I’ve posted before on how to prepare for your next phone interview. Just as with in-person interviews, a well-prepared candidate will know about the company, will be able to articulate how they measure their success at previous jobs, and will have smart, appropriate questions to ask about the position and management. Most recruiters will begin the process for clients with a phone interview.
As we crest into 2015, you also need to know how to excel in video interviews. Employers increasingly look to expand their search beyond their geographic boundaries to find the best candidate for the job. Video calling offers a fantastic technological tool for finding a job applicant who will fit.
Video interviews offer many benefits to employers, but for most candidates, teleconferenced introductions represent a series of potential pitfalls and gaffes. Here are five ideas for avoiding typical mistakes and landing more second interviews.
- Professional appearance. Looking right for the video interview doesn’t just mean having the right clothes, though you absolutely do have to dress to impress. Professionalism in video interviewing also means setting up in a space that looks professional. Place yourself against a blank wall or in a room that looks like a conference room. Don’t be in your bedroom, kitchen, or local café. Imagine that everything in the view of your computer’s camera is something you brought to an onsite interview. You wouldn’t get the job if you brought your kid’s teddy bear, your dirty clothes, or your loud neighbor. So make sure they’re not in the shot.
- Do a sound check. Find out which technology the interview will use and call a friend a day or two before the interview. Do your camera and microphone work? Do you look and sound like yourself? Can your internet connection sustain streaming for 15 minutes without interruption? Make sure you don’t cut in and out, that you can handle the technology, and that you’re making the best impression.
- Practice answers and questions like those I suggest here and here. Don’t script or memorize. But think critically about how you present yourself, your history, your experience, and your response to thoughtful questions. And prepare to ask the things you need to know about culture, management style, team interactions, and workflow. But don’t ask about money or time off yet.
- Prepare before the interview with the powerful body language I recommend here. You need to seem just as confident and relaxed on screen as you will when you’re hired.
- Finally, warm up your voice and your smile. Because the interviewer can hear you, your voice should be relaxed and capable and your smile should be easily forthcoming. Don’t grin like a goon just because the camera is on. But remember you have the attention of someone who is meeting you for the first time and who wants to get a sense of whether you’d fit with a company culture. Nothing says, “we’ll work well together” like a warm smile and relaxed voice.
Good luck with your video interview!