Video Chat Etiquette Tips
Face-to-face interviewing is currently not an option for most boarding school admissions panels across the country. For many students, the typical interview process has been replaced by an interview through a video screen, signaling a new shift in tradition for students and admissions officers alike.
This change comes with many positives. Video interviews provide a fantastic opportunity to stand out and showcase your digital savvy in an increasingly technological world. As you’ll learn, many of the same etiquette standards apply whether you’re interviewing in person or on a screen — with a few unique twists to keep in mind!
Prepare for success by following our proper video chat etiquette tips to wow any private college preparatory admissions panel.
5 Video Interview Tips for Success
Preparing for a boarding school interview through the screen may feel unexpected and even unnatural — but with a few video chat tips for students in mind, you will be ready to leave a lasting impression over Zoom. With the exception of demonstrating a strong handshake, you’ll find you can showcase many of the same skills whether you’re meeting in person or virtually.
Ready to impress? Try bringing these five tips to your next video interview.
1. Dress Professionally
Just because you’re attending the interview from the comfort of your own home doesn’t mean you should dress like it. Dress for success, just as you would with a formal in-person interview. Proper interview attire typically includes a collared shirt or blouse paired with formal pants or a skirt. Even if your lower body won’t appear on-screen, dressing professionally from top to bottom will help you feel more confident.
2. Double-Check Your Device and Settings
Technical difficulties happen to the best of us — and they often seem to happen at the worst possible moment. Plan ahead to mitigate the risk of any network or device issue getting in the way of your interview.
Double-check that your Wi-Fi is working and that your camera and audio are properly set up. You’ll also want to log in to your Zoom or Skype account ahead of time to avoid any last-minute delays. Run through basic features — like unmuting yourself and sharing your camera — before the call begins.
3. Follow Regular In-Person Interview Etiquette
Demonstrating proper etiquette on screen is similar to the standard in-person interview protocol. The old standbys of strong eye contact, engaging body language and positive smiles still ring true in a digital setting. Keep these video interview tips in mind:
· Look into your camera rather than watching yourself on screen. This focus will help you to establish eye contact with your interviewer and build a connection.
· Demonstrate active listening by nodding and smiling.
· If you experience any technical difficulties, such as garbled audio or a frozen screen, calmly apologize to your interviewer and ask them to repeat themselves.
· Wait for a brief second before responding to be sure that your interviewer has finished speaking and that it’s your turn to talk.
· Don’t sit too close or too far from the screen. Aim to have your head, shoulders and upper chest visible, with a bit of empty space showing above your head.
· Speak slowly and clearly. Strong articulation skills are valuable for any interview, but they're especially critical during a video call, where technical issues and lagging audio can make communication more challenging.
· Show up a few minutes early to allow yourself some extra time to handle any unexpected delays.
4. Limit Distractions
During a virtual interview, your location matters more than ever. Picking the right spot can mean the difference between a smooth interview and a distracting experience — for both you and your interviewer. Choose your video interview placement carefully, keeping these tips in mind:
· Eliminate noise: Find a quiet spot that isn’t likely to be interrupted, such as your bedroom desk or your home’s office. Keep your door closed and consider hanging a “do not disturb” sign outside.
· Check your background: Make sure your background is simple and clutter-free without any obvious distractions.
· Consider your lighting: Your interviewer won’t expect a Hollywood-level lighting setup, but you’ll want to make sure that you are well-lit on camera. Don’t sit directly in front of a natural light source, like a window, or you’ll be backlit and difficult to see. Pull up your computer’s camera for a quick view check before the interview begins.
· Silence alerts: Silence your phone and turn off any computer notifications before your interview starts.
We also recommend having a glass of water by your computer so you’re not distracted by a dry throat while you’re speaking. Pausing for a sip of water is also a natural way to take a few extra seconds and gather your thoughts before answering a question.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
A video interview is no excuse to let the prep work slide. Practice your interview ahead of time, just as you would with a regular in-person visit. This process should include having engaging personal anecdotes on hand, preparing your answers to common interview questions and having a few questions of your own in mind. Be sure to do some research on your school of choice ahead of time to avoid asking questions you could answer with a quick scan of their website.
You might find it helpful to take notes during the preparation stage, but avoid reading from your notes during the actual interview. Instead, answer confidently and clearly with your eyes looking directly into the camera. Remember, eye contact matters just as much, if not more, during a video interview than an in-person one!
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