5 Important Steps To Ace Your Next Video Interview

Interviews are already nerveracking, but when you throw a video element into it, it becomes that much more anxiety-inducing for a lot of people. 

This is Ashlee Anderson. She's a certified career coach and remote working pro. She's been doing it for 10 years. She specializes in helping job seekers transition from traditional office jobs into telecommute roles. With many of us home now, chances are your next interview will be done through a screen. 

It's really hard to make that connection with the interview, but one of the best ways you can do that is to present really well. 

Step one, set the scene. Ideally, you want to have a nice, clean, simple background. Just the blank wall is perfectly fine. 

You also want to think about lighting. For example, if you have lighting behind you, you could end up looking like a silhouette on the screen. Ideally, natural lighting is the best, so if you have a window that you can face or a window to your side, that would be perfect. But, if you don't have a window to provide natural lighting, you can resort to using a desk lamp. 

And you really want to have your camera at eye level with you. That way, you're not looking up at the interviewer and they're peering up your nostrils and you're also not looking down on them. If you just grab a couple of books and pile them up and sit the laptop on top of that, that is gonna raise it enough to bring that camera right at the eye level for you. 

Step two, plan your outfit. Do a little bit of research about the company so you know what their culture is going into it. You don't want to show up to your virtual interview in a really nice suit if they're a very casual company. 

Keep your ensemble really basic. Don't go for really busy patterns. And try to stay away from solid colors that are really bright as those can kind of wash you out on screen. 

You might not necessarily consider your headphones as being an accessory or part of your everyday outfit, but it's something that you definitely need to consider not using when you are getting prepared for a remote interview. 

When you think of somebody with headphones in, they're somebody that's unapproachable and somebody that you don't want to speak to, so forgo using the headphones and just stick with using the external speakers, microphones that you have on your computer. 


Step three, test your tech. It's making sure that your webcam is working, your speakers are working. 

And another super, super important thing is your internet. You really need to make sure you have enough internet speed. Generally speaking, programs like Zoom prefer 1.8 megabytes per second in order to stream a one-on-one video call, and you can easily test your internet speed going on Google and just typing speed test and you'll get tons of different options. 

If you're relying on Wi-Fi that's kind of a little inconsistent with the connectivity, you can always just invest in an ethernet cable, plug that directly into your computer and into your modem and you're gonna have much more stable internet connection. 

Step four is practice. A great way to do that is just to use a friend or a family member who's willing to hop on a video call with you. It really makes all the difference and especially when it comes to eye contact. Our tendency is to look down on the screen, but what that actually looks like on the other side is that you're looking away and not genuinely looking at the person that you're talking to. So it's always important to practice and look directly into the camera. 

If you get easily distracted by your own image on the screen, a really simple thing you can do to avoid that is just use a Post-It note and cover up your own image. That way, you're not gonna be distracted by it and it's out of sight and out of mind. 

Step five, interview. It's inevitably going to happen that a distraction may come around so don't ever panic when something happens. The more that you do or if you make a quick decision to turn off your audio or your video as a knee-jerk reaction, that could actually be more detrimental than the actual distraction itself. 

But if it does cause the interviewer to get interrupted with what they're doing, you definitely want to address it and not pretend like it didn't happen. You want to make sure that you're able to say, "Oh, my bad, that happened," and move forward after that. 

When you're at home, even when you're on an interview, you kind of have that more casual atmosphere than actually going into an office building to interview, and with that casual feeling, you might end up doing something that you wouldn't even think of in an office setting. 

For example, having your phone out. So just turn it off and put it out of sight. And make sure you have all of your internet browsers and windows closed. You don't need that open. Really, the only thing you should have open on your computer during the interview is the program that you're using to conduct the interview. 

Remote interviews and video interviews are a lot different. They really are. But as they become more mainstream, it's important that we adapt and adjust to them. That way, we can still continue on with our careers and making career moves and not letting the fear of video interviews hold us back.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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