Acing Your Video Interview

Dr. Jacquelyn Armitage
Vice President
The Registry


At The Registry, we are finding that Colleges and Universities are more frequently requesting a video interview, particularly in the early stages of choosing an interim leader.  For many of us, interviewing virtually may be new—not something we have done during our careers.  We hope to provide some important guidelines as you prepare for your video interview.

The first consideration is the technical set-up for a video-conference.  You will need a computer and a Webcam—an external device, if your computer or laptop does not have an integrated Webcam.  Fortunately, most computers/laptops on the market today come equipped with one. 

Other considerations when setting up include the following:

  • Use a WIFI connection only if you are positioned next to or very close to the server. It is advisable to use a network cable to connect, particularly if you are concerned about dropping the call, or have had issues while using WIFI.
  • Be sure to have good lighting—ideally two lamps (one on each side) positioned at the height of the Webcam. At a minimum, have a strong light positioned so that there is no reflection on the screen.
  • Check your background to ensure there is nothing distracting—a plain wall or a bookcase is optimal. Avoid mirrors and their reflection.

It is also important to:

  • Dress professionally for the interview: avoid bright whites or all-black outfits; soft colors or navy blue are best.
  • Find a private space for the videoconference: ensure that people or pets are not moving through the space. A closed door might be wise if you are not alone.
  • Position yourself correctly in front of the monitor: you will be most effective if you are fairly close to and directly aligned with the monitor, which will enable effective eye contact. If you are higher than the monitor, it will appear to others that you are constantly looking down.
  • Maintain a pleasant facial expression, smiling as appropriate. Appear confident as you respond to questions. Don’t fidget, play with your glasses or a pen, or sit with your face held in your hand. All of these will be exaggerated on screen!

Finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience. Whether in-person or on-screen, you have been chosen as a candidate on the strength of your expertise and experience. The institution believes, rightfully so, that you have much to offer!

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