Ask the Expert text
How To Win At Video Interviews
Illustration of Megan Wolleben
Illustration: Joel Kimmel

" "Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus forced most companies to operate remotely, many employers used videoconferencing to complete initial candidate screenings. Some even used Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts to conduct mid- to late-round interviews with applicants from around the world.

In her role at Bucknell’s Center for Career Advancement, Megan Wolleben helps students prepare for these remote interviews. Her advice can benefit any current or future job-seeker.

Question 1: How do you make sure your technology works?
Start by testing the interview software. Do you have the latest version, or does the program need an update? Then check your hardware, making sure your microphone, headphones and camera work flawlessly. Once everything is set up, try a test call with a friend.
Question 2: What should you wear?
Dress for a video interview the same way you’d dress for an in-person interview. Yes, that includes wearing dress pants or a dressy skirt. You never know if you might need to stand up. For your shirt or top, avoid busy patterns.
Question 3: Does it matter where you sit?
Think about your background, which should be clean and not distracting. Make sure your face is well lit and that there’s not a bright light behind you. Turn off the TV and music, and let your family members know you’ll need quiet.
Question 4: What should you do during the actual interview?
Nod your head, smile and demonstrate your enthusiasm about the position. Keep your focus on the screen, and look directly into the camera often. This might feel strange to you but will give the interviewer the impression of eye contact.
Question 5: Can interviewees use notes?
It’s OK to place some sticky notes around your screen, but don’t rely on a cheat sheet with full answers — it’ll be obvious you’re reading. Be ready to show examples of your work — either physical examples or by sharing your screen.