Thirty percent of employers now use video interviews during some part of the interview process, which means modern candidates need to be ready to communicate effectively in this format.
Sadly, you can’t rely on your face-to face-interview skills to excel during video screening. Studies show that video interviews have a “personality-dampening” effect, so candidates need to work harder to make the same impact they might make in a face-to-face setting.
So, how do you put your video interview face on? Here are a few tips:
1. Spare No Expense With Your Audiovisual Technology
A $1, bargain-bin webcam and microphone won’t cut it. You wouldn’t turn up to an interview in a worn-out suit, would you? Well, that’s effectively what you are doing at a video interview if you use bad AV tech.
You don’t have to go for T.V. production quality – although it would make one hell of an impression – but you should at least aim for mid-range HD webcams and microphones. This kind of equipment is the equivalent of walking into a traditional interview well-groomed and smartly dressed.
2. Set Up a Professional Workspace for the Interview
In a video interview, your workspace reflects who you are, so you better make sure it’s professional. Ideally, you’ll want to participate in all video interviews from a tidy, well-stocked home office. This will make you look like someone who is organized, motivated, and effective.
3. Dress Well
Video interviews are similar to face-to-face interviews in that you are expected to dress well. This is no time for pajamas, even if you are at home.
However, there are some additional wardrobe considerations you need to take for video interviews. The general advice is to avoid clothes with stripes or bold colors, as they can be distracting. Now, you don’t want to lend in with your background. You want to make a visual impact, so consider wearing darker colors against a light background or lighter colors against a dark background.
Test out a few different outfits before the interview to see what works best on your webcam. It’s an art, not a science, so you will need to do some tinkering to get it right.
4. Make Eye Contact
Research tells us that, all else being equal, a candidate who makes appropriate eye contact with an interviewer will make a better impression than one who doesn’t. Just because you’re sitting for a video interview, you aren’t off the hook. Eye contact still matters.
It’s important to remember, however, that in this case eye contact doesn’t mean looking at the interviewer on screen – it means looking into your camera.
You don’t need to stare into the camera for the entire duration of the interview, though. That might be off-putting. It’s okay to look away from time to time, especially when you are formulating a response. Of course, even when you’re not looking into the camera, you want to appear engaged. Try cupping your chin or nodding slightly to demonstrate your responsiveness.
5. Be More Expressive than Usual
I mentioned the personality-dampening effect of video interviews above. In part, this means that during video interviews, your normal facial expressions and body language will come across in less pronounced ways. You’ll need to compensate for this by gesticulating more often to emphasize words, enunciating for greater impact, and leaning in to the camera regularly to show your particular interest in a topic.
Video interviews share many similarities with face-to-face interviews, especially in terms of the format, but the medium does change quite a lot. That’s why you need to be aware of the specific challenges that can arise during video interviews. It’s the only way to ensure you give your best performance.