As I coach job candidates before their interviews, I observe a recurring pattern.
Very few candidates know how they look on camera when answering interview questions.
This may be the most important missing link when preparing for interviews. Remote interviews still dominate, and may continue to do so in this new world in spite of the concerns about AI and cheating.
If you are looking for a job now, practicing to look confident on camera is key to your success. Some people do not have a natural knack for it — there is work to be done there.
Let me share a simple (and free) way of closing this gap:
Record yourself answering questions in front of the camera, then assess the recording.
You will be amazed how much you can learn from this simple exercise:
- Check your posture and position.
- Assess the lighting and the quality of sound.
- See what your background looks like (shut that closet door please!)
- Listen to how you speak: assess the volume, the fluidity, and the speed.
- Detect filler words and unnecessary phrases.
- Watch for body language quirks.
- Consider whether your responses are clear and make sense.
- Assess the length of your answers: too long, too short, just right?
- Consider — as objectively as possible — whether you sound confident, knowledgeable and professional.
It’s not as hard as you think. Just imagine that you are interviewing someone else. Would you hire this person? Was everything going well until a certain moment?
What was it that suddenly made you cringe at your own words? Did you groan at some point?
If you did, it means you know what you need to work on. Write down the advice you would give yourself, then keep practicing and recording until you can get in the interview mode easier and maintain a professional demeanour fluently.
Practice telling stories — tweak them a little every time, since you will have to adapt your stories to different questions during real interviews.
Practice answering frequently asked interview questions, and prepare for a few behavioural questions, even though you can’t predict what you will get. The same work story can be used to answer more than one question. If you practice, it should not be hard to customize the answer to the question.
What tools can you use? Anything that records —a video recorder that came with your operating systems, any video-conferencing tool that let’s you make recordings, or any video editing software. It’s better not to use your phone as it is harder to get the positioning right, and you should always aim to use a larger device with a landscape-oriented screen for interviews. Practice on the same equipment you would use to attend the interviews.
If you feel stuck or unable to do this on your own, ask a friend or your partner to give you feedback.
If you prefer a self-paced structured approach, enroll in my video course Job Interview Clinic, and practice as much as you need.