Boyden Executive Search

How to Ace the Video Interview

By Lindsay Bray Landsberg
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The global pandemic has up-ended how we connect and how we work. Working from home has become a new normal for now but may have lasting repercussions on how companies view the necessity of an office, in-person meetings or frequent business travel. A video interview may well become the new norm, if not used far more frequently. Nailing a video interview is likely to become another requirement for successful job seekers. Here's how:

Acknowledge the Situation. We're all adjusting to a weird new normal, working from our homes with family members and pets nearby. Of course, your interviewer would much rather meet you in person in their office environment but here's the bright side, your video interview can be an opportunity to connect a little more authentically, with grace and good humor. No doubt your interviewer's business has been radically affected by the global pandemic. Express your appreciation for the interview taking place, despite the chaos unfolding all around.

Practice the Technology. Make the time to have a video call with a tech-savvy friend (or teen in your world) ahead of time on the platform that you'll be using (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, FaceTime, etc.). If you are unfamiliar with the technology, fumbling with it 15 minutes before the video call is a rookie move. Select a place to have the video call where you'll be uninterrupted. Figure out the lighting and a background that appears professional. Be sure that your computer audio is working, maybe test headset alternatives. Make sure that if you have to accept a connection ahead of time (as with Skype) that you've done so and your user name sounds professional. Make sure your technology is charged up and that your Wi-Fi signal is strong. If all else fails, ensure you have the phone number of your interviewer on hand so that your interview can continue even if the video technology fails.

Dress and Act the Part. Do dress as you would for an in-person meeting. You'll want to appear as professional, serious and ready to get to work, even it's if from your basement. Dressing up beyond your normal WFH sweatpants will also shift your mindset to a more professional one, helping you turn up as your most successful self. Remember the differences between video and an in-person connection: maintain eye contact, no quick movements and pause your communication to allow for transmission delays.

Make a Friend First. As with any interview, you'll want to be friendly, relatable and establish rapport at the outset. Your goal is to come across as a potential colleague who would be fun to share an airplane ride with or be stuck with in a conference room, collaborating on a difficult project. Be yourself but look for common points of connection (mutual friends, experiences, academic background, interests).

Have Answers to These 3 Important Questions. Every candidate should be prepared with rock solid answers to the following:

Follow Up, Even if They Don't. Make sure to close the connection when you finish the call (no big sighs or off-camera reactions until the camera and audio are both logged off). After your interview is over, send a warm e-mail thank you within 24 hours. Express your enthusiasm for the company and the role and make sure to reference something from your conversation. If you are interviewing with multiple people, make each e-mail different (yes, colleagues compare thank you e-mails).

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