Once a new and awkward experience, interacting and attempting to build relationships using video has quickly become an integral part of our world. Over 80% of business professionals report using video conferencing for 1:1 and team meetings.
To interview well, it’s not enough to show why you are qualified to do the job. You have to also make a genuine connection with the interviewer so they can imagine themselves working with you every day. You have to find a way to reduce the impact of distance and let your true personality shine through.
So before you head into your next video interview, here are the four things you need to do to capitalize on the unique advantages of video and ensure you’ll quickly build a strong and genuine connection.
1. Select a background that represents you
The background behind you has a significant impact on the visual experience of the interviewer and it weighs heavily on their first impression of you. Avoid having a messy environment or presenting other household items that make your surroundings look too casual, but don’t just have a blank wall either—that’s a lost opportunity. Take advantage of this chance to express something about your personality.
An office setting is ideal, perhaps featuring a bookcase, diplomas or plants. A tasteful painting or photo of a pleasant landscape can also add a nice touch. All of this will reinforce that you are taking the interaction seriously and presenting the best version of yourself and your surroundings.
2. Make space for hand gestures
Being able to effectively see a person’s body language and gestures has a large bearing on our ability to build a human connection. Video interviews can allow for this form of interaction, if you position the camera properly. Generally speaking, it’s best to set the camera at eye level and close enough to you that your face and upper torso fill the center part of the screen, leaving just enough perimeter space for hand gestures.
Don’t sit unnaturally frozen in front of the camera. Instead, incorporate all the usual body movements you would use when having a conversation in person.
3. Practice your posture and eye contact
Keep in mind that as a job candidate, many small visual cues such as your physical posture are contributing to how you are being assessed by the interviewer. Good posture conveys poise, proficiency and interest in the subject matter. Be sure to check your posture in a practice run and make adjustments prior to the live interview.
Additionally, there’s nothing more important than eye contact when it comes to showing confidence and trustworthiness while reinforcing a connection. It’s noticeable if you’re staring down or off to the side of your screen when you talk.
Maintain eye contact during the interview by looking directly at the camera, not at your notebook or screen. Look down briefly only when you need to and then reengage with the person in front of you.
4. Make it personal
Just like an in-person interview, a meeting conducted via video should not be a one-way, dry or boring conversation. Get to know your interviewer and make it enjoyable for you both.
When appropriate, likely at the very beginning or end of the interview, try to engage in small talk about the city they are located in or find other connection points. This is how a face-to-face interview would naturally flow and it’s important not to skip this step. The fond memory of a shared travel experience or bonding over a mutual hobby can make a lasting impression.
Make sure to actively converse with the interviewer throughout, starting with questions around their role in the company, the demands of the job and what it takes to be successful there. This will open up the virtual floor for a more authentic dialogue.
Prioritize investing the time to build a strong connection over video interviews and you’ll have a leg up over candidates. Video can indeed play in your favor.