Whether you love remote work or can’t wait to get back into an office, there’s just no getting around it: video interviews are here to stay. And if you’re wondering how best to prepare for a video interview, you’re not alone.
For many students and professionals, video interviews were a new experience brought on because of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you’ve ever applied for a fully remote job, or have gone through the hiring process for a job that requires relocation, you might already have some experience interviewing over Skype or Zoom.
Of course, video interviews are slightly different from both phone and in-person interviews. Most employers reserve video interviews for later rounds of the hiring process. The first step tends to be a phone interview. It can be more difficult to spark a connection with your potential future team if you aren’t in the same room with them. However, once you master the preparation, you’ll sail through any hiring process that comes your way. When it comes to how to prepare for a video interview, it’s important to start with the basics. Remember, just because you’re not traveling to an office doesn’t mean the dress code necessarily changes, and your background research may be even more in-depth.
Ace your next video interview with these top tips:
1. Be mindful of the dress code
The last thing you want is to become the next viral meme on the internet after forgetting to mute, or inadvertently showing the interviewer your pajama bottoms. In addition to ensuring you avoid any potentially embarrassing situations, getting fully dressed for your interview will help you get in the right mindset. Be aware of what type of organization you’re interviewing with. If it’s a small startup with an informal dress code, you’ll probably be fine with jeans and a nice top. For a corporate job, you’ll likely want something a bit more dressy. At the end of the day, remember that first impressions are everything, even over a video call. It’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
2. Think about the background
One of the most important things to consider when deciding how to prepare for your video interview is the space behind you. Try to find a spot in your home that is neutral, neat, and mostly distraction-free. A blank wall works great, or a wall with organized shelves and plants. Keep in mind that messy or chaotic backgrounds can be distracting for your interviewer. Everything plays into your first impression, and background is no exception.
In addition to the visual background in an interview, try to make sure you’ll be in a quiet space for the duration of the call. Noisy backgrounds can not only be distracting, but can cause the interviewer to miss key parts of what you’re saying, or cause you to lose your train of thought. Of course, sometimes minor distractions are inevitable, but preparing in advance will help avoid them.
3. Make the extra effort
Making a personal connection with your interviewer can be more difficult, and even a little awkward virtually. But, just like in a face-to-face interview, it’s important to build a good report in the first meeting. With that in mind, make sure you have a few casual topics of conversation that you think will allow you to chat easily with your interviewer. Check out their LinkedIn pages or Twitter feeds, and see if you can find interests or experiences in common. Some professionals even have Medium pages where they write about their professional experiences and ideas, so do your background research!
4. Fend for yourself with the basics
When you go to an interview in an office, you’ll usually be offered a glass of water, a comfortable seat, and shown to the bathroom when you arrive. When you’re preparing for an interview, you’ll need to provide those things for yourself. Pour a glass of water to have nearby, especially if the call is a long one. Find a comfortable spot (with a professional background of course,) and bring anything you might need for note-taking. Think about having a notebook and pen next to you, as typing away taking notes during the call might seem unprofessional. You definitely don’t want the interviewer to think you aren’t paying attention!