Since the Coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing shutdowns, we’ve been using video to communicate more than ever. Businesses are conducting all their meetings by Zoom, doctors and therapists are meeting patients and clients over Zoom – even court sessions and congressional hearings are using Zoom for the bulk of their work. And sweeping movements for social justice have taken place largely through the sharing of video clips on social media.
If you’re applying for new jobs this year, you’re well aware of the outsized role of video communication in 2020’s hiring process. Nearly all interviews are conducted over Zoom or similar video conferencing programs, and some interview processes even ask that candidates record their own responses to questions in video form. Every video interview format is different, but there are several things to keep in mind when preparing for whatever is on your job search horizon. Here’s what you should know:
- Use a professional background
- For recorded interviews, put the questions on screen
- Keep any notes near your camera
- Add subtitles to interview recordings
- Test out your tech
1. Use a professional background
This applies to live video-conferencing interviews and pre-recorded interview videos alike: make sure your background isn’t distracting from your interview. You want to look as good as possible in front of the camera, so you should want your background to be as presentable as possible, too. Hopefully, this is fairly easy: find a clean spot in your living area, declutter everything that’s visible behind you, and try to locate a backdrop that is visually appealing, but not overwhelming.
But sometimes, finding the perfect backdrop just isn’t possible. Luckily, if your interview is being conducted over Zoom, you can use a virtual background for your meeting. Just find a virtual background image that works for you, add it to your virtual backgrounds in your Zoom settings, and voila! You’re conducting your interview in front of anything from a pristine bookshelf to a clean office space. Check out these resources for downloading and using Zoom backgrounds for any purpose.
2. For recorded interviews, put the questions on screen
If you’re pre-recording your interview, there are tons of creative ways to make yourself stand out above the crowd. The best things you can do when recording a video interview is to make it easier for your interviewer to follow along and evaluate your responses. Putting the question you’re answering on the screen when you respond, for example, is a great way to make your video as clear as possible for your interviewer to follow.
Using an online multimedia video editor like Kapwing, you can add your questions in custom text while working on any device. Just upload your recorded interview video to the Kapwing Studio, click “Text” to add a text box for each question, and use the Timeline to make the questions line up with your answers in the video.
3. Keep any notes near your camera
If you want to be optimally prepared for a live video interview, you probably want to put some notes together. You can detail your job experiences, formulate phrases that best explain your skills, or write summaries of potential responses to the questions you expect to hear, all by creating a few notecards that you keep on hand during your interview.
Being able to consult your notes during a live interview is a huge benefit to conducting your interviews virtually, but there are several things to avoid. First, you shouldn’t read directly from your notes – think of them as minor ways to organize your thoughts, rather than scripts for your answers. Second, you should keep your notes as physically close to your camera as possible. Your answers won’t look nearly as confident and professional if your eyes are moving far away from the camera, even if you only consult your notes briefly.
4. Add subtitles to interview recordings
As everything increasingly becomes digital, accessibility will be more and more important. Some methods of increasing the accessibility of web content, like live captions or text-to-speech automation, are difficult to use unless you have specific resources. But others, like adding subtitles to videos with speech, are available to everybody.
Using Kapwing, you can add subtitles with custom font, color, positioning, and size to any video. Just upload your video to the Kapwing Studio, click “Subtitles” to create your captions, and either enter them yourself or let AI do the work with the Auto-Subtitler. Make any other edits your video interview recording needs, and export your interview to send to your potential employer across any platform.
5. Test out your tech
If you’re preparing for a live interview over Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or similar video conferencing apps, the last thing you want to happen is for your internet connection or computer to interfere. There's no surefire way to make sure technical issues don't occur, but if you test out everything you're using before you start the interview, you'll feel a lot more secure.
Most testing procedures are pretty straightforward: have someone start a video meeting with you on whatever platform your interview is using. Always use the internet source that you'll be using in the actual interview and, ideally, don't use the same internet source as the other person. Ask your friend to monitor your video quality, audio quality, volume level, and any possible connection problems. If your video input & output, audio input & output, internet source, and environment are all the same as they will be during the actual interview, you should get a good idea of what your interviewer will experience on their end.
Video interviews can be even more nerve-wracking than live interviews, so I hope these tips help quell some of your anxiety. For more content, tips, and updates, subscribe to Kapwing App on YouTube or follow us on Twitter @KapwingApp. And if you need any more information on professional digital communication, especially over Zoom, check out these related articles: