Video interviews are a crucial part of an independent professional’s career. Once you’ve worked to identify clients in need of your services, it’s time to begin interviewing so you can start building your project pipeline.
However, client interviews can be nerve-wracking—even for the most confident people. Trying to establish a rapport with the potential client, while navigating video conferencing tools and potential internet issues can feel especially daunting.
To help you rein in the overwhelming feelings, we’ve put together some tips for video interviews to help you make a good first impression. Below you’ll find advice to guide you through the entire interview process—before, during, and after.
Video Interview Tips: Before the Call
Just like you would for an in-person interview, you need to do your due diligence and prepare for a video interview.
1. Test your internet
Make sure your WiFi is solid before your interview. If your connection is prone to dropping out, consider connecting directly with an ethernet cable. You may also like to consider a backup internet option such as tethering your phone to your laptop.
2. Master the tools
It seems trivial but test out any tools or software that will power your interview. Whether it’s Zoom, Google Meet, or anything else—make sure you are very comfortable with it. Check if you need to set up an account or download any additional software. Also test out your audio, microphone, and video settings. Practice muting/unmuting yourself and sharing your screen.
3. Research the company
Read up everything you can to ensure you’re familiar with the company’s products and services. Browse through any information on company values and culture. Research the industry and competitors as well. Check out social media and any media mentions to see what the company has been up to recently. This will give you a feel for the client and will also help you prepare questions in the next step.
4. Prepare questions (and answers)
Your research will help you prepare relevant questions you can use during the interview to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework ahead of time. Based on the project details and your experience on previous projects—try to really think about what the client’s pain points may be and what they really need. Spending some time on these details can also help you predict and prepare for questions you’re likely to face during the interview.
5. Set the stage
To truly get a feel for your upcoming video conference, it’s best to set yourself exactly as you would on the interview day—and do a practice call. Decide where you’re going to set and think about camera angles. Be mindful of your backdrop to ensure it presents a professional image free of visual distractions. To look your best, make sure you have light in front of you—either natural light from a window or a lamp placed in front of you.
6. Find a quiet place
Background noise can be distracting during a client interview—for you and the client. Pick a quiet place where you can conduct the interview without interruption. If you live with family or roommates, give them a heads up so they know to keep their voices down while you’re on your call.
7. Turn off notifications
Eliminating distractions also include the distractions that pop up on your computer—notifications. Switch off anything that pings, jingles, pops up, and can be distracting during your interview. If you plan to have your phone nearby during the call—consider turning off notifications on your phone as well.
8. Dress professionally
Clothes can affect your mindset and confidence. Our advice is to choose an outfit you would wear to an in-person interview. Even if it’s business on top and pajamas on the bottom—keep it simple and professional.
Video Interview Tips: During the Call
The day is here! You’ve researched, you’ve prepped, and you’re all set up and ready to go. The next set of video interview tips are to help you feel confident on the day of.
9. Don’t be late
It goes without saying, but don’t be late for your interview. In fact, our tip for a video interview is that it’s best to log in a few minutes early to make sure you can set up your camera and microphone before connecting. It also helps you go into the interview feeling calm and ready.
10. Try a digital handshake
Be prepared with what you’re going to say as you first join the call and introduce yourself. Start off with a smile and a “hello” to act as your digital handshake. There is always a short period of small talk before the actual interview begins. Have an opener to build a bridge with the client—perhaps a shared connection or a detail about the company that you found compelling while researching the company and client. Be friendly and try to establish a connection before you get started.
11. Be enthusiastic
Enthusiasm and energy are hugely important for video calls. Show that you are excited about the project and ready to get the work done. Not everyone is comfortable operating in selling mode, and that’s okay. You can still state your enthusiasm for the project directly.
12. Be mindful of body language
It’s harder to read nonverbal cues over a video call but body language is still an important part of the interview process. Try not to slump into your seat and maintain good posture by sitting up straight. Show you’re engaged in the conversation by smiling and nodding while someone else is talking. Try to maintain eye contact by looking directly at the camera.
13. Listen and respond
Approach the call as you would an initial work session, rather than a traditional interview for a full-time employment role. As you speak with the client, listen for deliverables and due dates, and be prepared to discuss how you would approach the project based on the information you receive.
14. Be time aware
Use your time wisely. Client interviews with independent talent are not like those for permanent employment roles. They tend to move much quicker, and you won’t have multiple rounds of comprehensive interviews. Know the key points you want to convey ahead of time, so you can match the client’s pace but still ensure you get across all of the details that make you a perfect fit for the project.
15. Get straight to the point
Answer the question directly first, then you can elaborate if needed—but be sure to stay focused on the topic at hand. Weave your relevant experience into your responses. For example, you could say something like “Here’s what I saw when I performed similar work for a prior client. Are you facing the same issue?”
16. Treat it like a conversation
Don’t worry so much about how to be successful in a video interview that you forget to show your human side. Treat the interview like a conversation. This is key if you want to create a connection with the potential client. Answering questions is important but don’t be robotic about it. Be personable and be yourself. Comment on their responses if needed or ask questions in return. Sprinkle relevant small talk and maybe even a touch of (work-appropriate) humor if relevant.
Video Interview Tips: After the Call
The hard part is done! Now what? Our most important post-video interview tip is follow-up. This shows your enthusiasm and you continue to make a good impression even after the interview is over.
17. Say thank you
Even if it is a video interview, saying thank you matters. Send a short thank you email to the interviewer to thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Reiterate your interest in the project and working with the client.
18. Follow up
If you haven’t heard back from the client after 5-7 days, don’t be afraid to follow up. Just a short friendly email to enquire about any updates they may have. Be friendly and don’t overwrite it. Keep your message short and focused on following up on the project.
Interviews are a critical step to help clients choose the right people for their projects. These video interview tips will help you prepare, get confident, and be camera-ready for your upcoming chat.
If you’re looking to create more control over the work you do, and who you work with, become an independent consultant with Business Talent Group. We are dedicated to connecting our community of independent talent with exciting project opportunities at the world’s best companies.
Whether it’s finding the best talent match for a project or helpful interview advice—the BTG team supports both our talent and clients for success, from project inception to completion.