5 Tips for Becoming a Video-Interview Hotshot

Becoming a Video-Interview Hotshot

So you’ve landed a job interview. Terrific! But the prospective employer has informed you it will be a video interview, and you’ve never done one before. No problem. We’re here to help.

Given the expense of bringing far-flung candidates in for face-to-face interviews, more companies are conducting video interviews using Skype and similar technology. The key to success is understanding that you must approach a video interview with the same level of professionalism as you would any other.

Here are five tips for acing your next video interview:

Test your technology

Bear in mind that any technical problems that crop up during the interview may harm your prospect of landing the job. Prepare well ahead of your appointment by doing any necessary fine-tuning.

  • Be sure you’ve downloaded the video platform the prospective employer has indicated she is using for your video interview.
  • Set up your account a few hours ahead of time, or better yet, the day before your interview, and test your username and password to make sure you can sign in. And choose a neutral username: Remember, this could be your future boss. 
  • If you don’t have Internet access at home, or your connection has been giving you problems, go to your community job center or to a friend’s house, but make sure you are in a quiet space when the interviewer calls.
  • Double-check to make sure you have access to a power outlet so your laptop, tablet or smartphone won’t run out of power. Also check to see that the device’s webcam, microphone and speaker are working properly.
  • If you’re using a smart phone or tablet, position it on a stable surface, or in a dock, so the video image of you isn’t wobbling during the interview.

Do a trial run

Practice makes perfect. If you’re new to the video platform, try it out first with a friend or relative. But be sure to do it with somebody with a webcam, so they can provide feedback on your volume and eye contact. This is also your opportunity to check your “set” — background, lighting, sound and technology — and to practice keeping positive eye contact with the camera (not the screen).

  • Remember that there will be a person on the other side of the camera, so pay attention to your body language and delivery. Smile, sit up straight, speak slowly and avoid “likes,” “ums” and “ahs.” Your shoulders and face should be framed by the camera. Try to be as natural as possible, as if you were interviewing with the employer in person.
  • Go over a few practice questions and ask your mock interviewer how you did.

To-dos just before go time

Set up early so you’re calm and centered.

  • Leave the flip-flops and sweatpants in the closet. Experts in interviewing techniques note that how you dress the day of your job interview affects your presentation. Even though the hiring manager can’t see those yoga pants, you may inadvertently act more casually just because you’re wearing them.
  • Avoid loud prints and white, as it may detract from your natural skin tone. 
  • Have your interviewer’s contact information — email and phone number — handy. In the event there is an extended delay in your appointment time, you may want to initiate contact.
  • Disable any instant notifications on your laptop, tablet or smartphone that may distract you during the interview.
  • Place any pets in a room separate from you. Tell roommates, children or your significant other that for the next 30 minutes to an hour, you require privacy.
  • Have a clock within view so that you can stay on point within the allotted interview time.

The stage is set. You’re on!

You know the job description, company’s values and mission, and are prepared to make a strong case for why your skills, training and personality dovetail perfectly with the position available. Now it’s time to focus on what you’re going to say.

  • Be prepared by having a few questions ready for the hiring manager or recruiter, at the appropriate time. 
  • Be courteous and allow the interviewer to finish her sentence before you begin to respond.
  • When it’s apparent the interview is over, thank your interviewer for her time and offer to provide any additional information not included in your application package.

Send a thank you

Be sure to send a handwritten or email thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. At the end of your conversation, ask for his mailing or email address so you can extend this courtesy.

Find more tips on video interviewing in this video. Currently on the hunt for an accounting job? Check out our job listings.