More and more organizations are using video services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Join.Me not only for business meetings, but also to interview job candidates. This allows them to save time and screen candidates faster versus bringing them in for a face-to-face interview.
Now, in addition to all the normal preparation you would do for an in-person interview, you also must prepare for being on camera, which has its own etiquette and pitfalls. Doing well in video interviews will take some extra effort and understanding of the platform.
Here are eight important suggestions and tips to impress a potential employer while in front of a camera.
1. Be comfortable
Pick the device you are at ease with. It could be your laptop, tablet or even your smartphone. If you’re unsure, do some mock interviews beforehand to check each out.
To avoid technical difficulties on the day of the interview, make sure that you set up the device beforehand.
When the interview is over, make sure you end the call.
2. Be focused
Frame your face so you make direct eye contact. Check your image on the desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Ensure that your face is centered on the screen with a straight sight line between your eyes and the camera.
Look directly into the camera, not the screen, as you talk.
When others talk, it’s fine to look at them on your screen.
Move your video chat window near your camera on your computer so you can look at both together.
3. Be calm
Select a simple, quiet and tidy setting, and avoid all distractions.
Make sure the desk in front of you or behind is organized.
If sitting in an open area, ensure there is no movement around.
Typing during the meeting could be disruptive so it is better to keep a pen and paper handy to jot down notes.
4. Be bright
Set up a bright scene with good, plentiful lighting. This can be more important than you realize. You can even test your setup with someone before the video interview.
Put adequate lights in front of you to brighten your face.
Also, put extra lights behind you for backlighting to avoid a flattened look or dark shadows behind your head.
5. Be sharp
Always dress for success. Take the time to dress as if you were meeting in person.
Dress appropriately and professionally from head to toe.
Wear clothes or suits in solid colours; avoid busy designs and patterns.
Minimize accessories and portray a natural look that stays consistent to the company culture.
6. Be succinct
Stay to the point, speak in a friendly voice and try to have a conversation as you would in an in-person interview. Keep in mind that you need to get both right in a video interview — how you look and what you say.
Timing is everything. Avoid talking over your interviewer especially if there’s a slight time lag because of the online connection.
Wait until you’re sure they have finished speaking. And take it slowly; don’t rush your words.
7. Be relaxed
If you aren’t used to being on camera, it can be a little overwhelming in the beginning, so just stay relaxed. Nothing can be more endearing and engaging that watching a person speak honestly and authentically about what he or she is passionate about.
If you are in a group interview, just focus on the one person interviewing you.
If you find it overwhelming, don’t hesitate to ask for a time out. If you find yourself with a case of serious nerves, take a moment and ask for a break to collect yourself.
8. Be yourself
It’s OK if you slip up; don’t let one mistake throw you off. If you started off responding to an interview question and would like to correct yourself, do so and restate your answer. They will appreciate your honesty and willingness to admit your error.
Do your research and practise often. Feeling assured on-screen requires practice.
Switch on your camera and watch yourself talk the talk.
Have a glass of water ready — speaking is thirsty work.
Be yourself. Who else are you going to be?
Murali Murthy is an acclaimed public speaker, mentor and best-selling author of the ACE Books — The ACE Principle, The ACE Awakening and The ACE Abundance. He is also chairperson of CAMP Networking Canada. Learn more at aceworldfoundation.com.