What to Do Before and During a Video Job Interview

Preparation is key for doing a remote video job interview, just as it is for an in-person interview. These tips and guidelines on how to get ready for a video job interview will help to ensure that you are well-prepared and not intimidated before and during your meeting.

Before the interview

As with all interviews, don’t walk in cold to professional videoconference facilities. And don’t sit down at your desk Webcam unprepared. Follow these suggestions:

  • Time limits: Find out whether you’re on a clock for the interview. If the interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, consider it a rigid cut-off and don’t plan on overtime.

  • Advance work: Send materials for show-and-tell in advance in case the interviewer wants to ask questions about an updated resume or project; you can’t slide materials through the screen.

  • Content review: Review potential questions that you’re likely to be asked. Be ready to relate your qualifications to the job’s requirements. Memorize examples of accomplishments that illustrate what you can bring to the company.

  • Technical check: When you’re not interviewing at home, arrive 15 minutes early at the interview site to deal with any technical issues that may arise. Request an overview of the interviewing event and a refresher on the use of the equipment.

    When you’re using your own video equipment, check your camera angle (set at eye level), speakers (place out of view), and microphone (set high enough that you don’t have to keep bending down but not in front of your face).

  • Appearance: To avoid a contrast issue, you can’t go wrong with solid colors that aren’t too dark or light. Additionally, busy patterns distract from your face. So do definitive stripes and plaids. Otherwise, wear the same clothing you would wear to a same-room interview.

  • Background: Plan for an uncluttered look. Eliminate such distractions as too many books, wall hangings, memos taped to the wall, and so forth. Avoid background motion or noise — second hands ticking on a clock or cars passing on the street outside, for instance.

  • Dress rehearsal: When you’re interviewing at home, arrange a test interview with a friend. Is the framing of your screen about right (head to waist)? Remember to lock up the family cat so it doesn’t leap into the picture and send the kids outside to play.

Record yourself to see how you’re coming across on camera. This tip, more than any other, will improve your interviewing performance.

During the interview

Review these finer points gleaned from others who have gone before the cameras before you:

  • Movements and posture: Try to be fairly still and Ration your gestures to underscore important information. Don’t shuffle papers or tap a pen. Noises that you may not notice in a same-room interview can become annoying in a video interview.

  • Facial expressions and speaking: The first thing you say is Hi, I’m John Gill. Nice to meet you. Speak normally, but not too fast. Be conscious of a sound delay. A couple of seconds will lapse between the interviewer’s statement or question and when you hear her or him. At the end of an interviewer’s words, pause before you reply. And don't forget to smile!

  • Virtual handshake: Always allow the interviewer to indicate when time’s up. In cases where the interview format is controlled by a technician, you’re given signals to close it down.

    Since you can’t shake hands through a monitor, at the end of the interview, deliver a sign-off statement indicating you understand that the interview is over. You can say something as simple as Thank you for interviewing me. I enjoyed it. Let’s talk face to face very soon.

When you’re in a professional setting, push the mute button and leave the room at the end of the video interview. When you’re at home, mute the microphone and close the camera.

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