Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog.
Step aside in-person interviews, video interviews are becoming increasingly popular in today’s workforce. This technologically-advanced method is a time and cost saver for interviewers and interviewees. You should treat it as a traditional in-person interview, but with a few variations for before and during the meeting.
In preparation, you should test the technology you’re going to use for the interview far in advance (at least a few hours before). The interviewer will send instructions for joining the meeting, this may include a phone number in place of using computer audio. There are many different options for video conferences, so familiarize yourself with the correct one and download the necessary software installation or updates. If you choose to use your computer’s audio or a headset, be sure to test the microphone and speakers.
Image is Everything
In addition to testing your computer’s microphone and speakers, you should check the functionality of the camera. If using a laptop, you may need to prop it up so the camera is more level with your face. Try setting a few books underneath the laptop to reach the appropriate height. Be sure to dress professionally (this is still an interview). They may only see from your shoulders and up, but your outfit could affect your attitude. Pajamas, while comfy, may make you sound too casual and unprofessional.
You should also be mindful of your surroundings. Find a quiet place without potential interruptions. A child or cat running into the room could be a big distraction.
Eye of the Interviewer
This is one of the most important and (somewhat) difficult pieces of the video interview. While the camera is usually located at the top of the laptop, the interviewer will be shown on the screen below forcing your eyes downward. It’s an unnatural feeling to focus your eyes on the camera instead of the person you’re talking to. You can try practicing with friends/family before the interview, or place arrows on either side of the camera as a reminder.
Note with Caution
Another benefit of video interviews is note taking without the interview seeing what you’re writing. Be sure to use caution, as you don’t want to appear too distracted. Come up with a few questions you want to ask about the position or company, and write it down. This way you won’t panic when it’s your time to ask questions.
(Still) Under Pressure
While you may feel more comfortable interviewing in your own environment, you should still do the normal prep work as you would for a traditional interview; research the company and its products/services, practice answers for typical interview questions, review the position description, etc.
Struggling to come up with your weaknesses is just as awkward in a video interview as it is in person.