After hours of perfecting your resume and applying for positions in your field, you’ve finally secured an interview. To your surprise, though, it’s not an in-person meeting. Instead, you’ll be interviewing via video.
Today, many organizations rely on video technology to make the interview process more efficient. For example, video interviews allow hiring managers to schedule meetings with candidates around the world. They save on travel time and costs to and from the company’s office.
If you’ve never had a video interview before, it’s reassuring that it resembles an in-person interview in many ways. For example, body language is important. But you also need to be aware of your surrounding environment.
Here are nine questions to ask yourself before the interview:
1. “Will my interview be with a person?”
Don’t be surprised if you start the interview expecting to talk with another person and instead are asked a series of pre-determined questions from a computer. If a computer is interviewing you, the company will usually give you a few minutes to record your answers to the questions on video. If you don’t know whether a person or computer will be on the other end of the line, prepare yourself for both possibilities.
2. “Am I set up somewhere appropriate?"
You need to put some thought into your setup for the interview. For example, consider the device you plan to use for the interview. A laptop is typically better than your smartphone. If you don’t have a laptop, consider using a computer at a library.
Location matters, too. Placing your laptop in front of the couch, for example, will create an awkward angle and you’ll be more likely to slouch while talking. The most ideal spot would be at a desk if you have one, but a kitchen table with a plain wall behind you is fine as well. Your interview space should be clean and work appropriate.
3. “Do I need to do a test run first?”
It’s important to familiarize yourself with your web camera if you don’t use it frequently. Do a test run with a family member or friend to make sure that they can see and hear you clearly. You could even ask a friend to rehearse the interview with you, so you feel more comfortable and confident on camera. On the day of the interview, it’s important to set up early. Check your internet connection, tidy up your space, and log on to the meeting a few minutes before it is set to start.
4. “Am I dressed for the role I’m interviewing for?”
A video interview means you absolutely must dress your best. First impressions are important in an interview, and your clothes are the first thing a prospective employer will take note of. Dressing too causally will reflect poorly on you and your preparation.
If you’re not sure what to wear, think about how you would dress for an in-person interview. For men, this often means a collared shirt and tie; for women, a blouse or dress.
5. “Am I the only one in my interview space?”
Keep in mind that your interviewer will be able to see and hear anyone within range of your interview space. Having others in the room during your interview is a huge distraction and demonstrates a lack of planning on your behalf.
To avoid noisy interruptions, consider reserving a study room at your library or closing the door to your room or home office. If you live with family members or roommates, speak to everyone beforehand and ask them to be quiet during your interview. Additionally, make sure to keep your pets somewhere they won’t bother you.
Even if you mentioned it a few days prior, it’s a great idea to remind everyone in your house that your interview is about to start. Just be polite and ask for some silence until the interview is over; they’ll understand.
6. “Am I well-versed in what the position requires?”
You should prepare for a video interview as you would any other interview. Make sure you have a good understanding of the position for which you are applying.
You should also research the company and familiarize yourself with its mission statement. Consider how you can connect your values and experience to the goals of the company. This kind of big-picture thinking is a great way to demonstrate the value you could bring to the organization and can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates.
7. “Am I familiar with my own resume?”
You should be ready to discuss how your education, experience and skills make you a good fit for the role. It’s not a bad thing to have your resume on hand for reference, but shuffling papers and continuously looking down can be distracting.
Instead, study as much as you can beforehand so that you can refer back to your work history quickly. Do some research on common interview questions, and prepare a few examples that highlight the skills and accomplishments on your resume.
If you still need your resume as a reference, tape it to the wall behind your computer screen. That way, you can steal a few subtle glances if you’re drawing a blank.
8. “Why should they hire me?”
You can almost certainly expect this question to come up in your interview, so it’s a good idea to rehearse your answer ahead of time. What can you offer your employer that others cannot? What makes you different?
This question is an opportunity to bring your strengths back into the discussion and re-establish how your experience has prepared you for the role in question. Stay focused on communicating the value you could bring to the organization and why you are the best candidate for the position.
9. “What questions will I have for them?”
Last but not least, make sure you have a few questions for the interviewer. Write down any questions that come to mind as you research the position and company. For example, you could ask “What are your expectations for this position in the first six months?” or "How would you describe the company's culture?"
By asking questions, you’ll not only gain a better understanding of your potential role, but you’ll also impress your interviewer by showing a higher level of interest in the position.
Our final piece of advice: Don’t stress out! Use these questions to help you prepare, and remember to be yourself. You’re going to do a great job!