4 Ways to Project Confidence in Video Interviews

In the same way that in-person interviews were nerve wracking in the pre-pandemic era, remote work brings a new series of challenges that can make it difficult to project confidence in video interviews.

It’s been nearly 6 years since the last time I interviewed in-person for a role. It was intimidating going into Philly all dressed up in a neatly pressed suit carrying a leather folder with my resume stuffed inside. I had a neatly arranged list of notes and questions to bring up in the interview.

Despite all of that preparation, there is still an air of nervousness that surrounds an unfamiliar interaction like an interview scenario. Even at its most conversational, an interview feels like a high-pressure situation.

With a video interview, it can be even more awkward. How do you present yourself honestly and project confidence? How do you make yourself memorable, but make sure that memory is a good one? How do you prepare your environment? How do you dress? How do you maintain composure?

There are so many unknowns that I want to share some of the ways I better prepare myself to make a great impression.

Prepare Yourself and Create a Cheat Sheet

It seems obvious, but the easiest way to make yourself feel secure in an interview is to prepare more than you have to. With the rise of AI like ChatGPT and Google Gemini, this has become a bit easier, thankfully.

  • Research the company, the role, its history, and its place in the market. 
  • Copy and paste the job description into a tool and have it bullet out the key points and software requirements and give use cases for each. 
  • Write yourself a well-worded elevator pitch to explain your background and bookend it with your specific interest and skill set relative to the role.
  • Write 5-10 sample questions specific to the company that you’d like answered.
  • Write 5-10 example questions that the interviewer might ask you relative to the role and write some sample answers.

I put all of these notes into a Google Doc and save them in an archive on my Google Drive. This allows me to reuse notes files for similar roles or other roles within the same company.

Also, I always save a copy of the text from the job description within this archive as well in order to make sure there’s always a reference point if I’m offered an interview. Sometimes the job listings are taken down and it helps to have the backup.

These note files and archives are a valuable tool in the actual interview and serve as a a cheat sheet. Because I have multiple monitors, I always have these note files open on the screen directly in front of me. I move the meeting screen to the monitor on my right so that I’m staring directly at the notes page, but not breaking eye contact with my webcam.

If you don’t have multiple monitors, print out the notes files and fix them to the wall or monitor so that they’re visible during your interview.

Check your Tech

There are few scenes more awkward than when there’s a technical glitch in a video call. Everyone is scrambling and cursing under their breath and running around frantically trying to fix the issue. Don’t let this be you in an important interview.

I typically get set up 30 minutes before the interview and test out my audio and video. I join the video call 10 minutes before the start time.

Unfortunately, my headset automatically turns off with inactivity after 10 minutes, so I’m always paranoid it’s going to turn off at the worst possible time. To combat this, I usually play a YouTube video or a song on Spotify to keep the audio active leading up to the meeting.

Make sure to check the audio input and output devices on the video conferencing app (Teams, Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) and that they’re pointed to the correct ones for your system.

Some of the apps even allow you to do a test call / test recording to make sure your setup is working properly. I highly suggest this, if available.

If you’re someone who prefers not to use a headset, just make sure there’s no feedback or reverb. If the app doesn’t support a test call, you can always use a voice memo recorder on your operating system to see how you sound and how it sounds back on playback.

Make sure your camera is functioning and at a proper distance. You want your chest and up showing and centered in the frame.

Lastly, ensure you’re either hard wired to your router or in a spot of your home where the Wi-Fi is at its strongest. You don’t want to be one of those people lagging out mid-sentence.

Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Consider adopting relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle stretching before your interview. These practices can help calm your mind, reduce stress levels, and improve focus, making it easier to manage nervousness.

For me, I use the audio and YouTube videos I mentioned in the section above to help me relax. I listen to Lo-Fi hip hop beats or ASMR videos and let my mind slip into a state of calm before I jump on the call. It helps me quell any kind of intrusive thoughts and go into conversations centered and at peace.

Whatever method of relaxation works best for you is the one that you should use because relaxation is an individual need that takes a customized approach.

Dress Well and Optimize your Mise-en-scène

Just like an in-person interview, it’s important to dress well. This is relative to your industry and the role, but at the very least wear a collared shirt like a polo or button-down just to show that you care.

I don’t typically wear a full suit even to in-office meetings, but I always try to go that extra bit further to wear a collared shirt and slacks.

Also, consider the color of your outfit. Make sure it stands out from your background. Contrast is your friend.

Mise-en-scène can be described as everything you see in front of the camera. It includes lighting, decor, framing of subjects, color, etc. It completely influences the mood and ambiance projected for your audience.

It’s important to set the stage for your interviews by making sure the lighting is consistent, you’re not bathed in shadow, you’re centered in frame, and you’re close enough in the camera to feel like the person you’re talking to is in the same room.

This does not mean your backdrop has to be stuffy, though. If you’re self-conscious about where you’re interviewing from, feel free to use one of those background filters or blurs to make it a non-issue.

In my office, I like to give a little bit of personality because it works for the advertising/marketing and more creative career fields.

I have my SNES games, some posters, some toys, and some Philly sports stuff neatly arranged in a curio cabinet and on the wall behind me. These items often serve as conversation starters with interviewers and it makes me more memorable and personable. 

Do what works for you and your industry, though. What matters most is that you’re visible, audible, and well-groomed.

Always Project Confidence in Video Interviews

In the end, projecting confidence in video interviews is a blend of preparation, technical savvy, and personal presentation

Remember, the goal is to make a memorable impression that transcends the screen, ensuring you come across as prepared, confident, and genuinely engaged. As remote work becomes more prevalent, mastering these elements not only helps you succeed in interviews but also prepares you for the evolving landscape of professional interactions.