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8 Steps to Win the Video Interview

Bonny Calfy | June 29, 2016

Video interviewing is not new to the world of recruitment. However, to job seekers, it may be worrisome when asked if they will conduct an interview via video. There are no filters on video and applicants’ worries can include everything from whether their glasses will reflect the computer screen, to dogs barking in the background.

According to a Futurestep/Korn Ferry survey, 71 percent of executive recruiters use real-time video interviewing and 50 percent use video interviews as a way to narrow the candidate pool. If you have not yet experienced a video interview in your quest for the perfect career, you may very soon!

While video interviews and face-to-face interviews are similar, there are some ways they can differ. Here are eight steps to overcome video interviewing fears and win the job:

  1. Practice makes perfect. Many companies offer practice sessions, so make use of those or stage your own with a friend over Skype or Google Hangouts. Arrange your lighting and surroundings, and don your most professional garb. Does your friend notice anything out of place? Is there ambient noise you need to address? Find out these things ahead of time and go into the interview with confidence!
  2. Impact, don’t distract. Your job is to look professional on camera. While it might be tempting to only dress your upper half in interview-acceptable clothing, remember you may have to get up for any number of reasons, so don’t go half-monty. Avoid ruffles, stripes (which could distort on camera) or busy patterns. Take care to avoid rumpled clothing as the harsh glare of a computer screen may exacerbate lines.
  3. Have a lightbulb moment. While it’s not imperative to your success, bad lighting can make you look pale, unenthusiastic or worse. Try what the internet stars do and create lighting behind your computer that gives off more of a yellow, even glow so you can look your best!
  4. Take notes. One advantage of a video interview is you can have a couple cheat sheets. If you need company notes or some highlights you want to go over and convey to the recruiter, you can print them out and have them nearby and out of sight. Make sure it’s printed and not pulled up on your computer screen. Also, make sure you have only one page of notes, lest your rustling distracts the interviewer.
  5. Use a bright Post-it. It might be a silly trick, but try it: stick a bright Post-it next to your webcam. Looking up at the viewfinder instead of down at your screen can give a professional appearance and help keep your eyes off yourself. A CareerBuilder survey found that failure to make eye contact and smile to be the top two body language mistakes a candidate can make.
  6. Get there early. If Murphy’s Law applies anywhere, it also applies to the video interviewing process. Technology that seems to work flawlessly in every other aspect of life often can bug out at the most inopportune times. To ensure you are relaxed and ready to go, arrive in the video interviewing “waiting room” at least 10-15 minutes early so you can test out the software, especially if you have never attempted a video interview before.
  7. Hydrate. The middle of an interview with your dream company is not the time to choke on dry mouth, so ensure you have a glass of water nearby. Not only will this help if you get a little parched, you also can use it to avoid speaking too quickly.
  1. Clean up. This should go without saying, but recruiters and hiring managers are looking for clues that you may (or may not) be a fit, so don’t give them an easy win with a messy location. Noisy, messy environments may signal that you don’t care about the opportunity or rarely think things through.

Video interviewing may not be the most comfortable situation, but with the proper preparation you can win the video interview and move on to the in-person interview you desire.

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s recruitment marketer team lead, Bonny Calfy writes about such topics as human capital management, company culture, talent acquisition and career advice. Her brand-awareness efforts at Paycom have included launching Paycom Careers’ blog and social media channels, and producing several recruiting videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside of work, Bonny enjoys reading, fishing and spending time with her son and husband.