As you prepare for you upcoming video interview, you already have the basics well in hand. You know that you need to speak clearly, rehearse beforehand, and dress properly—even if your interviewers won't see you from the waist down. You also know that you'll need to make sure your camera and internet connection are working properly long before your session begins, so you have plenty of time to fix the glitches that can be addressed from your end. But you may not recognize these six critical moves that mean the difference between acing your session and falling flat. Keep them in mind, and you'll be more likely to impress your reviewers, even if they're hundreds of miles away.
Pause your speech.
The rhythms of a video chat and a face-face conversation are slightly different. So to avoid interrupting the interviewer, miscommunication, and excessive repetitions, pause slightly every time the conversation moves back and forth between you and the other party. A full two-to-three second pause will not seem as awkward as you might think, and it will keep the two of you from talking over each other.
Keep your non-verbal gestures engaged.
Most of us put our non-verbal body language into a kind of stasis when we start a video chat, partly because our viewers see so little of our bodies and posture. Try to avoid this. Even if you don't think your reviewers will see or notice most of your gestures, use them anyway. Body language is still important, and it comes through in ways that may not be obvious (for example, when you're talking on the phone, your listener can actually hear your smile.) Don't clench your hands together or lean in toward the screen and freeze in that orientation. Relax. Lean back in your chair when it feels natural to do so. Use your hands to make your points, whether your reviewers can see them or not. And try not to be mesmerized by your own image in the corner of the screen.
Watch out for distractions.
Arrange child and pet care before your session, and turn off all competing sounds in the room, including music, electronics, appliances, heater vents, and open windows that let in street sounds. While you're at it, turn off all the other apps and programs on your computer so they don't interfere with the speed and fluidity of your connection.
Set the stage.
Carefully review all the aspects of the room that will appear in the scene around you. If you can, allow your reviewers to see only you and a blank wall behind you. If you can't do that, keep the room neat and remove distracting wall art or knickknacks. Don't allow too much light to flood in behind you, or your interviewers will be speaking to your silhouette and won't see your face very clearly.
Have a back-up in mind.
If your connection fails or freezes, you lose the audio or video component, or you get booted out of the video conferencing software altogether, be ready to reach for an alternative. Have the employer's number on hand so you can pick up the phone and reach out and/or reschedule.
Respond to cues.
If your interviewers keep asking you to repeat yourself or politely urging you to speak up, do so. But also listen for the problems they don't mention directly. Dial in and read between the lines. If they lean closer to the screen or raise their voices, ask yourself why they might be doing this and make the adjustments that seem necessary. Don't let the format of the interview steal the spotlight from what you have to say. — Keep your video interview as smooth and seamless as an in-person meeting. And to land that face-to-face interview, make sure you submit an impeccable resume. Use the tools and templates on MyPerfectResume to help you on your way.