Tips for video interviews

Just as for an in-person interview, the key to your success will be in your preparation.

Woman at computer

Getting ready for an interview is a crucial part of the process of getting a job. There are many ways to prepare for this important interaction, including thinking about what you will wear, researching the organization, practicing your answers and preparing some questions for your interviewers. In addition, if you are asked for a video interview, there are a few other things to think about. Michigan 4-H has compiled a list of things to consider as you prepare for a video interview.

  • Prepare in advance. You will have already sent in your resume, portfolio or project materials; you may want to double check they were received. Make sure you have copies of everything for yourself as well to have in front of you during the video interview.
  • Check your connections. Check all equipment and lighting ahead of time. Think about the time of day of the interview; windows or reflections may mean you need to make some adjustments. Try out your connections with a friend to make sure everything works, including your microphone and speakers.
  • Have a plain background. When you are checking your connections and lighting, make sure you know what is in your background. Minimize as much as possible. Choose an area with as little as possible behind you for the least amount of distraction.
  • Minimize distractions. In an in-person interview, you would make sure to silence your cell phone and refrain from wearing dangly earrings or strong cologne. On a video interview, you will also want to make sure to silence desktop notifications as well as background noise. Plan ahead for other people, dogs or any other possible interruptions and try to be in a quiet, private space, if possible.
  • Make eye contact. This is the same advice as for an in-person interview, but it may be trickier on camera. Practice with a friend or family member ahead of time so you know where you need to look (into the camera, not at the screen).
  • Have a Plan B. Technology always has a way of hitting a glitch even if you’ve tested everything. Be prepared to offer another solution, whether that may be another platform, connecting with a different device or using a phone instead. Try to be calm and composed during these challenges as your response to the issue also shares information to the interviewers.

Everything that applies for an in-person interview is still important to remember for a video interview. You still want to dress professionally, practice ahead of time, research the organization you will be interviewing with and prepare some questions to ask the interviewers. Also, think about sending a thank-you note after the experience. You may notice video interviews are becoming more common due to their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Set yourself apart from the crowd by being prepared and confident.

As a part of our work, Michigan State University Extension provides career education programming. To learn more about the positive impact of MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Employment.” For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, contact 4-HCareerPrep@anr.msu.edu.


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