Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for A Video Interview

Video interviews have become increasingly popular with employers and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a recent poll of U.S. employers found that 82 percent of respondents had adopted virtual interviews for candidates due to the pandemic, and nearly all—93 percent—expect to continue to do so in the future.  In addition, adoption of prerecorded video interviews, where candidates respond to questions on their own time and then submit their recorded answers, has accelerated over the past few years.

If you’ve received a request for a video interview, congratulations! To successfully secure your next career opportunity, here are four mistakes to avoid making:

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Location

Preparing for a virtual interview is already stressful, so take time to prepare your location in advance so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

You should have as much privacy as possible. Your backdrop should be uncluttered. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect, but you should make sure it’s professional. Ensure your interview space is well-lit and your background is free of distractions so the focus will be on you. If you need a private space, you can reserve a room at the Career Center that you can use for your video interview.

Mistake #2: Skipping a Tech Test

When you’ve worked hard on your resume you don’t want a preventable tech issue to let you down during your interview. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the video platform the employer has designated. You don’t want to be late because you had to unexpectedly initiate a software update or download.

In addition to testing your camera, mic, and audio, remember to check your internet bandwidth in advance of your interview.

Mistake #3: Choosing the Wrong Outfit

Making a strong first impression with your attire is just as important for a virtual interview as it would be for an in-person meeting.

Dress professionally from head to toe, even if you assume the interviewer will only see you from the waist up, dressing the part will help you to prepare mentally. Plus, you never know, you may have to suddenly move from your seat while the camera is on!

If you’re not sure what to wear, check out the employer’s website or social media accounts to get a general idea of their dress code. When it comes to deciding on your interview attire, if in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. So even if you think the company has a casual dress code, opt for business casual.

Mistake #4: Reading from a Script

During a virtual interview it might feel tempting to read your responses to questions directly off your resume, or from copy on your screen. Don’t do that, even if it’s a pre-recorded video interview.

Your interview is a valuable opportunity to make a connection with the person you are meeting with live, or the person who will be watching your video submission. While it’s recommended to have a copy of your resume nearby for quick reference if needed, don’t read from it while responding to questions.

Eye contact is essential during interviews and the best way to do that virtually is to look at your camera. Plus, if you’re reading your responses, it will be obvious, and your interviewer will assume you are unprepared. Look at the camera while talking and remember to smile.

If you’re worried about how to answer certain interview questions, or if you want to make sure you’re making eye contact, remember you can practice in advance by utilizing Big Interview to record yourself responding to prerecorded prompts. This will allow you to get an idea of how you appear on camera in an interview setting.

If you are considering the next steps for your career, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Career Center. You can schedule a virtual mock interview with one of our Career Advisors through Handshake or stop by during our drop-in hours at the USC Career Center (STU 110) to discuss any of your questions or concerns.

By Career Center
Career Center