Keys to Successful Video Interviews

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By Reneé Zung
March 16, 2021
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An interview is essentially a structured conversation where one participant asks questions, and the other provides answers. Interviewers rely on interview questions to determine a candidate’s fit for the role. The key to successfully interviewing is creating a conversation and being able to tell the story of your accomplishments. Interviewing is not selling it is matching your skills to what the company needs and being the right fit. Interview questions focus on the candidate’s skill and experience and how they match the company’s culture and needs.

Video interviews are no different than in person interviews, they are still conversations. The challenge of video interviewing is the parameters of the screen. There are ways to improve your body language and make a lasting impression. In a video interview it is important to remember to keep the camera about 12 inches away and use gestures closer to your body than the camera. Your background as seen through the camera should be clear of clutter and the space well-lit. Try to avoid interviewing with light streaming through windows behind you. Practice good posture as well, keeping your shoulders back and if you are going to lean make sure it is forward and not backwards. Imagine sitting across from the interviewer in an office, you would engage by leaning in. Look into the camera to maintain eye contact, if you have difficulty remembering to look into the camera use a sticky note with an arrow or smiley face to remind you.

Keys to successful video interviewing:

  • Prepare your stories, know your resume and how your skills match the job description and how your style and experience fit the culture.
  • Prepare your interview space. Secure a private and brightly lit area. where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions.
  • Prepare your technology, download the video conference platform before the interview, familiarize yourself with the platform and if possible, practice with someone before the interview using the platform. Log on 10 minutes early and test your speakers and microphone or headphones, camera, and background.
  • Have a backup plan. At the beginning of the interview provide an alternate number, such as your cell phone if you are using your headphones or speakers.
  • Remember that an interview is a two way conversation and not an interrogation. To keep the conversation flowing you can ask your questions throughout the interview, following up an answer you provided with a related or counterpoint question. Video interview questions do not have to wait to the end, even though it is on screen, it is not a webinar with questions following the presentation.
  • Prepare your questions to ask. You can have your questions written down on paper just as you would in person. Remember to ask about the next steps in the interview process and how they will communicate those steps to you.

Follow-up the interview with a thank you note. Mark on your calendar when you expect to hear back from the company. If you do not hear back it is time to follow-up. Keep in mind that, while the company needs to hire for the position, it is not their number one priority. The company’s priority is keeping their business running.

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