5 Tips for Video Interviews

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

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By Ed Rogan, Valtas Group

I have made a number of observations about the candidates that I have interviewed and I will be sharing a few tips to help candidates present themselves most effectively in video-based interviews.

Tip #1: Setting. Take the time to create a comfortable space for yourself. Take special care to ensure that the background is neat tidy and relatively clutter free. Do not let what is behind you distract your interviewer from you, the main feature. I do not recommend using virtual backgrounds unless it is absolutely necessary. I know sometimes it is, but with virtual backgrounds, I have found that the person in front of the virtual background fades in and out of it as they move forward and back. You should avoid that if you can.

Tip #2: As you are considering the location that you will be using, incorporate a table or desk for you to sit at like I am doing now. This will help you duplicate the feeling that you are actually sitting at a table or desk in the same room as your interviewer. This will also help with your posture and allow you to physically lean in to enhance the perception of engagement with your interviewer. I have seen too many people sitting in large comfy chairs or on sofas leaning back and appearing too casual or informal… so sit up and lean in!

Tip #3: Camera placement, lighting, and sound are also very important. There is a ton of great information out there about camera placement and lighting, so I am not going to recreate that content here. I would encourage you to do some research on camera placement and lighting and then do some experimental video shoots to see how it looks. Many MAC and PC based computers and laptops come with camera or photo booth apps and I have used them to do sample shoots and make adjustments. You may have one of these apps already as well, so use it.

As for sound, again, most computers and laptops come with built-in microphones, but they can make you sound distant and pick up on the ambient sounds and reverb of the room that you are in. I would recommend using an off-board microphone. There are a great many low-cost options for USB plug and play microphones on the market today. For example, when I use my headset, I put the microphone just below my chin to avoid popping sounds. There are also lapel or lavalier microphones which you simply clip onto your lapel and your listener will swear that you are in the same room with them. Finally, there are desktop microphones which you can set on the desk in front of you off camera and sound like a pro.

Tip #4: Eliminate or mitigate distractions. There will always be things that pop up you just can't avoid. We all understand that. I have had any number of things happen outside my home office during interviews. Emergency vehicles going by, neighbors using leaf blowers or hedge trimmers, unexpected people ringing the doorbell, or kids or spouse walking into the room. There is not much you can do about those things, but you should take the time to make sure you will not be interrupted. Your little pug puppy may be irresistibly cute and your four-year-old may wander into your office to see what you are doing. Sure, it is precious, but they also prevent you from being as focused and present as you should be during an interview.

Tip #5: Attire. Dress for a job interview. While you do not necessarily need to go all the way to suit and tie, or its gender equivalent for you, I would suggest that you dress at least one level up from your typical office attire. You are the one being considered for the job. Show your interviewer that you care enough to dress for the opportunity.

See the video on this topic which appears on the Valtas Group website.

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