50 Video Job Interview Tips from Hiring Managers and Recruiters
Job interviews just got more complicated and nerve-racking with the sudden popularity of interviews done through video conferencing. Follow these video job interview tips and prove that you've got what it takes to be a digital marketer.
Video job interviews are now the norm in recruiting. And as if job interviews weren’t nerve racking enough, doing them through video conferencing adds several layers of complexity. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of video job interview tips for you.
We don’t just cover the tech stuff. We also have tips on body language to make up for the lack of non-verbal cues.
To prepare for a video job interview, you’ll have to prepare the substance of your interview, just as you would for an in-person interview. But over and above all that, you also have to prepare the video conferencing technology, your location or setup, and additional body language cues to make sure you’re communicating the right things.
Follow these video job interview do’s and dont’s and you’ll come across as a confident, professional, and competent candidate.
Video job interview tips to tame the tech
Technology fails can get in the way of a successful job interview. While you can’t control everything, you can minimize the chances of something going wrong.
As someone who’s interested in a digital marketing job, you’re expected to be able to handle all the technical aspects of a video job interview.
“When interviewing a potential hire through video, we like to use the experience as a soft test on their digital and preparation skills.”
– Mary Alice Pizana, Human Resources Manager, Herrman and Herrman PLLC
1. Light up your face
Lighting is everything when it comes to video. Invest in an inexpensive LED light. Or place yourself in front of a window.
2. Use an external webcam
Most built-in web cameras don’t deliver high-definition video. If your budget allows, buy a webcam that offers 1080p video.
3. Use a good microphone
It may come as a surprise, but when it comes to video content, audio is more important than image. Again, invest in an external microphone you can connect to your computer.
4. Wear earphones
Earphones will help prevent audio feedback. Avoid massive headphones because they ruin your look. And choose wired earphones. Wireless bluetooth earbuds are notorious for disconnecting at the worst possible moments!
5. Use the best internet connection possible
Video conferencing uses up a lot of bandwidth. Make sure you have access to the best internet connection possible during your interview. And if at all possible, connect to the internet via ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi.
6. Set up a professional background
Carefully plan your video job interview background. Choose a location for the interview that will show you in the best possible light. Make sure your background is uncluttered—no beds, please.
7. Don’t use a virtual background
Some experts give the advice to use a virtual background, but I disagree. Unless you have a green screen and adequate lighting, these virtual backgrounds almost never look good. And when you move, you run the risk of your hair and hands disappearing.
8. Place the camera at eye level, or slightly higher
What’s the best video job interview camera angle? The best camera angle for any video is at eye-level, not low on your desk or lap. A low camera angle forces the interviewer to look up into your nostrils. Lower camera angles are also unflattering, because they emphasize your neck (hello, double chin!) and eye bags. Instead, set up your camera so that it’s level with your eyes, if not an inch or so higher. Use a tripod, a box, or a pile of books to raise it. You’ll instantly look younger and skinnier.
9. Have a Plan B
Have a backup plan for any tech fails. For example, if your internet connection should fail, could you use your cellphone as a hotspot? You may also want to have extra earphones on hand.
10. Use a desktop or laptop computer, not a mobile device
Plan to use a computer for the video interview, not your smartphone or tablet. This gives you a bigger and better interface to work with. An interview is stressful enough without having to navigate a tiny screen.
Zoom is the most common application used for video job interviews. That’s we’ve included Zoom job interview tips. However, these should be applicable to other video conferencing platforms as well. Make sure you know which specific platform the recruiter will be using for the interview.
11. Install the latest version of Zoom
Zoom—and other applications—are constantly being updated. Make sure you have the latest version installed in your computer.
12. Set up your own Zoom account
Create your own Zoom account, and you’ll be able to control more elements that show up during the Zoom call.
13. Use your full name in your Zoom account
This is automatically displayed when you join a Zoom call, so make sure you use the same name as what’s on your job application. Don’t use anything unprofessional or embarrassing.
14. Upload a professional headshot in your Zoom account
The headshot from your Zoom account is displayed when your camera is turned off during a Zoom call. Make sure yours looks professional.
15. Practice your answers in a private meeting
Set up a private meeting in your Zoom account, and practice answering the most common interview questions. Record yourself and evaluate your sound, lighting, camera angle, background—and your answers, too, of course.
“Practice your interview questions with your camera on, so you can see how you look as you speak – it can really shine a light on any body language that could be improved!”
– Minesh Patel, Founder, The Patel Firm
Do these the day before the video job interview
As your interview draws nearer, there are things you can do to help ensure things run smoothly.
16. Double- and triple-check the date and time of the interview
Make sure you have the correct date and time for the interview. Pay particular attention to the time zone. If necessary, email the interviewer the day before to confirm the details.
“The most common mistake candidates make is forgetting or rescheduling last minute. I get things happen. That’s not a problem, but set reminders and give the interviewer ample time to reschedule.”
– Bailey Ballum, Human Resources Manager, Acadium
17. Make sure you have the Zoom link
If the recruiter said they’ll email you the link and you haven’t received it the day before the interview, follow up and let them know. Also check your spam folder. Zoom invites sent within the application sometimes land in the spam folder.
Right before the video job interview
It’s the day of your interview. Minimize nerves and increase your confidence with these tips:
18. Dress professionally
Just because the job interview is virtual doesn’t mean you can be sloppy. Even if you’re applying at a company with a casual culture, you still want to dress to impress. Try one level higher than the company’s dress code.
“If you discover that the company’s dress code is jeans and a T-shirt, a jacket and tie may not be required. Dress a notch higher than is expected.”
– Darsh Ray, CEO & Founder of Job Alert
And don’t just dress up the top half of your body!
“In case the interviewer requests a document that requires you to move around in the middle of the interview, dress professionally from head to toe.”
– Ben Farber, President, Bristol Associates
19. Avoid distracting clothing
Prints and overly bright colors don’t play nicely with video. They may give your recruiter eyestrain or, worse, a headache. Solids in saturated colors are your best bet. Also avoid colors that blend with your background.
20. Beware of noisy jewelry
Beware of bangles, necklaces, and other accessories that make noise when you move. These are extremely distracting and annoying.
21. Wear makeup (even if you’re a guy)
Artificial lighting can make you look washed out and shiny. Ladies, use makeup to define your eyes and give your lips and cheeks a healthy glow. Men, apply mattifying powder in a shade that matches your skin tone, to avoid an oily look.
22. Mind your hair
Wear your hair like you normally would for a job interview. Just make sure it’s clean, shiny, and tidy. And keep it off your face. You don’t want to hide your eyes or have to constantly be adjusting your hair during the interview.
“Whatever you do, don’t use filters! Even ones that are not as extreme as the ‘cat lawyer’ are distracting and unprofessional.”
– Liz Sweeney, Dogwood Solutions
23. Test everything
About an hour before the interview, test your entire setup. Give yourself enough time to fix any glitches without getting stressed out.
“The last thing you want happening is a last minute technical issue that leaves you feeling frazzled and anxious. This could directly impact your performance and can very easily be avoided!”
– Olga Etkina, Career Expert
24. Make sure your computer is fully charged
If you’re using a laptop, charge it up, and have the charger nearby. Right before the interview, plug it in.
25. Find a quiet location
Make sure the location you’ve chosen for the interview is quiet. Close windows and doors and switch off fans and other things that make noise. Don’t forget alarm clocks and doorbells.
26. Warn your family or housemates
If there are other people, let them know you need complete silence for the next two hours. I hang a sign outside my door to let people know when I cannot be disturbed—unless there’s a fire or someone’s bleeding. And make sure someone’s keeping an eye on young children and pets.
27. Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode
Your cellphone can also be a source of distraction. Either switch it off or on silent mode. Same thing goes for your landline.
28. Turn off computer notifications
Avoid startling pings and popups. Switch off all notifications on your computer.
29. Shut down all other applications
Focus all your attention and your computer’s bandwidth to the interview. Close the applications and tabs on your computer that you don’t need during the interview.
30. Have a drink nearby
Make yourself a nice warm drink or grab your water bottle. Keep it near you during the interview. It’s okay to pause and take a sip during the interview to keep your vocal chords hydrated. This also gives you time to think about your answer 😉
31. Keep a pen and paper handy
You’ll want to take notes during the interview. These will be useful for your post-interview follow-up email, as well as to help you prepare for the next round of interviews.
32. Put your reminders where you can see them
A video job interview is like an open-book test. You get to take your notes with you! Have a few bullet points on a Google Doc or Word document. Open it up so you can refer to them during the interview.
33. Do jumping jacks
Release all that excess nervous energy or energize yourself by doing jumping jacks before you join the meeting room.
“Do jumping jacks, go for a walk, or some other motion activity before the interview as it gets the blood moving … so you bring energy to the call.”
– Erik Harbison, Program Instructor and Career Coach, Acadium Plus
34. Log in early—but not too early
Be early, but not too early. About five minutes before your scheduled interview should be good. The recruiter might be using the same Zoom room for several interviews. If you log in too early, you might interrupt another person’s interview.
During the video job interview
Alright, you’re in the Zoom room and the interview has started. Keep the following tips in mind:
35. Look straight into the camera
Don’t make the rookie mistake of looking at yourself or the interview on the computer screen. Instead, look straight into your webcam. This makes the interviewer feel like you’re making eye contact with them.
Smiling is the easiest way to build rapport with the interviewer. It helps you relax, too. But make it an authentic smile that reaches your eyes.
37. Speak with enthusiasm
Nerves can cause people to become stiff and speak with a deadpan voice. But employers want to hire someone who’s excited about the job and their company. Make an effort to show your enthusiasm by speaking with energy and by varying your inflection.
38. Exude confidence by sitting up straight
Resist the temptation to slump into your seat. Pull your head up and sit up straight. This makes you look—and feel—confident.
39. Talk with your hands
If you normally talk with your hands, then feel free to keep doing so. And make sure they’re within the frame of the video call by keeping your hands within your shoulder width. Don’t overdo the hand gestures, however.
40. Make open palm gestures
If you must make hand gestures, occasionally hold your palms towards the camera. This makes you look more trustworthy.
41. Lean towards the camera
Another posture that makes the interviewer feel that you’re listening to them is to lean towards the camera. You’re literally “leaning in.”
42. Consider standing
If possible, consider standing during the video job interview. This keeps you physically and mentally alert, and it also keeps you energized.
“I recommend taking interviews standing up, as it provides more energy and allows for more fluid delivery.”
– Erik Harbison, Program Instructor and Career Coach, Acadium Plus
43. Don’t cross your hands or legs
Never cross your hands or legs during the interview. This sends the signal that you’re “closed off” from the interviewer and creates a barrier.
44. Nod to acknowledge the speaker
Encourage the interviewer by nodding appropriately while they’re speaking.
45. Calm nerves by breathing more slowly
Nervous? Of course you are. Don’t let nerves get the better of you, however. Breathe more slowly and you’ll calm down.
46. Speak clearly
While you want to be enthusiastic, you don’t want to come across as manic, either. Speak at a normal speed and enunciate your words carefully so the interviewer understands you.
47. It’s okay to pause
If the interviewer asks a question you’re not prepared for it’s okay to say, “Good question. I’m going to have to think about that.” And take a few seconds to think about your answer.
48. It’s okay to ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify their question
On a video job interview, you have much fewer nonverbal cues to go on. It’s easy to misunderstand the other person. So, don’t feel too embarrassed to ask the interviewer to repeat or to clarify what they said, if it wasn’t clear to you the first time.
49. Work harder on listening
For the same reason, you’ll have to listen harder during a video job interview than during an in-person interview. This is a conversation, so listen attentively.
50. Write notes, don’t type
If you followed tip #32, you’ll have a pen and paper handy for taking notes. Never type your notes! It creates too much noise.
We hope we’ve covered all the bases with these video job interview tips. Of course, you’d still have to prepare your answers and questions, as you would for an in-person interview.
“Just because a Zoom job interview is virtual doesn’t make it less important. This is your career we’re talking about! Give it your all.”
– Bailey Ballum, Human Resources Manager, Acadium
With all this in mind, your next virtual job interview is sure to be your best one yet.
Tired of hearing crickets from hiring managers? Check out Acadium Plus. It’s our flagship program for accelerating your job search.
Lexi Rodrigo is the Content Manager at Acadium. As a marketing and communications professional and course creator, she helps remarkable brands get seen, heard, and known. She has been a digital marketer and copywriter since 2008. She's also the co-author of "Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye." When she's not reading or writing, Lexi bakes bread, grows food, and takes long walks.
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