Video Interview Tips
With free tools like Skype, video conferences/Interviews are quickly gaining popularity as an integral part of the job interview process. But how should you treat this new technological step? Below are a few requirements and suggestions to ensure that your video interview either snags you the job or leads to an on-site meeting.
- You’re going to need at least a cable connection or high-end DSL. If you don’t have either of these, check your local library (or check with a friend / relative) to see if they’ll allow you to use a semi-private computer for approximately 1 hour.
- Most laptops have video cameras built in, but an inexpensive webcam will work just fine. It’s usually worth a $25 investment to get an interview with a company. Make sure it is pointed at you; it is easy for it to be aimed over your head and if possible, get the camera up to your eye level by raising your computer.
- Make sure the image of the other person is directly below the camera that is focused on you, that way you are looking at your interviewer. This is especially important if you use multiple screens.
- Don’t be downloading documents or updating your computer in the background. This will hog bandwidth and make the video connection choppy. Also, if you share an internet connection with others, ask them to stay off of it until your interview is complete. It’s best to close all other windows so that you can fully focus on the call.
- If you are working on a laptop make sure it is plugged in, don’t use battery power.
- Be sure to do plenty of testing beforehand so it goes off without a hitch. Skype has a test call feature, or ask a friend to also create an account so that you can try out a call. We are willing to practice with you, as well. Just ask!
- Use the picture-in-picture feature during the test call and during the actual video interview so that you can see how you look.
- Be aware that the microphone picks up every noise so don’t shuffle papers or click your nails on the table.
- Along the same line, familiarize yourself with the location of the microphone on your computer and speak clearly towards it.
- If you miss a question because of a connectivity issue, ask them to repeat it, don’t just nod along.
- Be sure that your Skype name is professional. If your current account name isn’t, create a new one to interview with (they are FREE). If you are using another person’s account, make sure theirs is professional.
Your Interview Space
- You should take great care in what else the interviewer will be able to see; try to sit at a table with a blank wall or a fireplace behind you. Make sure that the background and the surface that the computer sits on is clean and neat.
- Make sure that there are no auditory distractions: no children playing, no dogs barking. Silence the ringers on all phones and put a note on the front door asking people to come back later.
- Sit in a well-lit space so that the interviewer can see you clearly. It is easy to be washed out or in a shadow depending on your lighting.
- Check these out on your test call.
Attire and Demeanor
- Remember this is a real interview; it might be tougher than a personal interview because it is easier to lose the personal touch with the technology in the way.
- Get there early! Log onto Skype approximately 15 minutes before the interview start time. If the hiring manager is already online, they will be impressed that you have shown up for this virtual interview early. If not, they will still notice you were already online when they got on.
- Wear what you would wear to an on-site interview. Don’t just wear a shirt and jacket; complete the look with the matching pants. You will feel more professional and if you have to stand up for any reason, your interviewer won’t see a faded pair of blue jeans (or worse).
- Sit up straight, keep your face relaxed, and smile. You need to be looking the interviewers in the eye, which means look at the camera. Place their picture right below the camera in case you forget to look at the camera – do NOT look at yourself!
- Treat the video interview as you would an actual face-to-face meeting. Have questions ready; keep a pen and paper close to take copious notes, keep a copy of your resume handy for reference.
- Make a test call before the interview so you are sure how you look and how to use the technology. Remember, look at the CAMERA.
- Test your technology, keep your surroundings neat, eliminate all potential distractions and sounds, and be prepared. The video interview is just an important as the other steps in the process. If you’re ready, it will show.
- Look at the camera, not the video screen! It might help to put a sticky note on either side of the camera lens with a picture of an eye on it to remind you, or set a “beanie baby” or other stuffed animal next to the camera as a reminder.