How To Interview Over Live Video

Here are some pitfalls to avoid on your next Zoom interview.

Who would have known it, but interviewing over a streaming video platform is a lot harder than it sounds, even if you don’t really have to wear pants. It might even be harder than the face to face, as some magazine people have been saying this week. There is a lot to recommend interviewing from home, but there is also a lot not to love. Interviewing over streaming video can be challenging, but if you avoid these common pitfalls you can leave the impression you’re confident and have it mastered.

Here are some solid tips.

It’s hard not to do this, but looking at your own picture profile every so often while you’re speaking or listening to your interviewer can make you look completely distracted and off in your own world; or like you might like looking more at yourself than you care about getting the job. The only fix to this is to concentrate on the video window and not the camera itself and pay attention to their words with subtle acknowledgement like a head nod.

You might think it’s better looking straight into the eye of your camera, as you might look into the eyes of a person; you might even imagine that by looking into the camera lens that you’re looking into the eyes of your interviewer. On the other side, however, you can come across as a mask of intensity, staring unblinkingly into the soul of the person on the other side. In other words, it can be creepy.

Blink as you would normally, and don’t squint for stuff in chat, or play with your phone while you’re interviewing. Try to keep your hands away from your face. In other words, try to look normal and engaged. And don’t forget to unmute yourself when you are talking!

And try not to talk over your interviewer. Give them a few seconds to stop talking before you interject with an answer or a comment, or you’re going to stumble through a very unsatisfying, and potentially annoying, interview.

Don’t use wacky backdrops for your video background. There are some good examples of hilarious backgrounds online, but yours shouldn’t be one of them. Keep it simple, keep it clean, make sure you’re well lit in the forground.

Wear pants. Yes you can blur your screen, and you can position your camera angle up enough that you can go in the buff below if it suits you, but remember the TV personality who did just that and thought he’d get away with it, until they removed the chyron and exposed the parts where his pants should have been.

Now you’re covered for your next live feed job interview.

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