PREPARE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Choose a spot for the interview where you can control the surroundings. If at all possible, take the video interview in your home, but anywhere quiet with a good internet connection is a viable option. Don’t take a video interview in a coffee shop except as a last resort.
Clear your desk of distractions, and only keep what you’d have at an in-person interview: a glass of water, a copy of your resume, and something to take notes with. “Be fully present. Don’t have your phone out next to you,”
If at all possible, try to practice with a friend or family member beforehand.
Dress professionally from head to toe: You’ll feel and act more put together if you’re not wearing sweatpants. Just avoid jewelry that makes a lot of noise or is visually distracting.
- Test your audio, video, and internet connection using the same software as the interview.
- Make sure the other person can hear you and there’s nothing distracting them in the frame.
- Ask them to tell you if your gestures or body language look awkward on camera.
PREPARE THE SHOT
- Don’t sit super close to the screen—you want your head and shoulders visible. A good rule of thumb is to leave 10-20% of the screen empty above your head. You won’t be tiny, but you also won’t cut yourself off accidentally by sitting up straighter or gesturing.
- Choose a simple background with no distractions. Gardner says she once had a client give an interview in a room full of dressmaker’s mannequins—and had trouble focusing on the interviewee as a result.
- Using headphones helps prevent weird echoes, and if your headphones have a microphone on them, that will make it easier to hear you. (Make sure the mic isn’t rubbing against your shirt or banging against your necklace throughout the interview.) Avoid giant over-the-ear headphones or gaming headsets—or at least consider the visual aesthetic you’re creating by wearing them.
- Unlike a phone interview, body language is important in a video interview. Try not to lean in—this can make you look too large and close on the interviewer’s screen. Instead, sit up straight, and smile and nod to show you’re paying attention.