Video interviews have been around for years but recent events have brought them front and centre. Thanks to COVID-19, more people than ever are having video interviews either as part of the application process or the entirety of it.
Like with in-person interviews, preparation is everything. You should prepare yourself, your tech and the room for the interview ahead of time. Then you have one less thing to worry about during the video interview itself.
We teamed up with Broadband Genie to write this guide to help you ace your next video interview. These tips can also elevate your video chat or streaming, too!
Preparing your equipment for your video interview
Interviews are stressful enough without having to contend with technical issues. Preparation is key here. In the same way you check your interview outfit before you walk in the door, prepare your equipment to make sure everything is where it should be and won’t let you down.
You will need:
- A device with a microphone and speaker.
- A broadband or 4G/5G connection.
- A quiet room where you don’t be disturbed.
You can use a laptop or desktop along with a webcam and speakers or you can use your phone. Whatever device you use, make sure the camera and microphone are of sufficient quality to ensure both audio and video are clear.
While an HD or 4K webcam might be nice, it isn’t mandatory. As long as the video and audio is of decent quality and shows you in good light, you’re ready to go.
You don’t need super-fast broadband for a video call. We would suggest alerting anyone else in your household so they don’t start downloading files during the interview though!
According to Zoom, a 1:1 video call only requires up to 600kbps connection. If you’re facing an interview panel, a group call requires up to 800 kbps. Other video apps have similar requirements.
These modest bandwidth demands mean you can use a 4G connection and still have a seamless interview as long as you’re in a good coverage area.
Where you have your video interview is also important. It should be quiet, offer uninterrupted privacy and have decent lighting. If your room doesn’t have good lighting, you can buy a range of low-cost lighting options designed for camera use.
Natural light is always best. If you have the flexibility, choose a room that faces south or has good natural light. If you don’t have that flexibility, look at some cheap lighting options.
Once you have everything you need, you should ensure everything works properly and that everything is ready to go.
If you’re using a laptop or phone for your interview, check the room, the lighting and your interview outfit. If you’re using a desktop with external microphone and webcam, make sure the application you’ll be using for your video interview is set up to use them as default.
Most invitations for video interviews will tell you in advance the platform they will use. Make sure you have a copy of the software or can access the platform well ahead of time. If you can, test the platform to make sure it can use your webcam and microphone.
Troubleshooting camera and microphone
If something goes wrong during preparation, or during the video interview, knowing what to do next is key.
Here are a couple of things to check.
If no video or audio appears in the video application – Check the video app is configured to use your webcam, microphone and speakers. Also, some laptops have a hotkey (typically an ‘FN’ key + F1-12 key) which can enable/disable the mic and webcam, so use that to make sure the hardware is not switched off.
If using a browser application and no video appears – Make sure you’re not using any ad blockers or autoplay video blockers in your browser.
If audio or video is choppy or broken – Make sure nobody is downloading files at the same time or that WiFi where you are is sufficient. If you’re practicing, you could also reboot your device to reload the drivers.
How to test your broadband connection
If you’re not sure how fast your broadband connection is, you can use a free online speed test to see how it’s performing.
Run the test ahead of time to make sure your connection is sufficient to run a successful video call.
Final tips for video interviews
Finally, there are some other simple things you can do to ensure you look your best when on video. Whether you’re simply chatting with friends or attending a video interview, these quick tips can help.
- Make sure you won’t be interrupted during the call
- Check that nobody will be downloading large files at the same time
- Check everything beforehand using Zoom Test Meeting or whatever platform is to be used.
- Dress and act the same as an in-person interview
- Place the app window close to the camera and remember to look at both
- Close all messaging apps and silence your phone
- Silence any audible alerts or computer reminders
A video interview is the same as an in-person interview. As long as you prepare your equipment beforehand, make sure you look your best and ensure you are as prepared as your gear, you should be fine!