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WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Master Your Next Video Interview

Friday | May 8, 2020 | by WES Advisor

video interview tips

Many employers are shifting to virtual hiring experiences, conducting video and phone interviews with job candidates. In fact, according to HireVue, as of March 2020, 89% of employers had begun to use virtual interviews during the hiring process.

Here are ten tips that will help you excel in your next video interview:

Test Your Technology

Most employers will use platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Webex to conduct video interviews. Prior to the interview day, ensure you are familiar with the interview platform inside and out.

This includes testing your microphone, camera, and any other functionalities of the interview platform. For example, if you’re going to use rechargeable ear pods, ensure they are 100% charged before your interview. Also, test your camera by doing a practice interview with a family member or friend to ensure you are looking directly at the webcam. If you are positioned too close or too far away from the camera, it will appear that you are looking down at or above your interviewer (without making proper eye contact). This can be disconcerting for the interviewer.

Make Sure You Have a Strong Internet Connection

To test your internet speed, visit the Speedtest site. If you have slow or unstable Wi-Fi, try using a cable to connect your computer to your router. A wired connection is generally more reliable than wireless. You don’t want a slow connection during your interview or your video could freeze and stop working.

Ensure Your Background Is Professional

Your background should be neutral; you want your interviewer focused on your answers to their questions, not distracted by whatever is visible in the background. Ideally, you will have a plain wall or a professional setup behind you, such as a bookcase or desk. The last thing you want is clutter or excess furniture visible behind you during the interview.

Test Your Lighting

Ideally you should sit with a source of natural light, such as a window, in front of you. Bill Cole, the author of The Interview Success Guide, notes: If a window is behind you, it could cast a shadow over your face and make it difficult for the interviewer to see you. If you have the interview at night, make sure you have plenty of overhead lighting or floor lamps to illuminate your face.

Block Out Any and All Distractions

This means closing browser tabs and unnecessary programs on your computer. Silence your phone so it doesn’t ring or beep with notifications during your interview. Also, be sure to close the door of the room you are in to block out noise and interruptions.

Smile While You Are Talking

Smiling while you speak makes you a more likeable, approachable candidate and translates well to the interviewer.

Be Prepared for This Common Question

Interviewers often like to begin with the open-ended “tell me your story” question because it help them get to know you. Being thoughtfully prepared for this question will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Your answer should weave your values and motivation for the role alongside a summary of your professional experiences. 

Stand Up—If You Can

If you have a standing desk or a tall table from which to stand during the interview, try standing. Standing up tends to energize your voice, as well as increase your clarity and confidence. When you stand, your diaphragm opens up, which makes your voice sound more powerful. This is also a great strategy for phone interviews, where you can stand up and move around as you speak, further energizing your voice.

Connect to the Interview Platform Early

Connect to the platform at least five to ten minutes before your interview is supposed to start to ensure you don’t have trouble logging in or experience any other technical difficulties. This also demonstrates that you are a prepared, punctual job candidate.

Have a Backup Plan

Be prepared in case something goes wrong. At the beginning of the interview, give the interviewer your phone number so they can reach you in the event of any technical difficulties. You can also ask them for their phone number at the beginning of the interview, just in case. If technology issues arise, ask if you can continue the interview over the phone or reschedule for a different day or time.

We hope these video interview tips will help you feel confident and prepared in your next virtual interview!

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WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.