Career Advice 101: How to Nail a Video Interview

By Lisa Hannam

Date February 24, 2017

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The good news: You landed a first interview. The bad news: It’s a video interview, and you’re camera shy. Sometimes the interview isn’t even with a real person, and instead you record your answers to a series of pop-up questions. Skype and video interviews, on the other hand, usually last about 15 to 30 minutes. Despite the fact that video conferences don’t offer skin-mattifying Snapchat filters or Facetune tools, the digital round isn’t as scary as you might think. It’s actually a productive way to meet candidates, says Danielle Weinblatt, co-founder of Take The Interview, which conducts about 200,000 video interviews a year for companies like gilt.com. So, forget about comparing yourself on camera to King Kylie’s blurred selfies, and strategize your way to your best first impression.

Don’t stress

Ignore the camera rules—you know, the ones that tell you to wear black to look slim or that you need HD makeup to look flawless. “I don’t believe in altering your look to be on camera,” says Weinblatt, adding that it could counter your efforts to look professional. Dress the part, she says, by wearing clothes you would wear to that job. Interviewing for a gig in the fashion industry? Step it up. Your OOTD is your portfolio.

Don’t worry about making eye contact with the camera

“That’s not a big deal,” says Weinblatt. “It’s more about the content of your video than whether you’re looking into the camera.” But reading off notes or cue cards is distracting, she says, so prepare your answers ahead of time. Set up your computer’s or phone’s camera at eye level to avoid a double chin and a look up your nose.

Be yourself

You might think that you’ve got to have a super-bubbly personality for a job in sales or PR. Though this might be true, you want a work environment that you’ll naturally fit. If you have a chill personality, that’s fine. If you have high energy, that’s good, too. “If you try to be someone you’re not, you will end up very unhappy at that job if you get it,” she says.

Set yourself up in a place that looks profesh

“Be mindful of your surroundings and who could potentially interrupt,” says Weinblatt. Make sure the room and your face is well lit—you could face a window or use a Lumee on your phone. And if you do have things in the background, why not make your environment part of your application if it fits? This could be art, plants, etc.

Test drive your interview

You wouldn’t buy a body-con dress without trying it on, so do the same with your video interview and do a trial run. You’ll see how you appear on camera and identify any technical glitches. “Make sure that your microphone is working and that the video is clear,” says Weinblatt. “Record and play it back to see what your bandwidth is.”

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