Video Interview? How to be “Camera” Ready
Q: Help! I’m interviewing for a position that is not local. As a result, my potential employer set up a video-interview. I’m really excited, but, I’ve never had a video interview before – How can I be “camera” ready?
A: Don’t worry! You will be fine! Although it may seem overwhelming, you can manage a video interview in the same way that you manage a face-to-face interview. Here’s how!
#1 – Technology
Video interviews can be stressful, perhaps in ways that are different from the usual face-to-face interview. With video interviews you not only have to prepare to look your best and practice your posture and facial expressions, you also must make sure that your technology is in top-notch condition to avoid any technical difficulties during the interview. In most circumstances, your potential employer will manage the technology issues. However, if not, if you are using your own technology, you may need to set aside extra prep time to play around with the equipment and video program (typically, Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime) to understand its function so that you can focus on making your best first impression rather than worrying about some kind of technological mishap.
#2 – Video Interview Prep
Once your technology is managed, you still have to be ready for the interview itself. What will the interviewer expect from you throughout the whole process? What else should you do to stand out from the crowd?
a. Consider what questions you may be asked.
This tip is valid for any interview. Reviewing common interview questions and thinking up potential answers can certainly help your video interview go as smoothly as possible. Write down some things you think a potential employer might want to know about you. What does your education background look like? What was your experience at your past place of employment like? What are your career goals? Your strengths? Weaknesses? Do not try to prepare a canned response that sounds mechanical and insincere; be honest with yourself, evaluate your experience and credentials and where you want these things to lead you, and try constructing your practice answers with them in mind. When it comes time for the real deal, you will not have to scramble to come up with a genuine, compelling, and fulfilling response; you will have already have some idea of what is important to you and how you should convey that importance to your interviewer.
b. Where do I look?
Look at the screen, not around the room or at the camera itself (Salpeter). In a face-to-face interview, you would probably not let your eyes wander around the room, gazing at everything but your interviewer. You also would not look at the ground as though you had no confidence in anything you said or had to offer. Similarly, during your video interview, you should look directly at the screen so that you make eye contact with your interviewer. Doing so shows not only care for your own professional image and your work, it also shows respect to your interviewer for giving you her time.
c. What do I wear?
Just as you would for a traditional interview, dress appropriately and professionally (Salpeter). Just because you are on camera and not in person does not mean that you should not look your best for your interview. Wear what you would wear to a face-to-face interview: modest business attire that is not too casual but not too gaudy either. Avoid flashy jewelry. Your interviewer may not be able to see your entire body on camera. Even so, how you dress can affect how you perform; the better you look and feel, the more likely you are to give it your all.
d. Pick ideal video interview conditions.
Make sure your recording environment is ideal (Salpeter). You want to make sure that all potential distractions are attended to before you go live. To do this, pick the room in which you will interview well before it is time. This will give you ample time to ensure that the lighting is adequate, that all of your equipment runs smoothly, and that your backdrop looks clean and professional. If you have time, practice in front of your camera beforehand, playing with lighting—move some lamps around, draw the curtains, get rid of any distracting background props and take care of obscuring shadows (Salpeter). If you feel comfortable and confident in your interviewing space, you are much more likely to perform to the best of your ability.
e. Consider timing.
Video interviews are different from face-to-face and phone interviews in that some video interviewing tools have time limits for questions (Salpeter). Not to mention, video technology presents its own glitches from time to time and may delay your response from time to time. To overcome any time concerns you may have, practice answering questions to yourself—be it in front of a mirror or your camera—and give yourself a time limit. Make sure that the time is plentiful enough so that you can answer the question with as much precise detail as possible, but do not give yourself so much time that you are able to ramble on about extraneous matters. Practice as many times as you feel necessary, adjusting your time limits as you see fit. After all, the artful timing of your answers can be just as impressive as your answers themselves, and mastering that timing requires just about as much practice.
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Are you considering a new position? Do you have a video interview and you need some help preparing? Please contact a Lexacount Search Career Consultant with Lexacount Search’s career consulting services here.
Salpeter, Miriam. “10 Tips to Ace a Video Interview.” US News and World Report Money. U.S. News and World Report, 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.