Tips for Military Veterans: How to Navigate a Video Job Interview


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Saturday, December 12, 2020
Video Interview Tips from PipelineAZ and the Maricopa Community Colleges
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How to Command a Video Interview

Many aspects of the world look different after being impacted by the pandemic, including the details about how to join the workforce today.  Hiring companies have shifted their focus from in-person interviewing to hiring processes that are entirely virtual.

Interviews can be anxiety-inducing as is, but adding the technology variable into the equation might make them seem even scarier. We’re here to alleviate those fears by breaking down video interviews, and helping all the job-seekers out there become familiar with the process. 

How does a typical video interview occur? 
Every company is different, but you will usually be contacted directly by the recruiter or a human resource representative to schedule your interview time. This aspect of virtual interviews is actually relatively similar to a face-to-face interview. Once you decide on the time and date, the company will send along details about how to log into the interview. 

There are pros and cons to any interview style, including virtual interviews. Technology could fail, or distractions can occur while you’re in the interview. But on the upside, you can have notes in front of you - and to take notes much easier while you’re in the video interview. It’s more difficult to read reactions when you aren't face-to-face, but you may also find that it’s more relaxing to conduct an interview in a space you’ve deemed most comfortable. Despite a few of the cons, there are a number of steps you can take to set yourself up for success.

Video Interview Prep Essentials
Unlike a typical interview, you’ll need to have a computer or setup for a web camera (webcam). If your computer doesn’t have a webcam, most smartphones can be used. You’ll want to find a way to prop your device up, or have some type of tripod handy so that the video stays still. Once you secure the camera, there are a number of other checklist items you’ll want to address:

1. Practice with a friend or family member beforehand.
2. Check your internet connection, as well as your webcam and mic ahead of time.
3. Close all apps and other windows on your computer besides the one you will be using. Not only will this eliminate distractions, but it will also help your computer run more smoothly.
4. Set your phone to silent mode.
5. Have your notes ready. Even better, keep a copy of your resume handy.

Interview Locations
When interviewing from home, it’s important to find a quiet, private, and well-lit place that’s free of interruptions. You may be at home, but it’s still imperative to dress professionally and to “look the part.” 

Next, look behind you. By having a clean and uncluttered background, you show the interviewer that you care about this interview and took time to prepare for it. 

Remember, there are lots of versions of video interviews, so it’s possible that the interview could happen in the office of the employer, with the hiring manager located off-site. If you’re interviewing in-office, remember to dress appropriately, arrive early, and respect everyone you meet. Politely ask the person who set you up in the interview room to make sure everything is working before they leave, and know where to find them if anything should go wrong. 

Video Etiquette
Etiquette over video is equally as important as etiquette in-person. During a video interview, make sure you maintain good eye contact while talking (this means looking into the camera). Monitor your body language and don’t fidget. Keep your feet on the ground and your arms resting on the surface in front of you. At the end of a video interview, just as if it were in-person, thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity. Within 24 hours, follow up with a thank-you email. 

If Things Go Wrong
Of course, you hope things won’t go wrong during your video interview. That’s why you checked your equipment beforehand. But, given the nature of technology, there is always the possibility for a hiccup or two. 

At the beginning of the interview, ask the interviewer for a call-back number just in case technical difficulties should arise. Not only does this put your mind at ease, but it also shows the interviewer that you thought ahead. 

If outside noises are cause for interruption, simply ask for a moment to let the noises subside or mute yourself if someone else is talking. 

Outside intrusions (such as family members or pets entering the room) might happen, but interviewers understand that you’re human. All you have to do is apologize and ask for a moment. Mute your mic, shut off your camera, and deal with the situation. Before coming back to the interview, secure the room and you’ll be ready to go. 

A certain degree of nervousness is beneficial. Interviews are important, and it’s good that you think so. But there’s no need to harbor anxiety over the technical aspect of it all as long as you follow this guide, give yourself adequate time to prepare, and treat the process with respect.

Helping Arizona Military and Veteran Communities Succeed
Rio Salado College and the Maricopa Community Colleges are partnering with Pipeline AZ to provide customized support services to help active-duty military, veterans and their dependents transition back to civilian life. Pipeline AZ provides online assessments to connect Arizona job-seekers with employers and career opportunities, as well as education and training options.

Pipeline AZ has created a specialized site for Arizona military and veteran communities. To learn more about job opportunities, connecting with local employers and taking online assessments to help with your career search, please visit

This blog is the first in a series of features produced in partnership with the Maricopa Community Colleges and Pipeline AZ to help military and veteran communities transition back to civilian life, connect and succeed. Funding for this initiative is made possible in part by the Maricopa County Community Colleges Foundation

Contributed by Rio Salado College Workforce Development Supervisor for Military and Veteran Programs Jane E. Denton.