If you’ve recently scheduled a video interview, congrats! You made it past the initial screening and now you’re down to business. Do you know how this will be different from an in-person interview? Will your interviewer be talking to you on Skype, or will you be recording something for them to view later? Will your voice sound normal or does your laptop microphone make you sound like Minnie Mouse?
To find answers to these questions and discover how you can crush your next video interview, we reached out to John Grotegut, head of global talent acquisition at HireVue, a video interview platform, in Salt Lake City. Here are his favorite video interview tips.
Even if this interview is taking place in your living room, you need to treat it exactly as you would an in-person talk in an office. This includes dressing nicely — and not just above the waist, Grotegut says. Wear a full professional outfit so you’ll be in a professional headspace. It’s harder to think about business when you’re wearing bunny slippers.
Also, remember to dress appropriately for your particular audience, Grotegut says. “If you’re interviewing for a retail store position, you don’t need a full suit and tie,” he says. Consider the culture of that company and dress to blend in. If you’re unsure, Grotegut recommends checking with your interviewer or whoever sets up your appointment. They’ll be happy to guide you.
You’ll want to keep the interviewer focused on you and eliminate any distracting sights and sounds from your environment, Grotegut says. For your location, pick a quiet room in your home or maybe even a study room in your local library. By contrast, a coffee shop will likely be too noisy or have too much going on around you.
Next, think about what will visible be in the background, Grotegut says. ”It doesn’t need to be a totally blank space, but personal photos or laundry in the background may distract the viewer and take the focus off the candidate,” he says. Some nondescript decor or plants nearby is fine, but you want nothing that conveys that you need to do chores or that may be so interesting to the viewer that it pulls their focus away from you.
If your interview will take place over Skype or FaceTime or some kind of immediate-view tool, you may only get one shot to get it right. Don’t let a bad Wi-Fi connection or faulty headphones ruin your chances. Test everything beforehand, Grotegut says.
Make sure your internet is working seamlessly, and that the lighting leaves you neither too bright or too shadowy when viewed on your webcam. Check that you can hear others over your headphones, and listen to how you sound as well.
If your interview will take place over a specialized platform such as HireVue, you’ll typically be given an opportunity to do some practice questions and make adjustments to your setup as needed, Grotegut says. These platforms show questions on your screen and you answer while looking at an image of yourself as the interviewer will see you. This allows multiple people to view your interview at different times, according to their schedules, Grotegut says. But it may take you some time to get used to talking with no one there to reply.
Just as with an in-person interview, it’s important to be yourself in a video interview. Relax, and be genuine and conversational. If you don’t know something, admit it, Grotegut says. This advice may sound simple, but it sometimes can be difficult to keep in mind in a video interview.
The simple fact that you aren’t in the room with an interviewer can make the process seem impersonal, Grotegut says. This may leave you with an instinct to seem overly formal or stiff. Actually you should do the opposite, he says. This is really a chance for you to relax and use the video aspect to show a more complete picture of yourself than a recruiter or hiring manager would get from just a résumé or phone conversation, he says. Show some life, and have some personality. He says he has seen people who didn’t line up 100 percent with the job description be hired anyway, simply because interviewers liked their personality so much on the video.
That said, this isn’t YouTube. No one wants you to sing your qualifications with a guitar or act out your résumé with your cats. Be lively and personable; don’t audition for a talent show.
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