.
Don't forget to set your phone to silent and, if you use chat software like Slack, be sure to turn off notifications to avoid any interruptions or distractions that may pop up on your screen.
6) Be Present!
Whether you’re doing a virtual group interview or a one-on-one meeting, an important video interview tip is to stay present and engaged. It can be easier to get distracted when you aren’t in the same room as your interviewer. That’s why it’s especially important to remove or reduce distractions as much as possible.
Group interviews can be intimidating and it can be tempting to stay on mute and allow someone else to speak first. However, taking the initiative and engaging your interviewers is your opportunity to stand out amongst your peers.
Another huge part of staying present in a virtual space is maintaining “eye contact”. What this means is looking into the camera instead of your screen. If this feels uncomfortable, Big Interview suggests resizing and moving the interviewer’s video window closer to your camera. By doing so, your eyes are naturally drawn closer to the camera without forcing you to stare directly into it.
Finally, while it is perfectly fine to have a list of questions you would like to ask your interviewer, try to limit how much you read them off the sheet or screen. Your interviewer will notice this and it could convey unpreparedness. Review the important questions you wish to raise with the interviewer in advance will help you feel confident and comfortable in asking for additional details about the position.
We hope these video interview tips help in your search for a new job. Aside from the technical aspects of meeting virtually and the need to be aware of your surroundings, there aren’t too many differences between a video interview and an in-person one. Remember to be courteous, polite and confident! If you’ve been selected for an interview, it means the hirer is already impressed with your experience and interest in the job. In addition to this, be sure to do your research on the organization or company you are interviewing to join and be prepared with questions.
If you need additional support in finding a job or working towards a career, know that the Y is here to help. Browse through our Employment Services programs and see what we have to offer. Good luck in your job search!