Job interviews are inherently uncomfortable. After all, first impressions mean everything. What will you wear? Have you practiced your handshake? What materials will you bring along? Can you remember not to say “like” too much? The possibilities for anxiety are endless. Times are changing however, and as the workforce becomes decentralized, more and more companies are turning to video interviews. This can ease old anxieties—no handshakes, no printouts, half your outfit won’t be seen on screen— but it comes with its own set of challenges.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing you can’t handle. After all, you’re an experienced professional with an amazing resume—you’re a catch! Here are some quick tips to help you present your best self on camera.
Location, location, location
These days, most offices feature comfy waiting areas, fantastic lighting and stylish chairs. But your home set up is another story. And that’s ok! Even the toughest interviewers understand. However, it’s still a good idea to find a spot in your home that is:
- Quiet and free from distractions: Make sure you can hear and be heard. You don’t want your brilliant, insightful answers to get drowned out.
- Well lit—and not from behind: Ideally, you want a window in front of you with the shades open to capitalize on natural light. If you have your back to the window, make sure the shade is drawn. The last thing you want is to look like a phantom.
- Stocked with the accoutrements of an in-office interview: You’re going to get thirsty, so keep some water nearby. If you want to take notes, don’t use your computer. The tap-tap-tapping will be loud and distracting for the interviewer. Instead, keep a paper and pen nearby to jot down responses, notes, or questions to ask at the end.
Dress for the job you want
Yes, remote interviews probably mean remote work—which means workdays in your sweatpants (or no pants). But a video interview is still an interview, and you need to dress the part. Take the interview seriously and wear something professional. Not only will this make a good impression, putting on your power outfit will help you project confidence.
Talking to a screen is different than talking to a person. It’s easy to get distracted by pop-up notifications, caught up watching your face on camera or worrying about where to look. You probably know these things in your heart of hearts, but just in case you need a push:
- Turn off every unnecessary app on your computer. Facebook, Messages, Slack…it doesn’t matter what it is. If it isn’t needed for the interview, turn it on mute.
- Turn on speaker view. As much as people don’t like to see themselves on screen or in pictures, it can be hard NOT to watch yourself during video calls. This will distract you. Don’t do it.
- Make eye contact. It can be difficult to know where to look. But don’t look at the camera—focus on the face of your interviewer. Without in-person physical cues, solid eye contact is more important than ever. To help you keep your eyes where they should be, position your computer at eye level on a desk or counter—not in your lap.
Testing, Testing, 1, 2
Technology is far from perfect. So, what better way to show your potential new manager and coworkers that you are prepared by testing your software, microphone and speakers well before the interview? You may need to install new apps or updates, which can take some time. Do the same for any other tools or technologies you’ll be asked to use during the interview. Be prepared—don’t be that person.
Some things never change
Video interviewing brings some new practices to the table, but you should still do these things:
- Look up your interviewers on LinkedIn and connect with them before you meet. Note one interesting thing about each person and bring it up during the interviews. Get to know these people! They will be your future colleagues, after all.
- Always have questions, even if they do not ask if you have any questions (which they should). Never forget: You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
- Send a follow–up thank you. Seriously. It doesn’t need to be a novel, but you should reference the conversation. This can make a huge difference if you make it to the final stage and your competition forgets this step.
- Be yourself! If you’re lucky, this will be a long–term relationship, and pretending to be someone you’re not for years and years just isn’t going to work.
Lights. Camera. Action. You’ve got this!