Hiring managers may still meet applicants for face-to-face interviews, but there’s been a significant increase in companies opting to conduct video interviews, particularly in place of a phone screen. Video interviews—unlike phone interviews—give applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their enthusiasm and passion for a role and exude their personality through nonverbal communication or mannerisms. For example, nodding along or smiling in agreement with employers are behaviors that would be impossible to gauge over the phone.

Never experienced the thrill of a Skype interview? Here is a breakdown of the differences and similarities of video interviews and face-to-face interactions, as well as some tips on how to be successful.

What’s so different between face-to-face & video interviews?

The most obvious difference between video and face-to-face interviews is the use of a webcam. But, preparing for video interviews means more than just making sure your computer has a strong connection. You need to be aware of your surroundings and ensure that you remain the focus of the interview while keeping potential distractions to a minimum.

Distractions can take a variety of forms, from a roommate or pet walking around in the background to unprofessional or inappropriate wall art. Many of these distractions can be easily avoided (such as asking a roommate for privacy, keeping a pet in another room, or removing posters from the wall) while others may be out of your control (such as a car alarm that goes off in the street). If you aren’t comfortable conducting a video interview at home, identify friends or family who may have a more private space that you can borrow for the duration of your interview. Better yet, you can utilize one of the interview suites near the Loop Career Center, which provides a private office with minimal distractions. We’ll even set you up with a webcam if you don’t have one available to you. Just contact our Employer Relations department at recruitstudents@depaul.edu to check on space and webcam availability prior to your interview.

On the day of your interview, give yourself time beforehand to get your computer settings just right. This should include positioning the webcam at eye-level, and with enough space between you and the camera so that you aren’t too close or too far away from the screen. You should also find a setting that allows for picture-in-picture support, meaning that you can both see the employer who is interviewing you as well as keep an eye on how you are appearing to the employer. Finally, remember to look directly into the camera when answering interview questions; this will give the impression that you are making direct eye contact with the hiring manager.

What are the similarities?

Many tips that apply to face-to-face interviews are still important for video interviews. A big one is how you’re dressed; some people think they can dress more casually if they’re Skyping from home, or that they only need to wear professional attire from the waist up. In the case of the latter, imagine standing up at the end of the interview, forgetting the other half of you is sporting Star Wars pajama bottoms. You don’t want to nail the interview and have your—although very comfy—pajamas ruin it for you. Dressing professionally from head-to-toe will highlight your professionalism and can impact how you present yourself to employers; if you’re dressed more casually, you may revert to a more casual demeanor in the interview.

Similarly, many behaviors that would be considered inappropriate during a face-to-face interview should also be avoided during video interviews. While this may sound like common sense, the majority of stories we hear about applicants who are unsuccessful during video interviews tend to fall in this category. For example, an employer was put-off by an applicant who was chewing gum during her video interview. Another employer noted that the applicant was drinking coffee from a large mug, something that would be perfectly fine when Skyping with friends and family, but can seem too casual for formal interviews. To put it simply, if it’s something you wouldn’t do in a face-to-face interview, you shouldn’t be doing it in a video interview.

When it comes to the types of questions you will be asked, the good news is that this will be exactly the same as face-to-face interviews. Traditional, behavioral, and situational questions are the most common ones you’ll encounter regardless of how you’re being interviewed.

How can DePaul students prepare?

The best way to prepare for a video interview is to practice. InterviewStream is a resource that allows you to practice answering common interview questions via a webcam. It’s free to create an account, and there are thousands of questions to choose from pertaining to different industries and experience levels. Once you’ve completed your video interview, you can watch it or send it to your career advisor to receive feedback. Your career advisor can provide comments on your responses and body language, two things that employers will be assessing during an actual video interview.