Person to close to camera in video job interview

How to prepare for a video job interview

Even as restrictions ease in Australia, many businesses will continue to take an online approach to work, including conducting video job interviews.

The thought of a virtual job interview can be nerve-wracking if you have never done one before. And let’s get real, Zoom interactions just aren’t the same as being face to face with someone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ace a job interview. Here are a few simple things you can do to give you the best chance of getting that job!

This is still a job interview

If you’re not sure what to wear for your interview remember all the same rules of a job interview still apply.

It’s tempting to dress only for what the camera can see, although this can lead to disaster and embarrassment if it goes wrong. There is also a mental advantage to dressing professionally (including shoes). It may seem strange, but it will help get you into the right mindset for an interview.

Find a good location

The next step to prepare for a video job interview is to have a look around your house and pick an area to set up that is quiet and has good lighting.

Check your background is clean and tidy. You don’t want anyone to make unfair judgements about you before you’ve even answered a question. Nothing is more distracting than an office full of clutter, a basket of washing on a table, a bedroom with a messy bed… you get the idea.

Set up with a neutral background like a wall, or check if the video app you are using can change or blur out the background. Just be careful not to turn yourself into a potato.

When changing your background be careful to not turn yourself into a potato

Use the device with the best camera

In a video job interview the interviewer needs to see you more clearly than you need to see them.

Generally speaking, the newest devices will have the best camera. For most of us, that’s our phones. My phone is way clearer than my computer and quality between the two really shows on a video call.

Next, you want to set your camera up at eye level so you’re not hunching. It also saves the interviewers having to look up your nose.

Move the camera so your face is in the centre. If you’re using your phone, put it into position before the interview starts and keep it still throughout.

Example of how to frame yourself in the camera for a video job interview
Frame yourself so your eyes are in the centre of frame with your head and shoulders visible

Make eye contact in a video job interview

So much of our communication is non-verbal. You want to show the interviewers you are present and engaged.

In an interview, you want to make eye contact with who you’re talking to. You can’t do this in video chat because the camera is always above the vision on screen and creates a slight looking away effect. You can’t change this, but you can make it a little less jarring by using your phone or having the video window as close to the camera as possible to avoid this.

Two people looking away from camera in a video call
Keep your eye-line as close to camera to avoid looking like this

Lighting

Lousy lighting ruins a video job interview. Light needs to be on you because you’re the subject.

The most common lighting mistake I see on video calls are people with a window behind them. This turns you into a grainy silhouette because the camera is flooded with light. Always have the light source on your face, not in the direction of the camera. You don’t need anything fancy; I recently moved my bedside lamp on to my desk behind my computer to use on video calls.

How to light yourself for a video job interview

Wear headphones

Now the interviewer can see you clearly but if they can’t hear you clearly you’re dead in the water. Wear headphones/earbuds with a mic, the ones that came with your phone should do the trick.

Research

What is one of the best things about a video job interview? You can cheat (kind of).

You should prepare for every job interview by researching the role and the business. In this situation, you can prepare by putting your research and follow up questions on post-it notes around the screen.

Test everything works

Just like a real interview, you don’t want to be late or have any delays due to technology.

Five minutes wasted trying to get your audio to work is super annoying AND unprofessional. It’s also going to shorten the time the interviewer has set aside to ask questions, reducing your chances of getting the job.

If the interview is on an app like Zoom or Skype, download it ahead of time.

Test the app on a mate or family member and check they can hear and see you clearly and that you can hear and see them.

Practice

To prepare for a video job interview you should practice beforehand by recording yourself and watching back your responses and make a note of how you could improve your answers. We have created an interview practice video series over on our YouTube channel that covers loads of different professions Watch here.

Just before your video job interview

The final step to prepare for a video job interview is to eliminate distractions:

  • close doors
  • turn off the tv
  • banish your dog outside and out of barking distance
  • if you have kids get someone trusted to mind them for the length of the interview
  • make sure you are in a quiet area

If you live with other people, let them know you have a video job interview. You don’t want your housemate blasting A$AP rocky midway though you explaining how great you are.

Now you’re prepared to smash your next video job interview. Good luck!

Images: iStock, YouTube

5 comments

  1. Great tips for my first virtual interview. Also useful for general video conferencing etiquette.

  2. Thanks for a concise and helpful info on how to tackle simple yet hard questions on jobs interview.

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