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Master the Video Interview: Tips for Success

In today’s connected world, video interviews have become a standard part of the hiring process. Whether you’re applying for a fully remote position or a hybrid role, mastering this format is becoming essential. However, while convenient, video interviews can present some unique challenges in effectively communicating your personality and qualifications.

We checked out some expert tips to help you project confidence and capability on-screen, and boost your chances of landing the job.


Set the stage 

In an ordinary job interview, you just need to worry about looking smart. But on a video call, you want your whole environment to project a professional image. Well before the interview starts, fire up your computer’s camera and check out what your interviewers will see in the background.

Clear away any distractions. “Try to avoid having any ‘non-office’ like items in the camera view—keep it simple: a pen, a notebook, and a glass of water,” says Rebecca O’Keeffe at the jobs website Jobbio. Make sure you dress the part, too—exactly the way you would for an important in-person interview.


Check your tech

Technical failings can create a really bad impression – after all, your future employers want to know that communication with you will be reliable. “Technical savvy is one of the top 10 traits employers are looking for,”says Lauren Landry at Harvard Business School Online.

Make sure your video-chat software, internet connection, camera and microphone are all working as soon as the interview is scheduled, just in case you need to order any new equipment. Test it all again on the day of the interview.


Make eye contact

Nailing a job interview is about making a connection as much as giving the right answers: you want the employer to feel you’d be a great person to work with. That’s much harder through a computer screen but getting eye contact right can go a long way.

That means avoiding looking at your interviewer – or yourself – on screen as you talk. Instead, move your eyes up to look directly at the webcam as you make your points. You’ll look more confident and direct.

It also means you’re less likely to get distracted by monitoring your own performance on screen. “Staring at a face — especially your own — will make you lose your train of thought,” says Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.


Print out your CV and notes

Preparation is all-important when it comes to making a good impression in an interview. With your laptop in front of you, it might be tempting to have your notes on screen for when you need to dig out an example or a key fact. But former Apprentice star and entrepreneur Bianca Miller Cole suggests scrolling through text on screen as you stare through the webcam can create a bad impression.

“It may look like you are distracted flicking between different screens throughout the interview,” she writes in Forbes magazine. Instead, she suggests keeping your notes and CV on paper and letting the interviewer know you may be briefly referring to them. Glancing down at printed material will look more natural as you talk.


Practice and Prepare

Mock interviews can be valuable, as the dynamics of a video interview feel different than an in-person one. Recruit a friend or family member for a mock interview over video chat. This lets you practice answering common questions out loud while getting used to the visual element, and gives you a chance to receive feedback.

Secondly, don’t just focus on the content of your answers. During practice sessions, pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and overall presentation in a virtual setting. Record yourself to spot areas for improvement, like nervous habits or unclear speech.


Make it a conversation

Research into remote interviews suggests the best candidates engage the interviewer’s interest by asking relevant questions as well as delivering on-point answers. Professor Ben Laker at Henley Business School, along with fellow researchers, says 89% of successful candidates made their interview into a “natural, candid” conversation.

“How? They showed genuine interest in their interviewer by asking questions,” he writes. He suggests asking about how the team communicates, its collaboration tools, and whether there are remote events to meet colleagues. Google the company and interviewer to find common interests and ask about them to fill any lulls in the conversation, he suggests.

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