The Basics

6 Do’s and Don’ts of Video Interviews

The hiring process is becoming more and more technologically advanced, and nowadays, it’s not uncommon to be part of a video interview instead of interviewing at an actual office, as it saves money, allows hiring managers to differentiate candidates more quickly, and allows companies to interview more people in a shorter amount of time.

A lot of questions come up when it comes to video interviews: What does one even look like, and how is it different from an in-person interview?

Lucky for you, recruiters at Aramark, a food service, facilities, and uniform services provider, are here to give you the lowdown on the do’s and don’ts of rocking any video interview you find yourself doing.

What’s a Video Interview?

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of video interviews, it’s important to understand the two types of video interviews you can encounter.

The first is a video conference, where you’ll have a live interview session with someone (or multiple people) from a company. The second is a pre-recorded online interview, where your responses will be recorded, and someone will review them later to decide whether or not to move you further in the hiring process.

Now onto the do’s and don’ts…

DO Research the Company Beforehand

Think a video interview means you can skip the preparation and google or look up something on the fly because you’re not in the room with your interviewer? Think again. You’re still seen by recruiters when you’re on the video call (they can even hear you typing!), and they’ll immediately know if you’re not paying attention or came to the interview unprepared.

Research everything you can about the opportunity before your interview, including the company, the position, the position’s responsibilities, and your potential boss(es) and/or co-workers.

DO Be Strategic About Where You Have Your Interview

You can’t hold your video interview anywhere; it actually takes a lot of planning to make sure that you’ve found the perfect place.

Find a private space where you can chat without distractions (for instance, if you’re on a campus, reserve a small study room in the library), and make sure the wall behind you is presentable with no objects, posters, or photos in the background. If there are people who could disturb you (like roommates playing loud music in your house), give them the heads up to keep it down.

Additionally, check your internet connection and ability to sign onto the platform where your interview will be hosted. The last thing you want to deal with is spotty wifi or a failed login while you’re trying to tell a recruiter why you want to work for his or her company.

DO Maintain Your Professionalism

Just because you’re not having your interview in a physical office space doesn’t mean you can slack on your professionalism.

Aramark’s recruiters have noticed that often students will start off speaking and acting professionally and will then start using slang and losing enthusiasm as the interview goes on. Regardless of the type of company you’re interviewing for, remember that you’re speaking to professionals, not friends.

And while you might be tempted, don’t just dress appropriately from the waist up. There’s a fair chance you may need to stand up or move, and you don’t want your interviewers to see your “Game of Thrones” pajama bottoms mixed with your best button-down shirt and blazer.

DON’T Read Off of Your Computer Screen

Because you’re in a video interview, you may think it’s okay to write out answers to potential interview questions or map out other responses on your screen for reference. Stay away from this!

Instead, it’s all about preparing and practicing your answers beforehand so that they sound natural when you’re in your interview. Work on responses to behavior-based questions (“Describe a time when…” or “What would you do in a situation where…”) instead of trying to guess what you’ll specifically be asked.

DON’T Be Afraid to Ask Your Interviewer to Repeat the Question

Didn’t understand what a recruiter just asked you? It’s okay to pause and ask, “Can you please repeat that?” Or, if you’re in a live video conference, ask the interviewer to rephrase or clarify the part of the question that’s confusing you. It’s better to ask than to not answer the question (or to answer the wrong question).

DON’T Forget to Be Personable

Two of the biggest things students forget to do during video interviews, according to Aramark’s recruiters? Smile and make eye contact. When you’re talking to a screen, it may be more difficult to pick up on social cues or think about your own. While you don’t have to be grinning from ear to ear and staring wide-eyed at the screen throughout the entire interview, you also don’t want to seem robotic.
Above all, let your personality shine throughout the interview, even if it’s not face-to-face.

Video interviews definitely don’t have to be intimidating or scary. Just like any other interview, come in prepared, look polished, and act professionally. There’s no way a recruiter will be able to say no.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be a Team Player and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?