Are you intimidated by video interviews? You’re not alone!
In order to get ready, start by running a speed test on your internet. That will let you know if your current setup will allow for the interview to begin with, and if it looks like your system doesn’t have the bandwidth, consider finding a location like a co-working space where you can socially distance and conduct your interview for a single-day rate (usually around $30 or so). Alternatively, if you have access to a hard-wired internet connection, you can consider that, but note that some old computers don’t have built-in cameras, so be sure to check!
Next, prepare for the interview as you would for any other. Research the role and the organization, note any important jargon or phrases you want to be sure to use. Jot these down somewhere so you can find the info easily. Then plan some stories to tell in the interview. These should include times you performed brilliantly and are super-proud of yourself, times you operated as part of a team (be specific about your role and accomplishments here), times you dealt with conflict, and times you failed but learned something. Make sure these are actually stories—one particular time, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. And be sure you are speaking about your role in things instead of what the team did or what the policy was. Finally make some notes about what you want to say about your ability to do this job, including any technical bits and the values match between you and the organization.
Then break out the sticky-notes! This is my favorite thing about the video interview. For an in-person session, you’ll want this captured neatly in a professional-looking notebook, but for video, you get to stick the notes up all over your screen. Bonus: this will keep you from looking at yourself on camera, which we can all hyper-focus on if we’re nervous. I recommend you organize the notes in a way that makes sense to you, and have a plan for when you’ve used a story, like maybe folding up a corner of the sticky. Then, draw a pair of eyes—they don’t have to be good—at stick them on either side of your camera lens. This will keep you conscious of making eye contact during the interview. Your temptation will be to look into the visible eyes of the interviewers, but those will be in the middle of your screen.
If you have one of those strange setups with the camera at the bottom of your screen, try a bit of experimenting with books stacked underneath and so forth to bring it to eye level. You can create a free Zoom account if you don’t already have one so you can get a sense of what you will look like on camera. If the interview will take place via Zoom, you can also experiment with virtual backgrounds, but again, play around on the site first so you know how things will work. A dark room will make virtual backgrounds work poorly and do strange things like give you grass for teeth. If the interview will be on a different platform, be sure that what’s visible behind you is something unremarkable, like a clean wall or a bookshelf. (Remarkable is fine for your friends, but you don’t want to be remembered just for that in an interview.)
And remember to smile during your interview. You’ll likely be nervous, but smiling will go a long way to letting them see you as personable and friendly, and in a competitive job market, your likability can make a huge difference.