Do These 5 Things for Your Next Video Interview

by Pranav Ramesh
November 21, 2019

Once upon a time, every job seeker had to physically go into a company’s office for an interview.

But the world has changed and so has the future of work.

Now, more than ever, companies are willing to consider tech employees who work from home or hire someone who’s job searching from another city or state. This means recruiters and hiring managers may never meet some candidates in person until their first day – or not at all if the job is 100 percent remote.

This means people seeking jobs in the tech industry need to be prepared for video interviews. While many of us are familiar with a phone screen or have even completed a full interview via a call, a video chat definitely requires more preparation and a slightly different strategy.

A Lighthouse Research survey on video interviews shines some light on how candidates feel about these types of conversations. Almost 80 percent of respondents thought video interviews were as stressful or even more stressful than in-person ones. But that doesn’t mean applicants think these chats aren’t worthwhile – 58 percent think video interviews offer them the opportunity to connect with prospective peers and other team members.

Employers also see this as valuable, with 61% of hiring managers saying offering peer-to-peer interactions via a video interview helps their companies attract the most talented people.

With organizations seeing the benefits and being more open to remote or relocating candidates, it’s entirely possible you’ll have a Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangout interview when you’re looking for a new opportunity in the tech space.

Like any interview, though, there are some dos and don’ts you’ll want to keep in mind. If you’re offered a video interview, make sure you do the following.

Do: Dress appropriately

This is standard advice for both in-person and video interviews, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t take it to heart. No matter what company or individual you’re speaking with, you should dress to impress. This is true even if you know your prospective employer has a “jeans and a tee-shirt” dress code.

You want to look nice to show you’re taking the opportunity seriously. Skip the casual outfits, workout clothes, and pajamas. Even if you’ll be working from home and wearing these exact outfits every day, they won’t exactly make a great impression on an interviewer.

Aim for business casual, and prepare your outfit the day before to make sure nothing is stained or wrinkled. Stick with something simple. Bright colors and patterns may work in an office, but can be distracting on camera.

Do: Choose a simple background

Get yourself set up in an area with minimal visual distractions. It’s great if you have a blank wall you can use as a backdrop, but not everyone has this option.

Take a look at the space the interviewer will see as your background. If it’s particularly cluttered, it may be worthwhile to move a few things temporarily. Make sure there won’t be any visual interruptions during the interview.

Don’t choose a place where someone may be walking around in the background.

Keep in mind your lighting, as well. You’ll want your interviewers to be able to see you clearly, not struggle with a glare or barely be able to make you out in dim light.

Again, simple advice, but these little things can sway your interviewer’s opinion of your preparation and professionalism.

Do: Minimize noise

You probably don’t want to schedule your interview at exactly the time your kids come bursting in the door or when you know your dog will be barking at the mailman. If those are the only times that will work, figure out a plan to keep the noise to an absolute minimum. Extra noise will make it hard for the interviewer to hear what you’re saying and will distract you.

Do: Have headphones handy (even if you plan to use your computer audio)

Speaking of background noise, it’s also key to have a backup audio option. If you plan on using your computer’s mic and speaker system, that’s fine, but have a pair of headphones next to you. If anything goes wrong or if the audio is poor, you can throw them on and quickly resume the call instead of asking the interviewer to hold on while you troubleshoot or search for headphones.

Do: Look into the camera

It’s so tempting to watch yourself when you’re on a video call. It’s absolutely fine to glance at your own image from time to time just to make sure you’re situated properly, but keep it to a minimum.

Keep your eyes on your interviewer, or at the camera in an attempt to make virtual eye contact. Some people find it helpful to put a small sticky note near (but not covering) their camera, to serve as a visual cue and draw their attention up.

When you get a request for a video interview, it’s only natural to be nervous. By keeping in mind the setting and preparing the essentials well in advance, you’ll not only calm your nerves but show your interviewer you’re a serious candidate for the role.

About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago’s premier I.T. staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 20+ years. Named after Chicago’s historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland. Now based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP’s 250+ employees have narrowed their focus to a single market (Chicago) and 4 core technical areas;

  • Application/mobile/web development and eCommerce
  • Data science/analytics/business intelligence/artificial intelligence
  • Information security/cybersecurity
  • ERP SAP/Oracle and project management/BA/QA

PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.

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