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The Art of the Video Interview


Recently someone was sharing a story of their first video interview. The technology used was Skype and the individual was a great match for the role and very knowledgeable. What happened though is that the individual found themselves a little taken back when the interview turned out to be six people on the other end of the video screen. This got me to thinking about how really the same rules apply to video interviews as in-person and phone interviews, with the addition of some video specific items.

To start one of the biggest is the prep work done in advance of the interview. This includes asking ahead of time the names and titles of who you will be interviewing with. Not only does this help you mentally prepare for the number of people you may be faced with, it also gives you the opportunity to look up those people ahead of time and learn a little more about them. Similarly to how you would also want to research the company, role, and industry prior to the interview.

As mentioned above do homework but don't over plan; the interview may take unexpected and useful turns.

Think of some of the questions you will ask ahead of time. Type or write them out and keep them by your side as a reminder. Some examples:

What is a day or week in the life of this position like? Can you show me an example of a project I’d be working on?

What is the history of this position? Is it newly created? If not, why did the previous person leave it? Is there room for advancement or career training in this position? What are the most important objectives for this position in the first few months? What’s the company culture like? Do you have any concerns about my qualifications? — This is a tough question to ask, but one that really sets you apart from other candidates. What are the next steps in the interview process? — This should always be your last question.

Don't forget to listen carefully and maintain good eye contact. We all know how important it is to make confident eye contact during an interview. This can be much tougher to do via video. When you’re speaking to someone via video conference, your eyes naturally want to focus on the face of your conversation partner. Depending on where that face is on your monitor and the location of your webcam, this can cause you to appear on-screen as if you are looking down or away. Practice ahead of time and be sure you are in a neutral setting. A clear wall behind you or home office setting is preferable.

Other tips including specific video tips:

  • Make sure to smile :)

  • Adjust your chair and lighting as needed.

  • Practice run, and have your resume in front of you and a notepad for jotting things down.

  • Check your webcam and make sure it works and that the software settings are optimized.

  • Check that your mic is working and that you can be heard clearly.

  • Close out of any other programs and double check your internet connection.

  • Practice with the technology you will be using, this is another question to ask ahead of time. Place a short video test-call to someone (if possible).

  • Keep a glass of water nearby, and don't forget to use the bathroom beforehand.

The Importance of Practicing In the time leading up to your video interview, practice getting comfortable both with your interview skills and the art of interviewing on camera. Interviewing is a skill (just like anything else), so the more you practice, the better you’ll get.

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