Most of us seem to dread the video interview. But many recruiters use this tool because Skype and Google+ interviews save both the employers and candidate significant time and money. Plus, in a short amount of time, you both have the opportunity to measure each other up and decide next steps in the process.
So don’t be unnerved. With just a small amount of preparation, you can rock the video job interview!
Here are some tips that will enable you to give a great performance:
Create a “Movie” Set
What the other person sees makes an impact of how they perceive you. During video interviews while you are busy talking about your career background, the person interviewing you is busy scanning what’s going on in the background. Was that the cat that just walked by? What’s going on outside that window? Is that dirty laundry on the floor?
You need to create a minimally-distracting environment, like a movie set. Remove anything from the background that could raise questions, look junky, provide insights to protected information (i.e. political stickers, etc.), or otherwise serve to take the interviewer’s attention away from you and the conversation you are having with them.
Too many times, people on video interviews come across as dark and under-lit shapeless forms, or even blue, thanks to the color coming off their computer screen. Conversely, applicants put so much light on their faces that everything gets washed out.
Think soft lighting. If you have a lamp, place it near the computer to add some warmer tones to the lighting, and also consider even taping a white piece of paper over the lamp edge to diffuse the light. This can even out skin tones, remove glaring oily patches or blemishes, and remove awkward shadows to create a more pleasing appearance on-camera.
Barking dogs, flushing toilets, dishwashers… you name it. Hiring managers or recruiters have likely heard everything going on in the background in video interviews.
Sounds can be distracting for both you and the interviewer, so your goal is to remove any potential noisemakers. This includes turning cell phones onto airplane mode, turning off email services (they will still ding when you get mail since you have the computer speakers on) and instant messaging apps (ditto), and closing the door to the room from where you will be interviewing on camera.
If you have to, send other household members to Starbucks for 30 minutes. Or, ask them firmly to please be quiet so you don’t get interrupted or distracted during the interview.
Have a Script
In interviews that are face-to-face, you can’t really have your background notes available to refer to, but in video interviews you can have some handy reference material just off-screen as a helper. You can even create some key bullet points on a separate sheet that help remind you of key topics to cover in your answers to provide more thorough responses.
But be careful… you can’t look like you are only reading from a list – this will make you look very unprepared. Instead, when answering a question, you can take a breath and then look over to your short list to quickly reacquaint yourself with all the top things you want to say in response.
Look at the Camera (NOT the Computer Screen)
While our natural instinct is to look at the computer screen because the other party is on there, you aren’t making eye contact from their perspective.
Connecting means looking directly into the camera during video interviews, which transitions your involvement with the viewer from looking to the side to looking directly at them. This type of eye contact is powerful. It shows confidence, respect, and engagement. And it differentiates you from just about every other applicant the recruiter will see today.
Use these video interview tips to deliver a great video job interview performance. You’ll be sure to gain confidence as you master them, and you’re sure to earn respect from the interviewer!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!
About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, where she provides results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. She is the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide, and Talentzoo.com, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on Careerealism.com – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to TalentCulture.com’s weekly meeting #tchat on Twitter. Follow Dawn on Twitter!