12 Success Tips for your Video Call Job Interview

A successful job interview is probably the most important step towards getting the position you want.

During the coronavirus pandemic, most employers prefer an online job interview, even if you live in the same city.

During the video call, the employer will be able to discuss with you like they would during an in-person interview.

The key to a successful video call job interview is preparing yourself.

1. Choose the best device

Choose the best device you have access to (mobile, tablet, computer). It is very important for the employer to see and hear you clearly.

In every videoconference, the device should remain absolutely still (no movement at all). If you decide to do the online interview on your mobile, make sure it is stable and placed in front of you, at your eye level (or even a little higher, pointed slightly down toward your face for a more flattering angle).

It would be annoying to the employer if you held your cellphone, as it could shake.

Use a pile of books to keep your phone stable. This will keep your camera still and your hands free, so that you can move them while you speak.

You will use the front-facing camera.

Don’t forget: always keep your mobile at a distance from your face (never very close).

A desktop computer or a laptop with a good camera are safer choices, because phone connections can more easily drop the call and not have good reception.

2. Test the technology

The employer will inform you what service he/she is using (eg. Viber, WhatsApp). If you do not know how to use the specific service, download the app and sign up for an account.

Practice and make sure you know how to connect, adjust the volume, look good on camera, reconnect if necessary, etc.

Call a friend to help you through a test run, to make sure sound and video are working properly. Check your headphones or earbuds and keep a back-up pair near you. Prefer modest headphones/earbuds and avoid big gaming headsets.

You might want to put your phone on speaker for the interview. We strongly recommend you do not do it. Audio quality isn’t always the best on speakerphone.

Make sure that your internet connection supports high-quality live video at the room you will be when the online interview takes place.

On the day of your interview, test everything again.

Often, technology malfunctions at the most inconvenient times. Before the online interview, you could agree upon a backup plan. This could be rescheduling for a later time or transitioning to a phone call for the rest of the job interview.

3. Make sure the lighting is good

Getting the correct lighting for a video conference can make a difference.

Make sure it is not dark. There should not be any shadows on your face.

Remember that light must be shining on your face, not behind you.

Try to do the interview during the day. Natural, daylight is much better for video calls. If you are sitting next to a window, remember to face it. Never have the window at your back. Avoid light directly over your head (lights on the ceiling).

Another tip you could use is to put two lights in front of you (table lamps work fine) at a diagonal, one a bit to your right, and one a bit to your left.

Phone cameras can be tricky with lighting. Do a test with a friend with the same lighting you will have in the actual interview and at the same time the interview will take place (eg 10am or 5pm).

Make sure the phone is focused on your face. On many phones models, you can reset the focus by tapping the screen and the camera will adjust the lighting around you as well.

If you are doing the videoconference on your laptop, small led lights around the screen (like a frame) could provide you with flaterring lighting. Always do a test first.

4. Dress professionally

Your appearance is very important. Wear something clean and conservative.

Prefer solid colors (eg. a single-colored shirt). Never stripes or complex patterns. They don’t look good on a video-conference.

Being dressed for a job interview (even wearing the shoes you would wear in a face-to-face interview) has an important psychological effect on you. Also, you might need to stand up or walk away from the camera. Your clothes communicate your level of professionalism.

Make sure your hair looks nice. Discrete makeup is also important. Avoid big, flashy jewelry.

5. Eliminate Distractions

Make sure you are in a quiet location. On the day of the interview, close the windows and the door of the room, shut down the television or radio, put your cell phone on silent so your interview isn’t disturbed by calls, messages or notifications. On a computer, make sure the only window open on your screen is the video platform you are using.

Keep children and pets away for the room you will be in. Preferably, be alone in the house.

Show that you are taking the job interview seriously.

6. Choose a neutral background

The background during your video call is crucial. Avoid the bedroom, the kitchen or any other place in the house that might distract the employer or give information about you that he/she would not appreciate. Never have clutter, mess behind you.

If you cannot find the appropriate background, choose a blank wall (which is not the same color with your shirt and does not clash with it) and put a folding table in front of it. Always leave a distance from whatever is in your background (at least one meter).

7. Choose the right chair

Couches and big armchairs are not appropriate for a job interview. Avoid large chairs that would take up as much screen space as your face. Choose a low-backed chair, that does not make noises when you move.

8. Body language is important

Non-verbal communication in a video conference is really important. Remember to always sit up straight, smile and nod when the employer speaks, show your good manners. Obviously, there is no hand-shake at the end of the online interviews, so be prepared for a nice singing off like “Thank you for the interview. It was very nice meeting you.”

9. Look at the camera

Always look at the camera. Do not lose eye-contact at any point of the interview.

Do not let anyone else be in the room during the interview, because you might be looking at them and not straight at the camera, as you should. It might be obvious that you are staring elsewhere and that you are not focused on the employer.

You could practice with a friend and record the video conference to see for yourself how important is to keep eye-contact during the online job interview.

If you are using a computer, look at the camera, not the picture of the other person on the screen. Shrinking the size of the video conference app’s window, placing it very close to the webcam makes things much better.

Don’t forget that having the camera at eye-level gives you the opportunity to stare directly into it.

10. Be punctual

Agree beforehand who will make the call: the employer or you. If it is you, make sure you are ready earlier but don’t call early. Call exactly at the time of your appointment. Never be late.

If the employer is the one who is going to start the video call, a few minutes before, you could send a message like “Dear Madam, I am ready for the video call interview. Looking forward to meeting you at 5pm. Maria”.

11. Practice makes perfection

You could arrange a mock-interview (test call) with a friend or a relative, with prepared questions “from the employer” and record it.

Try to tell your story in the best possible way and then judge yourself. It is an excellent tool for you to check your strong points and the weaknesses that need improving before the real interview. Did you look confident? Did you describe your skills in the best possible way? Were the sound and camera OK? Did your clothes and makeup look as they should? How were your facial expressions? Was the lighting correct? Did you have any nervous tics on camera? Were you energetic enough? Did you show enthusiasm for the job?

Make sure you do not talk over the other person. Wait for your turn. Listen carefully to what the employer asks you and practice speaking slowly and clearly. Practice makes perfection.

Communicating confidently with the employer leaves a lasting positive impression. Even if you feel nervous, don’t show it. You can avoid interview anxiety by practicing your answers ahead of time.

12. Keep notes handy

You could stick post-it notes right behind the camera if you need some help for example with the questions you must ask the end of the interview, a check-list of what you want to be sure you don’t forget. Remember that your eyes should always stick to the camera, so any notes should not be placed at the right, left, above or underneath the camera, only right behind it.

Keep a notebook and a pen within reach.

Before you do the video call interview check that:

  • you use a good mobile or computer

  • everything works fine (the app, sound, the front camera)

  • your internet connection supports high-quality live video

  • the lighting is good, no shadows on your face, no darkness (prefer to do the interview with daylight)

  • you have the mobile steady (not moving) placed at a distance, never very close to your face

  • the room is quiet and you are alone in it (if you can be alone in the house)

  • you look at the camera all the time

  • the background is appropriate (what can be seen behind you is OK)

  • wear a modest, single-colored blouse or shirt or jacket and no big jewelry

  • your hair looks good

  • you sit up straight (as children are supposed to sit in a classroom)

  • practice with a friend or relative (see if something is wrong)

  • smile, nod when the employer speaks, show your good manners

  • you are not late for the video call

  • a few minutes before the employer calls, send a message like “Dear Madam, I am ready for the video call interview. Looking forward to meeting you at 5pm. Maria”


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