8 ways to ace your next video interview

Young woman working on laptop at home

5 mins, 37 secs read time

In a recent post, we discussed eight ways hiring managers and recruiters can use video interviews to improve hiring efficiency. From changing company behavior to improving recruiting processes, the ability to conduct video interviews is a valuable part of a great hiring strategy.

Now it’s time to take a look at the other side of the screen: the candidate experience. The idea of interviewing in-person might be nerve-wracking to some, but throwing the video element into the mix can stress out even the most qualified candidate. Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top eight ways to help you ace your next video interview.

1. Change your mindset

We FaceTime friends, we jump on video chat for meetings – but when it comes to a video interview, the stakes can seem higher than ever. It’s not uncommon to be camera-shy in these situations. The most important first step to video interview success? Begin to change your mindset.

As long as you’re prepared, a video interview isn’t that different from an in-person interview – in some ways, you might even find it more beneficial. For example, a video interview means you can skip the commute, saving you time that can be applied to researching the company and preparing questions about the role. It also means you can have a couple of sticky notes handy with reminders during your conversation. And if you prefer typing to handwriting, you’re already on your computer.

Candidates should start by addressing the little things when it comes to a successful video interview – from the right lighting, to the camera angle, pre-interview testing and more, it's always a good idea to plan ahead.
–Jenn Ritchie, hiring manager and Enterprise Account Executive at Greenhouse

2. Call a friend

OK, you’ve got your computer and you’re starting to feel more excited about your next video interview. The next step is to participate in a mock interview to get even more comfortable on-camera.

You don’t even need to use the same technology as the company – as long as it’s similar, the intention is the same. Dial up a friend over FaceTime or Google Hangouts and exchange some practice interview questions. The more comfortable you are with the video interview process, much like with an in-person interview, the more confident you’ll feel when talking with your potential future employer.

3. Choose the right location

When it comes to video interviews – and the abundance of wifi – you can choose just about anywhere to connect! But don’t just post up in your kitchen or head to the coffee shop down the road without first considering a few important factors: lighting, noise level, distraction level and proximity to a power outlet.

First thing’s first: Make sure your location is well-lit, so that you’re able to clearly communicate with your interviewer. For noise level, of course it’s the quieter, the better. But if you can’t find a space with absolutely zero noise, make sure you have a pair of microphone-enabled headphones handy. As for distractions, consider everything from your roommates’ or family members’ schedules (consider letting them know your interview schedule in advance), to the background you’re sitting in front of (simple is best!). Finally, make sure wherever you choose to take the video interview has easy access to a power outlet (more on this in #4).

4. Check your tech

When it comes to getting tech assembled for a video interview, make sure the wifi or internet connection at your location is reliable. Check. Those headphones we talked about? Make sure they’re working and if they’re bluetooth, that they’re all charged up. Double check.

If you’re using a laptop, be sure you’re fully charged before the video interview – and even then, have your charge cable handy just in case. If you’ve done #3 correctly, you’re already near an outlet, so check that off your list, too!

5. Show your personality

You landed this interview because you have a unique and valuable perspective to share. That means more than the clothes you select (follow the same rules as you would in person). It also means avoiding falling into a video timewarp - jumping straight into the nuts and bolts of the conversation and forgetting to take the time to exchange getting-to-know-you questions. For example, according to Nicholas Bond a hiring manager at Renovation 320, "if you move your hands when you talk in-person, then do so over the phone or on video as well." This will help your personality shine through.

Again, consider if you were in-person – you’d likely ask your interviewer how they are before talking shop. It’s important to maintain that human, in-person feel – even while you’re far away.

6. Maintain eye contact

When you’re in person, sharing notes and materials with your interviewer is pretty straightforward. But in a video interview, subtle movements aren’t as clear. That means maintaining your eye-line (that's video production speak for "eye contact") becomes much more important: it shows you’re fully participating in the conversation.

Generi Talens, Associate Recruiter at Greenhouse has this advice for video interviewees: “I'm always impressed with candidates who are able to share any material virtually and also those that continue to stay focused on the screen while the interview is happening. If you're taking any notes, let the interviewer know beforehand so they know why you're looking away from the screen.”

7. Think like a public speaker

Do you think better on your feet than you do sitting in a chair? Or do you worry that your posture while sitting will make you feel less enthusiastic? Another hidden benefit of remotely interviewing with video is the ability to stand while speaking.

If you already have a standing desk setup, that’s great – skip ahead to #8. If not, and you have a laptop available, consider utilizing other areas of your home or interview location to enable a standing desk stand-in, such as a dresser – or if you’re planning to select a coffee shop, perhaps there’s an area with high-top tables you can use.

8. Don’t forget to follow up

According to a 2017 Accountemps survey, only 27% of managers receive thank you notes from candidates, but 80% say they’re helpful when reviewing candidates. If you’re planning on sending a note, it’s usually a good idea to do so within 24 hours of your interview and reach out to each person who participated, whether they did so in person or virtually. They’ll appreciate that you put time and effort into your interactions, regardless of the medium.

Looking for more interviewing insights from a candidate perspective? Check out this blog post from Kasey Altman, SMB Account Executive at Greenhouse.

Marnie Williams

Marnie Williams

is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Marnie has been in the thought leadership content space for 10 years, previously at WeWork and Oracle. She has a master’s in marketing from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in English from Colorado State University.