As restaurants and bars begin to rehire teams, interviews are likely to be conducted online via video (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Google Meet). Make your first (virtual) impression an impressive one with these tips for acing your online video interview.


Act As If You're Meeting In-Person

Just because your interview isn't happening at the restaurant, still prepare the same way you would if you were. Familiarize yourself with the restaurant's menu and research the restaurant online (e.g., company website, social media channels, etc.). Prepare your answers to common interview questions as well as a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Any interview, whether it be online or in-person, is an opportunity for you to showcase your passion for the role.

Dress to Impress

Resist the urge to be less formal because of your surroundings (i.e., don’t wear shorts, pajamas or loungewear). Your clothing makes a statement about who you are and the type of employee you will be. A clean pressed suit or a neat business casual look are both acceptable when interviewing for both Back and Front of House positions. Avoid garments that are stained, tattered, or torn.

Be Deliberate with Your Background

Save those fun backgrounds for your social video calls. For interviews, select a quiet area in front of a blank wall or a neat and tidy room, without a lot of distracting decorations. If you are by a window or light, face towards the light source. If the window or light is behind you, it can cause a shadow on your face and make it difficult to see you clearly.

Conduct A Practice Run

Test the setup you will be using for your interview ahead of time. If you have to use a phone, prop it up at eye level rather than holding it in your hand. Call a friend to test your setup (e.g., video platform, internet connection, computer, etc.), make sure the audio and video are clear, and that your upper body is framed well in the shot. Also, take this time to familiarize yourself with the program you'll be using (e.g., logging in, updating your user name, etc.). 

"Arrive" Early

Before your interview, make sure everything is fully charged. Also, ensure that all of your other programs and tabs are closed, as well as silence all notifications. Like an interview conducted in-person, being right on-time is often viewed as late; give yourself a bit of time to get settled before you have to start officially. Start the video interview application 5-10 minutes early.

Take Interruptions in Stride

Plan ahead to eliminate foreseeable chances of interruption. Choose a quiet room where you can close the door. Remind your roommates and/or family the exact time you will be interviewing to help prevent disturbances. If an interruption does occur, remain calm. Use this as an opportunity to show how calm and collected you can be when faced with unexpected situations. Apologize for any disruptions and ask to pause for few moments – and mute yourself – until the noise has subsided (e.g., siren outside your window).

Be Aware of Your Body Language

Your body language can have a significant impact on the way others perceive you, even when on-camera.

  • Make Eye Contact
    Eye contact is critical to show that you are engaged and actively listening. Since direct eye contact can be challenging on video calls, know where the camera on your device is located and make sure to look directly at it when speaking. Avoid allowing your eyes to wander around the room.
  • Sit Up Straight & Avoid Fidgeting
    Sitting up straight is seen as a sign of intelligence, confidence, and credibility. Don't slouch; this body position can be interpreted as a sign of disinterest and not taking the interview seriously.
  • Smile
    A genuine smile goes a long way and can immediately create a more favorable environment.

In closing, regardless of where your interview is being conducted, whether that be in-person, on a video call or over the phone, remember to be yourself and put your best foot forward.