In recent months, pandemic-related restrictions have urged many hiring managers to shift their interview processes to online video platforms. While these video conferences run similarly to an in-person meeting, career advisors say they can present unique challenges to candidates who aren’t yet familiar with the technology. If you’re new to the experience, here are a few ways to plan for a successful online video interview.
How to Prepare for Your Next Video Interview
1. Coordinate the Setting
Although you may be working from home, your camera should present a strictly professional environment to the employer. Before the scheduled call, turn the webcam on and see how you and your surroundings appear on screen. Apart from tidying up the area, make sure you’ll be well-lit and free from other distractions — such as kids and pets — during the interview.
2. Wear a Nice Outfit
In general, your interview outfit should look slightly more professional than what the current employees wear daily. While the outfit should be clean and pressed, also choose clothes that are comfortable. Otherwise, you may end up adjusting the outfit throughout the interview.
3. Look at the Camera
Career advisors often encourage their clients to maintain eye contact during in-person interviews to create a connection. However, when staring at another person’s eyes through a video chat platform, you may not look like you’re maintaining a focus. In these situations, the best way to establish eye contact is to stay focused on the camera lens and avoid looking directly at others’ faces on the screen.
4. Optimize Your Audio
Even when using high-resolution video, the interview won’t go far if the other end can’t hear you clearly. Since it can be hard to maintain proper volume and clarity with a built-in computer mic, it’s better to speak through Bluetooth-enabled earbuds. These devices will pick up your voice with precision and reduce background noise.
5. Practice With a Friend
In the days leading up to your interview, arrange to have a practice session with a friend. During the practice call, your friend can walk you through questions so that you have time to prepare thoughtful answers. They can also highlight any lingering audio or video issues that should be fixed before the interview.
I'm an executive coach who works with clients on leadership and transition challenges, including retiring with enthusiasm and ease.