During the COVID-19 pandemic, 86% of companies conducted virtual interviews to hire new employees — a trend that has only continued with the shift to remote work. Combine this with 55% of Americans who expect to search for a new job before August 2022, and it seems safe to say that a lot of video interviews are taking place.
Gone are the days of dry-cleaned suits, driving or taking public transportation to your potential new job site, and waiting in a lobby to meet with your interviewers. Instead, these common interview experiences have been replaced with video meeting links, virtual backgrounds, and virtual waiting rooms. For jobseekers conducting their first virtual job search, video interviews present a new set of challenges. After all, creating a positive impression from home takes intentional thought and planning.
The good news? Virtual interviews give jobseekers control over elements of their image that they might not otherwise have. With these tips for video interviews, interviewees can set themselves up for success.
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Video interviews may feel more casual than in-person interviews – and let’s face it – oftentimes, they are! That said, when you’re really looking to land the role, making a good first impression is still key.
Just like in a traditional interview, you’ll want to research the company ahead of time, prepare an elevator pitch, and come prepared with questions for that inevitable portion at the end of the interview.
So while that dry-cleaned suit may or may not be necessary, professional dress and a well-groomed, polished appearance still apply. Take some extra time before your interview to see how your clothes come off on camera, as sometimes an outfit may read differently when viewed from the shoulders-up. Loud patterns or stripes could look a bit strange on camera – so when in doubt, keep it neutral. Check out more general interview tips here.
2. Consider Background and Camera Angle
In addition to considering your appearance, you’ll want to consider the appearance of your surroundings. At the very least, try to find a neutral background, free from distractions that could lead your interviewer to focus on what’s behind you, rather than what is being said. A private room or space is a must - because while random cat or child appearances can be fun sometimes, they should be 100% avoided in your virtual interview!
A good camera angle, lighting, and thoughtful background can go a long way in creating an excellent first impression. Consider raising your laptop or webcam on some books so that you are looking straight-on at the camera rather than down. When possible, moving a lamp to a spot just behind your setup creates a nice lighting effect on your face. If using natural light, face towards the window, not away, but be sure to consider how light might change over time.
You don’t need an impeccably designed home in order to make a nice impression, only a smart choice of background. Work with what you have, and you may find that some unconventional spots will give you the best interview set-up! Just be sure to make the spot comfortable, and when in doubt, consider a carefully placed plant or even a professional backdrop to get the effect that you desire.
In the first image, a light is placed just behind the computer, and the computer is raised to eye level. Be sure to consider your light source when setting up the camera.
3. Practice “Getting to” Your Video Interview
Have you ever driven or walked by your interview location the day before just to make sure you know where you are going when the actual day comes? With a virtual interview, there’s no need for that! However, it’s still a great idea to practice “getting to your interview” before the actual event.
If you have the links for your interviews ahead of time, you could consider checking out the links to make sure they work. Double-check and confirm call times with your contacts. Will the interview be taking place on a platform that you have used successfully before, or might you need to install a new application? Considering these elements a day or two before the interview will lead to less stress when the time comes to log on and make a great first impression.
4. Consider Small Details That Make a Big Difference
You may not be in person, but your interviewer can still see you! Sit up straight, smile, and look at the camera rather than the screen. These small details can make a world of difference in how you come across to the person interviewing you. As always, display good manners, thank the person for their time, and be sure to send a thank-you email. You’ll be hearing back in no time!
Looking to interview at a company that offers remote work flexibility? Check out our open roles at Eliassen Group!
- Baker, Mary. “Gartner HR Survey Shows 86% of Organizations Are Conducting Virtual Interviews to Hire Candidates During Coronavirus Pandemic” Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-30-gartner-hr-survey-shows-86--of-organizations-are-cond. Accessed 15 Nov 2021.
- Foster, Sarah. “Survey: 55% of Americans expect to search for a new job over the next 12 months” Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/job-seekers-survey-august-2021/. Accessed 15 Nov 2021.