The Online Video Job Interview: Doing It Right!

Woman sitting at a desktop computer with webcam and two screens.You applied for a job and are anxiously waiting to hear back. So, what happens next? If you are fortunate enough to land an interview, odds are it might be in the form of an online video interview. Initially, online interviews were used by employers primarily for screening purposes. These sessions offered the company a chance to preview an applicant and decide whether to bring him or her in for a “real” face-to-face interview. Now, for a whole host of reasons, online videos are indeed real interviews. Today, many individuals go through the interview process completely online and are hired without ever having a traditional, in-person interview.

If you get the invitation, are you ready to participate in an online video interview? While communicating with friends and family via apps such as FaceTime may be no sweat, the thought of an online video job interview may be a bit intimidating. And, for good reason! After all, your career and potentially big dollars are on the line here!

Are Online Video Job Interviews Easier?

Sure seems like they should be. After all, you don’t have to deal with all the hassles usually associated with a physical interview such as traffic, parking, finding the right office, or maybe even flight schedules and hotels. But, in truth, you may have merely traded in those problems for potential new ones, perhaps of some which you may not have even thought about yet. Fortunately, we’ll be discussing those and help get you prepared.

However, before we discuss specifics regarding online interviews, it is important to note that everything you would normally do to prepare yourself for a traditional face-to-face interview also applies to online interviews.

You still need to:

  • Dress professionally and appropriately, just as if you were interviewing in person. However, a caveat regarding clothing will be discussed later.
  • Do your research so you have a basic knowledge of the company. This will help you develop intelligent questions.
  • Review the position description or posting again to gain a better understanding of the job and its duties. This may also lead to questions you will want to ask.
  • Try to anticipate some of the questions you may be asked and develop responses.
  • Repeatedly practice your responses to expected questions or topics so the words will come more easily. However, try to sound natural and not overly rehearsed.
  • Have your resume, cover letter, references, etc. handy in case you need them.
  • Be prepared for a skills test either before, during, or after the interview. Read about skills tests on a Career Lantern post here and listen to my podcast here.

Having briefly reviewed those usual tasks, let’s now address some of the challenges specifically associated with online job interviews. These will be broken down into four broad categories:

  • Location
  • Technology
  • Photographic Considerations
  • On-Camera Conduct

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Has COVID-19 Cost You Your Job? Now What?

Image of the COVID-19 virus from the CDC.

As the TV news reminds us daily, in addition to the tragic loss of life, tens of millions of jobs have been severely and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through no fault of their own, record numbers of workers have been laid off. Some layoffs will be temporary, while others are permanent as many companies are unsure whether they will ever reopen for business. In still other cases, scores of workers who may have escaped layoff have instead found themselves cut to part-time status, resulting in smaller paychecks and perhaps fewer benefits. Even many of the fortunate ones who can work online from home are being told they must take off several unpaid leave days in an effort to save their companies from financial ruin. Finally, self-employed individuals, including independent contractors and gig workers, have found themselves hit hard when ordered to cease their business operations.

Have You Been Impacted?

If so, you probably have lots of time on your hands right now. But, as you well know, this is no vacation. A big chunk of your time may be spent worrying, just trying to figure out how you will survive this crisis on a day to day basis. You may also find some of your time is occupied with self-reflection, wondering now if you were in the right job or career in the first place. What did you decide?

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