The life of a military spouse is one of frequent moves—and often frequent job searches. If you’re looking to lineup a job before you’ve moved, chances are you’ll be asked to complete a video interview as opposed to an in-person interview. Because you’re speaking to a person at the other end of a computer screen, you might be nervous that you’ll come across as forced or unnatural. Alternatively, you might be worried about technology issues. To help you ace the interview and land the job, we’ve put together our top video interview tips.
1. Check Your Audio, Video, and Internet
A successful video interview starts before you even dial into the call. At least ten minutes before the scheduled time, sit down at your computer and check your technology. You’ll want to start by gathering your headphones and an external microphone if you decide to use them. If not, just focus on the built-in audio capabilities of your computer. Login to whatever software you’ll be using for the meeting—whether it’s Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc.—and start testing. Depending on the type of software the business has chosen, you might be able to create a “test” call. Try to recruit a friend or family member to log in and make sure they can hear and see you. If you don’t have access to create your own meetings, try using internal testing capabilities. Video interview software often has its own ways of testing that can be equally as helpful. Once you’ve ensured the potential employer can see and hear you, it’s time to double-check your internet connection. For prime stability, it’s best that you use your home’s internet, as opposed to the data through your phone carrier. If you tend to have spottier internet, make sure that no other devices, like the kid’s tablets, smart TVs and other computers, are using the internet. Your technology check is now complete!
2. Choose Your Room Carefully
What does your house say about you? If you have kids or pets, it might be a little messy or cluttered, or if you’re in the middle of moving, you might be surrounded by cardboard boxes. Whether it’s fair or not, potential employers will judge what your interview background looks like, so it’s important to choose it carefully. One of our most essential tips for video interviews is to select a clutter-free room and position yourself in front of a solid-colored wall. A place without distractions will show employers you take the interview seriously and showcase your best qualities. If you don’t have a solid-colored wall to sit in front of, a closed-door can work nicely as well. Just make sure you have the door locked because you never know who or what might walk by!
3. Pay Attention to Framing and Styling
Because you’re not meeting with anyone in person, you need to ensure the frames and angle you choose for your camera are as flattering as possible. Take care that the camera (not the computer screen) is poised directly in front of your face. This will ensure you avoid unflattering positions like having the camera look up your nose or leave you out of the frame altogether. Depending on what chair and table or desk you’re using to hold your computer, you may need to adjust the heights of one or both. This will help you line up your camera to eye level and keep you from slouching or stretching over the computer for a good angle. It's also important to note that while you want to be comfortable, sitting in a straight chair is much more professional than lounging on a couch.
4. Watch Your Body Language
As crucial as framing the video camera is, body language is even more important. Remember that because you’re not doing a face-to-face interview, the interviewer cannot easily determine your excitement level. You have to compensate for that with body language. Portraying your most confident, intelligent self and exuding positivity and eagerness through a 12-inch computer screen can be a challenge. However, there are a few easy ways to do this:
- Eye Contact: Treat the camera lens as the interviewer’s eyes. Keeping your eyes and attention on the camera will make the person on the other side of the screen feel as if you’re looking into their eyes. When you focus on the computer screen, the interviewer might feel as if you’re looking above or below them.
- Smile: Although we’re not suggesting you plaster an unnatural smile on your face, try to pleasantly smile as you answer and ask questions during the conversation. Smile if something makes you laugh or excites you to show your potential employer your excitement.
- Use Your Hands: Some people are visual speakers, and that’s okay in a video interview. If it makes sense in your interview to use hand gestures, use them! Speak and move as if you were in-person. So if you normally talk with your hands in person, definitely talk with your hands during a video interview. Of course, just like smiling, don’t overdo it!
5. Dress for Success
Even though the interviewer will only see your chest and up (think of getting a school photo done), ensure that what they can see looks good! Wear a professional shirt or blouse that you would wear to an in-person interview or a day on the job. Keep in mind that although the interviewer will most likely only see your face, if you have to get up in the middle of the interview to grab something, make sure you’re not wearing sweatpants or athletic shorts. Better to be safe than sorry! You can get your dream job with a video interview, just be natural, act like yourself, and follow our video interview conference tips above.