If you’re looking for a new job, be prepared for a video interview. Video interviewing is a convenient and cost-effective alternative to the traditional in-person interview. If you get a video interview invitation, do not overestimate your tech skills and put off preparation until the last minute. Unlike TV stars that have a professional crew to make them look good on camera, you’ll need to figure out the lighting, set design and technology issues alone. Read the following tips to get one step closer to landing your job.
1 | WEBCAM
Most laptops already have front-facing cameras, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily find an affordable webcam at an electronics store. Just like in school pictures, position yourself asymmetrically before the camera. Angling yourself to the left or right not only makes you seem more at ease, it’s also more physically flattering. Your total upper body should be visible in the camera area. Place the webcam slightly higher than forehead height and tip the camera towards you. It’s better to be captured face-on because looking down at the camera makes your face look wider, as seen in our sample picture on the right.
2 | APPROPRIATE LIGHTING
Too much light will blind the interviewer and too little lighting will strain the interviewer’s eyes. To avoid appearing on the screen as a dark silhouette, aim light at yourself from the front, not from behind you. Try putting the light source, preferably a lamp with diffused lighting, behind the computer.
3 | EYE CONTACT
Talk to the interviewer as if they really are in front of you. Avoid staring intensely at the interviewer, directing your gaze downward the whole time and leaning in really close. Remember to look into the webcam and not at the screen to make good eye contact.
4 | HAVE A CLEAN AREA
No matter how great you look or how well you interview, if your workspace is messy, it will reflect poorly on you. Make sure any space visible to the camera is clean. Also, avoid sitting in front of a distracting background; you want the interviewer’s attention on you, not your posters. Solid, earth tone backgrounds are best because they are less likely to clash with your clothes.
5 | ATTIRE
It may seem like a good idea to wear a dressy top and casual bottoms, but wardrobe malfunctions can happen in video interviews. What if you have to get up and shut your door, adjust the camera or turn to grab your notes off another table? Pretend this is an in-person interview. Dress the part 100 percent. Bold patterns can look messy and distracting on the viewer’s screen. If you do choose to wear a wild print, don’t sit in front of a busy background. Even be careful with jewelry because it can shine in unexpected ways.
6 | NO DISTURBANCES
No children, spouses or pets should appear in your interview. Try to schedule complete quiet. This video interview is just like a traditional interview, only you are at home. Let others in your house know that you will be unavailable. If you’re expecting a mail delivery, you can post a sign on your door asking deliveries to be left outside. Consider using a friend’s home if yours will be too disruptive.
7 | PRACTICE
Our platform gives you a practice question. Use it and play it back to see how you look and sound. Make sure your microphone is offering a clear transfer of your voice. Notice what is visible around you. Essentially, the practice questions allow you to perceive how your answer will look to the interviewer. Ensure that your internet connection works properly. Bad internet connections affect the quality of video. Remember small things too, like charging your phone and keeping your computer plugged in so it doesn’t die.
Don’t be scared of interviewing technology, as it’s meant to make the process easier for you. You get to interview from your home! Tape a picture of a good friend next to your computer. Looking at your friend during the interview might help you relax. Remember, video interviews provide you the opportunity to showcase your communications skills and thoughts on what you can do for the company.
Esteban Gomez is a marketing consultant with interviewstream. He loves learning and has a passion for traveling, having visited many countries including China, Colombia, Italy, and Peru.