Video interviews are becoming more commonplace as employers hire remote employees or individuals who may relocate for the position. Although you can still share more about what makes you a great candidate for the role, it's important to prepare specifically for a video interview since it has different variables compared to an in-person meeting. By adequately preparing for the video interview, you have a higher likelihood of impressing the hiring manager and securing the job.
In this article, we explain what a video interview is, share how you can do well during a video interview, provide tips on how you can differentiate yourself from other candidates, and discuss some questions you may receive during a video interview.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
What is a video interview?
A video interview is an alternative to meeting in person with a hiring manager for a position you're applying for. Just like in-person interviews, video interviews provide you with the opportunity to explain why you're an ideal fit for the open position. A hiring manager may ask you questions about your experience, skills, and motivations to determine if you're a candidate that would do well in their workspace. It's common for video interviews to take place at your home, especially if the position is virtual, or you're working with colleagues who live in various locations.
Interview video tips to help you stand out
These interview video tips can help keep the focus on you during the interview and differentiate yourself from others applying for the same role:
- Use a solid background. A solid background is less distracting than one with clutter. A clean background can also help you look more professional to the hiring manager and help you display as you intend on camera.
- Make sure your clothing looks good in the camera frame. When you're testing your camera set-up for the interview, do so with the outfit that you're planning on wearing, so you can make sure your clothing reflects well in the frame, and you still look professional and well-dressed.
- Select a quiet place to complete the interview. It's important to find a quiet place for the interview, so your microphone doesn't pick up noises that sound louder to the interviewer than your own voice. If your home can be louder than you'd like, consider renting a private office for the interview time.
- Use front lighting. Front lighting can illuminate your face in the camera, allowing the hiring manager to connect with you better. Consider positioning your computer in front of a window or setting up a desk lamp behind your computer screen, so you're facing both the camera and the lamp.
- Maintain eye contact. In-person interviews give you the advantage of being able to hold eye contact with the interviewer. Because video interviews are through a computer, you can adjust your monitor or computer chair, so you can look directly into the camera and help the hiring manager feel as if you're looking directly at them.
How to perform well in a video interview
Follow these steps to perform well during a video interview with a potential new employer:
1. Practise common interview questions
Because the interview is one step in the employer's hiring process, it's important to practise the questions you may receive during the interview. This can help you feel more confident when speaking with the hiring manager and avoid lengthy pauses before answering, which can contribute to a more productive conversation. Be prepared to answer why you're applying for the position, what skills you have that relate to the role, and the unique qualifications you have that differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Read more: Common Interview Questions and Answers
2. Set up and test your equipment
Taking part in a video interview requires certain equipment, mainly a computer, video conferencing software, and a built-in microphone and camera. It's important that you set up your equipment some time before your interview, so you're well-prepared and can troubleshoot any issues that arise. If you aren't familiar with the software or equipment you may be using, set up everything and test in advance. This can give you a level of comfort that allows you to focus more on the interview.
Consider conducting a test video with a friend to make sure they can see and hear you well and that your presence comes across well on the screen. Ask them for feedback on elements like your setup, lighting, and posture, so you can be sure you're showing yourself well to the hiring manager.
3. Review your resume
Although you're likely familiar with your own resume, review it again to remind yourself of the skills, experience, and accomplishments that make you an ideal fit for the position. You may choose to write yourself notes you can refer to during the interview. Consider only using your notes as a quick reference point, so you can remain focused on the interview and engaged in conversation with the hiring manager.
4. Dress professionally
Even though you are meeting the interviewer in a non-traditional environment, it's still important to dress professionally for this crucial part of the hiring process as though you are meeting in person. Many employers use the interview stage to determine which candidate they want to extend a job offer to, and your professionalism during the interview can help them make that decision. Part of dressing professionally is also making sure your hair is neat and the rest of your appearance showcases who you are and how important this opportunity is to you.
Read more: Your Guide To What To Wear for an Interview
5. Introduce yourself
Just like with a more traditional interview, start your video interview by introducing yourself. This is a formality that shows your professionalism to the interviewer and allows you to begin the interview with a positive tone. During the introduction, tell the hiring manager it's nice to meet them and use your body language and tone of voice to show how excited you are for the opportunity.
Read more: How To Introduce Yourself in an Interview
6. Pause electronic notifications
During an in-person interview, it's a good practice to place your mobile on silent for the time you're meeting with the hiring manager. Do the same for the video interview, but consider turning off any computer notifications too, so the pop-ups don't distract you or produce a noise that interrupts the meeting. To ensure you remain engaged in the conversation, consider placing your phone at a reasonable distance from you, so you don't feel tempted to look at the screen while the hiring manager is speaking.
7. Minimise distractions
Even with all notifications on pause, there may be other distractions during your interview that you can eliminate. For example, if you're interviewing in your home office, take steps to ensure that others in your house know you're in the middle of an important meeting and need the time to yourself. You might also want to schedule the video interview on a day when you won't have any outside distractions, such as a lawn care service or large home delivery that requires a signature.
8. Take turns speaking
It's common for some video conferencing software to experience minor issues in sound, delays, and freezing videos. Because of this possibility, it's important to take turns listening to the hiring manager and only answering when they're done. This can help you both hear the other completely and engage in a conversation that's conducive to a successful video meeting. While you may normally confirm you're listening by saying things like "yes" during a video interview, consider nodding as the hiring manager is speaking to show them your engagement during the conversation.
Questions you may receive during a video interview
The questions a hiring manager may ask you during a video interview can vary depending on the role you're applying for, the needs of the company, and your unique qualifications. Practise your response to questions about why you're a good fit for the position, the tools you're most familiar with, and accomplishments you're especially proud of. You can elaborate on your career goals and workplace preferences, so the hiring manager can gauge if you'd fit in well with the current team.
If you're doing a video interview because the position you're applying for is remote, a hiring manager may also ask about your ability to manage your own time and how comfortable you feel working outside a traditional office environment.