10+ Video Interview Tips To Land Your Next Job

Video interviews aren’t exactly new. For about 5+ years now, major companies, especially technology companies have used video interviews as a way of screening candidates (we’ll get into what this means in a minute). Primarily, they’re using video interviews because it's much easier than going through the heavy operations toll it takes to schedule in-person meetings. In comparison to phone interviews, its also a much more efficient way to feel as though you are sitting right next to the person, which makes it much easier to judge the chemistry they may have inside the company. Skype is a platform which is often used to conduct these interviews. Since its a reliable video conversation platform, most companies turn to it. Be prepared to have Skype installed on your computer in advance so that you don’t miss your interview time.

I’ve personally been involved and conducted many video interviews. Even if you are in an office, sometimes you aren’t in a place where an interview can happen with ease. Being able to hop on a video interview is a much easier way to talk to a lot of candidates and figure out who is the right fit. Remember that for the interviewer, they’re going to be conducting interviews with many people (probably 10-15 at a minimum), so for them, a video interview is the best option.

In this guide we’re going to cover a few things:
1. Video interview questions you might be asked
2. Video interview preparation
3. General video interview tips

Video interview questions & answers

So you are getting prepared for a video, how do you anticipate what they might ask you in the interview? The best thing to remember is that if you are being put into a video interview, most likely you are at the early stages of the interview process. This means that you are going to be asked questions about your background, questions about your passion for the company and the companies ethos. I wouldn’t be expected to answer greatly complicated questions. If they like you in the video interview, most likely they will move to an in-person interview session. Unless your company is entirely distributed, in which case remote working is the primary way that colleagues interact with others. Then you may have another video interview.

1. What makes you want to work here?

Its important to answer this question honestly. You should have your reasoning for why you are joining this company. Try to use that as the main basis for your response here. But something like the following will do just fine.

Answer: I’ve been a fan of the company and the founding CEO for a number of years. Watching the company, the product and the service grow has been incredible. I’m a user myself and appreciate what the company offers to its customers and consumers. My passion starts with the product and because of that, I recognize that the companies morals line up perfectly to what I appreciate about the product. And that’s made me genuinely interested in wanting to be a part of this company.

2. Can you tell me about experiences that you’ve had working this type of role?

This type of question will definitely be asked. It's important that you take the time to think about how your personal experience lines up with the position that you are looking to apply for. Alternatively, if this is an opportunity for you to learn or advance your career, then you should be prepared to answer why they should give you a shot at it. Let's go through an example answer that is like that.

Answer: I realize I don’t have a considerable amount of experience for this exact position. But I am looking to take on new challenges and learn something new. In that way, I am going to be highly moldable to the companies needs. I also have sat in a similar department or the exact department for which this position is operated within. Meaning, I’m not terribly inexperienced about what the position requires, I simply haven’t executed it myself. That’s the chance I’m hoping you’ll take on me

3. What are some of your goals with this position?

You should also prepare for this question in your own way. You’ll need to think about your goals within the company. Don’t think of a job as just a source of income, at least now how you describe it. You’ll need to understand why you are looking to take on the responsibilities of the job and how that translates to the company earning a high deal of value from you. Lets go through an example answer where you have a clearly defined set of goals.

Answer: My goals are to earn a certain degree of credibility for this position. Meaning, I want to build my track record of success. That means I aim to please and hit my markers for success, however, they are defined against the companies needs. Eventually, this experience will help me have career mobility and either move up within the company itself or find a position elsewhere that helps me advance myself.

4. What kinds of questions do you have about what we’re working on?

Be prepared to ask questions as well. I would recommend that you put together a series of questions which you’d like answered, no matter what. Meaning, even if you already have your original question answered, maybe through some type of research you did online, ask it anyway. The act of asking a question back can be extremely valuable for the interviewer to feel as though you are passionate about the position. An example answer or question would be: Can you tell me how the product development department works with marketing?

5. Where do you see yourself best succeeding here and what does it look like?

This question is simply to show the interviewer that you can visualize yourself succeeding within the environment. This is somewhat of a closing question, though. Be prepared for some type of question that is similar to this.

Answer: I see myself succeeding in the product management environment. It appears as though the team has the same driving principals as myself and my previous experience. And I could easily visualize myself having an easy time getting along with the rest of the team as well as executing against the goals our leadership sets for us.

Video interview tips, Skype interview tips

Below is the short list of tips that you can use if you feel like you understand them well enough. Below the list is a healthy explanation of each one just in case they aren’t clear on their own. Additionally, I included information on why the tip is important.

1. Test and setup your web camera in advance
2. Have a designated place you will be conducting the video interview and ensure your backdrop is pleasant
3. Focus on your lighting and make sure your face is easily seen
4. Make sure your video camera is pointed directly at your face and not off to the side or angled
5. Prepare your questions and answers to potential questions in advance, have your cheat sheet ready in front of you
6. Show that you have a notepad and are taking notes down related to the discussion happening in the interview
7. Check your audio quality in advance, use Apple headphones or other hardware which puts the microphone close to your mouth
8. Remember to smile and have eye contact, which in this situation is going to mean looking directly at your camera and not your computer monitor
9. Do not conduct interviews on a laptop or mobile device like a cellphone
10. Be sure to be mindful of your tone of voice, don’t interrupt the speaker but be sure you aren’t extremely quiet as well
11. Dress well, present yourself as if you are in person

1. Test and setup your web camera in advance
Its important that you are ready for the interview. Go through a mock scenario of the video interview. Look at everything you have going on in the scene behind you, in front of you, what can be seen, what can’t be seen. This will help make sure that you aren’t just presenting yourself, but the environment for which are conducting the interview is conducive to being well received. For example, don’t conduct or be in an interview inside a Starbucks.

2. Have a designated place you will be conducting the video interview and ensure your backdrop is pleasant
The delightfulness of your scenery will really help in an interview. If something is pleasant behind you, it will make the viewer feel more willing to keep the conversation going. For example, if you have a lot of books and a messy bedroom behind you, it will make you appear like a messy person. Unfortunately, in video interviews, you are presenting part of your personal life as well as your professional life. Make sure it feels well produced.

3. Focus on your lighting and make sure your face is easily seen
Imagine being in an interview and the person is barely visible? What’s the point of the video interview then? Be sure that you are testing your meeting place out in advance and that its well lit. Preferably with natural light, if you use artificial light it will not seem as natural and that could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable as well.

4. Make sure your video camera is pointed directly at your face and not off to the side or angled
A sometimes easy to make mistake. Just be sure that you have positioned your camera to look directly at you as if you would if you were speaking to someone in person and having a formal conversation.

5. Prepare your questions and answers to potential questions in advance, have your cheat sheet ready in front of you
The advantage you have in being apart of a video interview is that you can prepare your answers and questions in advance and even read from them! Just make sure the interviewer can’t see you reading something, like a piece of paper for example. You have the advantage to be extremely well prepared, versus an in-person interview where this might be more challenging.

6. Show that you have a notepad and are taking notes down related to the discussion happening in the interview
The practice of taking notes simply shows professionalism. Even if there’s nothing to really take notes about, write down certain things you are hearing from the interviewer. This oozes an organized person who is taking this opportunity seriously.

7. Check your audio quality in advance, use Apple headphones or other hardware which puts the microphone close to your mouth
Audio quality, including the volume, is very important. You want to sound clear. Check your microphone settings by going through a mock interview and video session. Headphones that work very well are very inexpensive, so there’s no excuse for poor audio quality.

8. Remember to smile and have eye contact, which in this situation is going to mean looking directly at your camera and not your computer monitor
In a video interview, it can feel as if you are watching a movie. And when you do that, you aren’t really thinking about your body language. So, keep it top of mind. Make sure you are smiling and looking directly into the camera, which for them, will look like eye contact. Its a common mistake to look directly at your monitor, which won’t look like eye contact to them. It will look as though you are looking down and not listening to what the interviewer is saying.

9. Do not conduct interviews on a laptop or mobile device like a cellphone
Probably goes without saying. But still, don’t do it. Laptops and mobile devices often times have different perspectives. Meaning, they are looking at you from below, which is not a natural appearance. Keep it on a desktop computer if you can.

10. Be sure to be mindful of your tone of voice, don’t interrupt the speaker but be sure you aren’t extremely quiet as well
Again, body language and the ability to read the room per se is often lost in a video interview. You need to be very mindful of the fact that you can’t really see everything that’s happening in the other person's room. For example, if they are being interrupted. So, you need to be mindful that the tone of your voice is engaging. And that you are also not interrupting them, which is more common to have happened over the phone than in person.

11. Dress well, present yourself as if you are in person
An easy one, but yes, the interviewer will be looking at what you are wearing not just what you are saying. So take the video interview really seriously. Put on clothes which make you look flattering. Don’t forget the bottom half of your body as well, because often times our video camera’s don’t show the full perspective for which the viewer can see. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Final notes on video interviews, skype interviews

Don't be discouraged when being asked to be part of a video interview. I would say it's becoming the main way for which interviews are being conducted inside large companies. Prepare yourself in advance and have confidence that anything that happens inside the interview is going to be a normal process. After your interview you should absolutely be thinking about how to write a thank you note to anyone that you spoke with. You may be expedited towards the next interview rounds. If you spoke with multiple people in the interview, then be sure you write a personal and well-written thank you note to every single person. This may not exactly increase your chances of landing the position but its the polite thing to do. Recognize that even if you are passed up on the position, it may not have any reflection on you and/or your experience. Sometimes there are factors which are fairly immeasurable. What you do not want to do is email the people who conducted the interview with you and ask why they passed you up for the position. This is not considered a professional act and would recommend that you do not do that. Keep your dignity and your candor by simply accepting the outcome. You will find a position that is right for you. Good luck with your future job search and video interview session!

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