More and more job interviews are taking place virtually. This was true first because of the ease of it thanks to technology, and now it is because of the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on face-to-face interaction. If you have been invited to a video job interview via tools such as Skype or Zoom, there are key things to keep in mind. As with any interview, be prepared; do enough research to give you a clear picture of the company, including its place within the industry, whether it is growing or expanding into new areas, and the general guiding philosophy or mission.
Remember that any video will show not only your face but also the space around you. Make sure you are in a nice, clean, and quiet environment with good lighting and where interruptions are unlikely. Remove any clutter that would be visible to the interviewer. Make sure the lights in the room are bright enough for them to see you. Place a light above and behind the web camera and screen (where the interviewer cannot see the light) to ensure that your face is well lit.
- Get the interviewer’s telephone number before the scheduled video call so you can contact them directly if technical problems disrupt the video interview.
- Dress as if you were interviewing in person.
- Prepare any materials, including your CV/resumé, that you would like to use during the interview.
- Test your web camera, microphone, and internet connection. Make a short practice call with a friend to get familiar with the software and to resolve any technical difficulties before the interview.
- Be ready to begin the video call at the scheduled time.
- Ten minutes before the interview begins, log in to the video conferencing program and close any programs that are not directly related to the interview (e.g. email, non-professional documents, and media players).
- Minimize disruptions by silencing computer notifications, cell phones, and other peripheral electronic devices, closing the door, and asking others to not interrupt you.
- If technical difficulties prevent you from successfully initiating a video call with the interviewer, contact the interviewer by telephone, explain the problems, and arrange an alternate plan.
- Turn off your phone but be prepared for the interviewer to answer their phone, and sometimes even email during the interview. This is acceptable behavior and is not considered rude.
- Pay attention to presentation in terms of body language; sit up and do not fidget.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Respond to questions with direct and concise answers.
- Convey confidence, engagement, and interest, but refrain from sounding arrogant.
- Smile and laugh where appropriate; in other words, be natural. Looking down or away suggests shyness, a lack of self-confidence, or a lack of interest.
- For a panel interview, a good technique to maintain eye contact without giving the impression of staring is to move your eyes across the panelists while talking or listening.
- Don’t talk too much, present for too long, or interrupt the interviewer(s). Listen carefully and wait for each question to be finished before attempting to answer.
- Never display frustration or annoyance at questions. Instead, maintain a positive demeanor, as this demonstrates a good attitude and self-control.
- Have three to five pertinent questions ready to ask about the company and the position. It is typical for interviewers to give you a chance to ask some questions once the interview is winding down.