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Tips to make a lasting impression in a video interview

Posting date: 10/05/2024
Author: Inside ICON

Although many employers are returning to the office, we’re still seeing a mix of both video and in-person interviews in application processes. Early in 2020, the number of companies using video interviews jumped up by 67% in four weeks in response to the pandemic. Both employers and recruiters were forced to adopt new technologies due to the restrictions of meeting candidates in person but with this shift came many added benefits – one being that digital interviews increase hiring flexibility.

Interviewers might meet with several candidates for one role - more for high-demand jobs – so not only do you need to have your answers prepared and have done your background research on the company, but you also need to ensure the interviewer comes away from your virtual meeting knowing they won’t forget you. 

In this blog we will cover tips that will ensure you a lasting impression in your next video interview.

What is a Video Interview?

Video interviews have become increasingly popular for companies looking to hire remotely or streamline their recruitment process. A video interview is essentially a job interview conducted over video conferencing software rather than in person. 

There are different types of video interviews: 

  • Live video interviews with a recruiter/hiring manager 
  • Pre-recorded video interviews where you record responses to pre-set questions 
  • AI video interviews analyzed by artificial intelligence algorithms 

No matter the format, video interviews require preparation just like traditional in-person interviews. With the right video interview tips and techniques, you can ensure a smooth experience and increase your chances of moving forward.

Test Your Video Interview Setup

Ensuring a professional and polished video setup is crucial for making an excellent first impression during your virtual interview. Well before your scheduled time, take these important steps to optimize your environment and equipment.

  1. Check your internet connection for a stable, high-speed connection. Nothing kills an interview like a laggy video or dropped calls. 
  2. Use the video conferencing tool the company specifies (Zoom, Teams, Skype etc.) and get comfortable navigating features like muting, screen sharing etc. 
  3. Find a quiet, clean space with good lighting. Adjust lighting to avoid harsh shadows or being backlit. Consider a video-friendly background like a plain wall. 
  4. Optimize your audio by using a headset or external mic if possible. This reduces echo and improves clarity. 
  5. Set your camera at eye level by adjusting the laptop position or using books to prop it up. Maintain good posture and avoid slouching. 
  6. Minimize potential interruptions by closing unnecessary apps/notifications and letting others know you'll be in an interview.

Research the Company and Role

Just like preparing for an in-person interview, thorough research into the company and role is vital to position yourself as a highly qualified and engaged candidate. Invest time into learning as much as possible about the organization, industry, and responsibilities through these proven strategies.

  1. Study the job description thoroughly and make a list of how your skills and experience align with the role requirements. 
  2. Learn about the company's history, culture, products/services, mission, current news etc. Being knowledgeable shows your genuine interest. 
  3. Review the interviewer's background and anything publicly available about their role/department. 
  4. Prepare insightful questions of your own about the role, company, specific challenges or projects.

Practice - Perform a Trial Run

While general interview preparation is essential, the video interview format also requires specific practice to ensure you come across as naturally confident, composed, and camera-ready. Dedicate time to refining your video presence through these helpful exercises.

  1. Do a trial video call with a friend and get feedback on your framing, audio, lighting, background etc.
  2. Practice speaking to the camera rather than the screen to maintain eye contact.
  3. Work on your body language - avoid fidgeting, slouching or distracting habits. 
  4. For pre-recorded interviews, practice recording yourself and re-watching to optimize pacing, tone and delivery. 
  5. Have notes organized but avoid shuffling papers that could cause distracting sounds.

Dress Professionally

You only get one chance at a first impression, so looking polished and professional on camera is critical to your chances of success. Follow these styling tips to ensure your video interview attire conveys a cohesive, distraction-free look befitting the opportunity.

  • Wear what you'd wear to an in-office interview - a suit, button-down shirt, dress/skirt etc. 
  • Avoid bright colors, busy patterns or noisy accessories that could be distracting on camera.
  • Consider your appearance from the waist up since that's what will be visible in most setups. 
  • Check your grooming including neat hairstyle, minimal jewelry/accessories and light, neutral makeup.

Frame Your Body Language

Your body language plays a starring role in how you're perceived during the video interview. By being intentional with your nonverbal cues and mannerisms, you can project enthusiasm, confidence, and active listening - key qualities every employer desires.

  1. Maintain good posture and face the camera directly. 
  2. Use hand gestures naturally but avoid fidgeting. 
  3. Smile, nod and make eye contact by looking into the camera. 
  4. Avoid distracting habits like clicking pens, tapping feet etc. 
  5. Display enthusiasm and confidence through your facial expressions and tone.

Optimise Your Network Connection

While minor technical hiccups can occur, there are smart steps you can take to minimise disruptions and seamlessly handle any issues that arise. Follow this checklist to help ensure reliable audio and video for a smooth, uninterrupted experience.

  1. Close any unnecessary apps and browser tabs that could drain bandwidth. 
  2. Restart your computer before the interview for optimal performance. 
  3. Have the video conferencing link/info handy to quickly re-join if dropped. 
  4. Consider having your phone ready with a headset in case you need to quickly join audio-only. 
  5. If issues arise, remain calm and professional in working through them with the interviewer.

Ask Insightful Questions

The questions you ask during the interview are a great way of demonstrating your level of preparation, critical thinking abilities, and genuine interest in the role. Prepare insightful, role-specific questions to portray yourself as a truly engaged and motivated candidate. Come prepared with questions that go beyond what's covered on the company website or job description.

  • Prioritize questions showing your understanding of the role/company and interest in contributing.
  • Ask about specific challenges, initiatives, roadmaps or goals for the role. 
  • Get clarity on the team structure, culture and collaboration styles. 
  • Inquire about growth opportunities, training and development initiatives. 
  • If you're interviewing with a potential manager, ask about their leadership style and what they look for in their team members.

Follow Up

Your work isn't over once the video call wraps up - the follow-up is equally important in solidifying a positive and memorable impression. Maximise this opportunity with these professional and thoughtful strategies.

  • Thank the interviewer for their time and restate your strong interest and fit for the role. 
  • Connect on LinkedIn and send a personal follow-up thank you email. 
  • If there were any technical difficulties, apologise and reiterate your qualifications. 
  • Promptly answer any additional questions or action items from the interviewer. 
  • Check in politely on an expected hire decision timeline if no update after a week or so. 

With thorough preparation, a professional setup and demeanor, and thoughtful follow-up, you can optimize your video interview performance and chances of getting hired. 

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