Video job interviews can be challenging because you don’t have the same kind of information as you do in person to make connections, build rapport, and read people.
To help bridge the gap, here are several ways to be more likable and help make your video job interview go smoothly.
Strong First Impression
First, make a great first impression by dressing the way you would as if you were in person.
Not sure what to wear? Ask the interview coordinator what they suggest or go on the company website or its social media for clues. Once you find out what the employees wear on a typical day, take it up a notch. Then dress head to toe for the meeting, as though you were going into a building. This will help get you in the mindset. And who knows? If you had to jump up for a second and adjust something or close a door that cracked open, you don’t want your interviewer to see that you have pajama bottoms on the lower half.
When you come on screen, start out strong. Smile, make eye contact, and give a small wave. Say something like, “Good morning, I’m really happy to be here talking with you today.”
It might feel like an exaggeration, but when you are meeting somebody on video versus meeting them in person, they can’t feel the firmness of your handshake, they can’t see your micro-expressions, they can’t as easily observe your body language. So be a little bit exaggerated when you’re greeting them to show you’re energized and excited to be there.
Practice Positive Nonverbals
Make good eye contact, just as if you were in person. Train yourself to look at your laptop lens or your webcam lens versus the face on the screen. Put a Post-it Note on either side of the camera lens that says “Look here” so that you can make steady eye contact. It’s okay if you break that once in a while and you look at the people’s faces, but aim for looking directly at that lens.
Work hard to bring up your energy level. Move your laptop far enough away from you to show more of your torso so the video frame isn’t too tight, showing you only from the shoulders up or the chest up. This way, your interviewer can see you gesture. It’s a great visual aid to use your hands as you’re telling stories and helps add energy. If you’re enthusiastic about what you’re talking about, your interviewer will be more interested, too.
Next, show a sense of humor. Add some levity where you see an entry point for that. It’s easy to get really serious when we are interviewing, and yes, it’s a higher stakes conversation. But look for ways to show your sense of humor so that they can see that you would be someone who is going to be easy and nice to work with.
Say Their Name
Use the person’s name occasionally. This shows that you are making an effort and paying attention to them–that you’re interested in developing a relationship. People like to hear the sound of their own name. So look for ways to say their name a few times without overusing it.
Express Your Interest and Ask for the Job
Your interviewer can’t gauge your interest or excitement by osmosis–especially when you’re on video–so you need to be more literal than you normally would be in person. Your job is to leave no doubt in the interviewer’s mind about your interest level.
When the timing is right, say, out loud, that you’re excited about the position. And then ask for the job. “I’ve really enjoyed our conversation, and I look forward to progressing to the next step. I’d love to be your next VP of sales.”
By dressing the part, adding energy, practicing positive nonverbal communication, and working to build connections with your interviewers will help close the distance so you can excel in your next video job interview.