How to nail a video job interview

 So many things have changed during the current worldwide pandemic, including interviewing for a new job, often done via video these days. How can you put your best foot forward without setting foot in the office?

Whether you’re the interviewer looking for the ideal candidate or the interviewee looking for a new employer, there are definitely some things that you can do to "zoom" in the right impression.

1. Make sure that you download the app that you will be using well before the interview. Also, check to be sure the microphone and camera are working on your computer or phone.

2. Use a professional profile name, usually your name, if you are logging into Zoom. If you are using an older profile, you might have named it something cute or silly but should rethink it for a job interview.

3. Check out the background behind where you will be sitting. What kind of image are you trying to project? A well-stocked bookcase makes you look intelligent, but one stuffed with comic books or covered in dust and cobwebs does not.

A painting or poster is nice (make sure it’s something appropriate), but a dozen is not. If you don’t have an appropriate background, you can use a virtual one, just don’t use one that’s too busy or that will distract from the interview. Be sure the spot is well-lit so that you aren’t sitting in the dark.

4. Close all other programs running on your computer. Remember the professor who was teaching a virtual college class and had an inappropriate app open on his computer at the same time? Don’t be that guy!

5. Check the date and time, including the time zone, to be sure that you are ready.

6. Pick a quiet spot. Turn off the radio and the television. Close the windows to eliminate outside noise. Put a note on the door not to ring the bell if you have frequent visitors or door-to-door salespeople. In case of emergencies, hit mute!

7. Speaking of people, you’re going to need to make sure that the kids, your spouse, and other family members know you’re at an important video conference and are entertained in another room. Likewise with the dogs, who can be heard barking from several rooms away or even from outside. And while cats are quieter, they can insert their cuteness and personalities right into the middle of a conversation.

8. So, what should you wear? Even if you will only be shown from the neck up, resist the urge to wear pajama pants. What if you need to stand up for some reason? You will be exposed, quite literally. Pick out an outfit that you would wear to a job interview, make sure it’s clean and wrinkle-free. And wear all of it, even the pants!

9. While you would normally be early for a job interview, your potential employer or employee might be doing other video interviews and you could interrupt. Log in two to three minutes early.

10. Even though you’re at home, sit upright in your chair, don’t slouch. Though the person on the other end of the video call may only be able to see your head and shoulders, you will look better and more professional if you put your feet on the floor and sit upright.

11. Make eye contact, even if you aren’t in the same room. Look into the camera of the computer and speak clearly and not too quickly, just in case the video skips.

12. If you are doing the interview, you will know what you want to ask. If you are being interviewed, you will want to be prepared for basic questions. And you will want to have some questions of your own. Research the company and ask questions that show that you know about their company and are interested enough to study up before the interview.

13. One of the benefits of conducting a video interview is that you can have a cheat sheet of questions to ask or information that you want to be sure to provide. Just put it out of sight.

14. Practice the interview beforehand and record it so that you can see how you look.

15. Even in the 21st century, technology isn’t perfect and can fail at the most inopportune times. Be sure to have the phone number of the person on the other end of the video interview just in case your internet or computer (or theirs) conks out.

Remember the most important thing when interviewing is to show your interest in the position or employee and to present yourself or your company in the best light. Good luck!