Preparing for a video interview: What you need to know

On the Job

Preparing for a video interview: What you need to know

Organizations use video conferencing for several reasons. It reduces travel, saves people time, and cuts expenses. In addition, surveys show that as many as 90 percent of companies that use video conferencing experience higher productivity and better teamwork.

According to a survey from Futurestep, 71 percent of companies use real-time video interviewing and 50 percent use video interviews as a way to narrow the candidate pool. But if you’ve never been on a video interview before, it can be a little intimidating. So here are 6 tips to alleviate those jitters if you’re asked to participate in a video interview:

  1. Remember the purpose. It’s still an interview – meaning the goal hasn’t changed just because it’s being conducted using video technology. Yes, you’ll want to do some preparation for the video portion but don’t forget your interview preparation.
  2. Practice with the technology. Speaking of video interview preparations, a good recruiter will give you dial in instructions in advance. Their goal isn’t to trick a candidate. Those instructions should include a Plan B in the case of technical challenges. Remember it’s possible the recruiter might have technical difficulties even if the candidate doesn’t.
  3. Stay calm and confident is the key to handling technical problems, says Ruchi Kaushik, senior recruiter with Unum. “Technology issues always arise; your ability to stay calm and multi-task to solve the problem might be an interviewer evaluation as well! Prior to the interview, run a system test to ensure that your computer, browser and webcam meet the system requirements for the video interview technology. Most, if not all video interviewing applications today have a chat box feature. If technology challenges arise during the interview, use the chat box feature to communicate with the interviewer. If the chat box isn’t available, have a phone handy, so you can dial the interviewer directly. And, if you by chance lose video, keep talking and inform the interviewer that you are having systems issues and lost video but can still hear.”
  4. Appearances count. Make sure the room is well-lit and has natural light to avoid any light glare. Also consider what’s in the background. If the room is messy, is that the impression you want the interviewer to have of your work? Also, be conscious of any wall art in the background. Make sure it projects the brand image you’re trying to convey.
  5. Put some thought into your attire. All-light and all-dark clothing might be fine in a face-to-face interview but, it can trick your camera’s automatic brightness control and auto darken or lighten the picture. Kaushik recommends dressing to impress. “You can never go wrong with a solid colored suit! Avoid any large plaids or prints, or bright colors. If you are wearing white, tone it down with a dark jacket to minimize any glare on the screen.”
  6. Practice good posture. When you’re sitting up straight, you sound better and you look better on camera. During an interview situation, this helps convey confidence.

Video interviews don’t have to be scary. They do involve a couple extra steps but, with a checklist in place, you can ace the preparations and focus on having a great conversation. Which is what an interview is all about – having a great conversation about the company and your skills.

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