5 Ways to Stand Out During a Video Interview

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Gone are the days of it being mandatory to meet someone face to face before hiring them. With technology constantly evolving, remote work has become a new “norm” and increasingly accepted by many forward-thinking organizations. Today’s employees no longer have to “punch clocks” to show that they’re working. Naturally, the evolution of flexible work-life is also starting to reflect within the recruitment world. Companies are becoming more adaptable with their hiring practices and many organizations are adopting new ways of hiring talent, including the use of video interviewing. 

Video interviewing allows mammoth companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter (to name a few) to cut down on time, money, and resources. On the other hand, it also allows candidates the flexibility to interview at their own convenience, making for a serious win-win! Now the practice has trickled down; it’s not just the Google’s of the world adopting video recruitment strategies. Many proactive startups and small to medium sized organizations are looking to video technology to find their standout candidates.

So, what happens when you’ve landed an interview at the company you’ve always wanted to work for, and it’s over video? What’s the difference? How can you stand out? Here are 5 helpful ways to stand out and nail your next video interview.

1. Make sure your surroundings are professional, clean, and appropriate.

This is incredibly important. Avoid a busy environment at all costs. Your interviewers will not be able to focus solely on you and your value if you choose a room or setting that is too distracting. If you’re taking the interview from a room in your home, make sure to clean up! If an interviewer sees a mess, they’ll likely assume you’re unorganized. 

Make sure there is nothing inappropriate or “loud” in the screens view (ie. posters, décor with writing on it, etc.) that will pull focus away from you. Best practice: choose a quiet, well-lit room with a blank wall to sit in front of. Make sure this area is not a high-traffic environment like your kitchen or living room, especially if others are home at the same time. Have a pet or two? Move them to a different area for the time being so that they don’t unexpectedly distract you or your audience. 

2. Ensure you have the right equipment set up.

Once you’ve found an appropriate spot, make sure that your video equipment set up is good quality. You don’t need any fancy cameras, just your laptop webcam or your mobile phone (in landscape). Make sure the frame includes your head and shoulders so your interviewers are not straining to see your facial cues. Ten minutes before your scheduled interview, do a few voice tests to ensure that your microphone and/or headphones are working properly. It’s recommended to also check that you have the latest version of your video conferencing software installed and test the platform that you will be using! Make sure any updates are performed well ahead of time. 

3. Treat the interview as if it were an in-person meeting.

Prepare for the interview in the exact way you would prepare if you were going into their office. This interview should be treated with the same amount of importance. Just because they invited you to interview via video, does not mean that it is any less crucial in their recruitment process. Do the same amount of research, prepare the same answers, and come prepared with a few questions to ask them. 

Dress the part! Just like you would come dressed to impress to a face-to-face interview, make sure you still look the part over video! It shows that you’re taking the opportunity seriously. 

4. Be aware of your at-home habits and avoid them!

Do you normally sit in front of your computer with some snacks while you browse the internet or play your video games? Do you sit cross-legged on your chair? Do you tend to slump over in front of your screen? These are all things people can do out of habit without realizing it. Make sure you’re aware of the way you normally interact with your computer at home and avoid the more “unprofessional” actions. At a previous job, I interviewed someone over video that halfway through the interview, took out a vape, and blew smoke into the screen. That person would have probably never done that during a normal interview. Unfortunately, it cost this person the opportunity because it came across that they did not truly care about the effort put into the recruitment process.  

5. Highlight your personality!

During a face-to-face meeting, it’s easier for an interviewer to get a fuller sense of your personality through body language and facial cues. It’s harder to showcase your personality when you lose the ability to be completely present. This is why it’s important to show your personality in other ways. Have fun with your interview. Provide personal anecdotes and examples of when your character and qualities helped you through a situation or problem. Don’t be afraid to share what you’re passionate about. Ask the interviewers meaningful questions so they feel that you care about getting to know them as humans.  

Tip: Here’s how to project confidence in a job interview that can be applied to video interviewing too! 

With these tips in your arsenal, we know that you’ll rock your next video interview. Preparation is key. Once you’ve done all the prep work you can take a deep breath, relax, and make a great first impression! 

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