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Video Interview Tips

February 17, 2021

Are You Ready for a Video Interview?

By Zac Shaw 

The nature of work has been evolving for years with more and more people, especially in IT-related fields, working remotely.  Since March of 2020, the speed of this change has increased even more rapidly.  Not only has work changed from lengthy commutes and “business casual” to walking down the hall and hoodies, but the method of getting hired has changed as well.  The interview process has been greatly affected over the last year with many candidates and hiring managers never meeting in person.  Companies are now relying extensively on video interviews. 


In many organizations, video has completely replaced the in-person interview.  However, with changing steps in the hiring process, also comes changing strategies to crush your interviews.  Here are some proven ways to ensure that you knock your next video interview out of the park.  


Test the tool 

No matter if you are using Zoom, MS Teams, Google Hangouts, or any of the ever-growing number of video chat tools, test it out first.  Ask a friend, family member, or the recruiter that you are working with to test the tool with you.  This is the best way to know that the technology will work in your favor.  On a video interview, nothing is more frustrating for both the interviewer and interviewee than technical difficulties. 


Dress like you would for an in-person interview 

Very few people got much use out of their “work clothes” in 2020 and may not in 2021 as well.  However, you still need to dress to impress for a video interview.  While it may be tempting to dress comfortably, you need to look like a professional.  Give the interviewer a great first impression by looking the part.  This includes the parts of you not seen on camera as well because you never know what might happen.  Don’t take a chance, wear nice pants. 


Simplify your background 

Set up in a place with a simple and professional background.  You want the interviewer paying attention to what you say, not what they can see behind you.  If need be, clear a space for video interviewing that only shows a blank wall behind you.  A simple picture or two are probably okay as well.  Again, you want the interviewer to evaluate your experience and what you say, not the material behind you. 


Be free from distraction 

The last year-plus has been difficult for most people.  Stay-at-home orders, remote work, and online learning have just added to the chaos in many households.  That being said, a video interview should be as free from distraction as possible.  This may mean finding a creative solution to handle kids or pets.  Ask a spouse or friend to take them out of the house if possible or let the kids have a little extra screen time.  You want and need to be focused on the content of the interview, not the commotion coming from the next room.  Try to find a quiet place where you can shut the door and focus on the interview.  If silence isn’t an option, use headphones that have a microphone built in.  This can limit the noise that goes through to the interviewer and allows you to block out any distractions. 


Have a list of questions and a notebook 

It might be different, but this is still an interview and some interview best practices never go away.  Interviews are two-way conversations and LOTS of specifics are typically discussed.  Have a notebook and pen to take detailed notes.  In the notebook, write down questions to ask during the interview.  Asking questions shows previous thought and interest.  Writing down answers to those questions and details about the role shows that you are really listening and interested in what the interviewer has to say. 


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