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Preparing for a Video Interview

Video Interviews Are Now Commonplace

Video interviews are now commonplace and for good reason. They’re an efficient and cost-effective way to judge a candidate’s communication skills, professional appearance, and even their tech-savviness simultaneously. But don’t get nervous when asked to do one just because it’s unfamiliar. Here are some tips to help yourself get comfortable and prepared for your next video interview.

Test your equipment beforehand.

Nothing gets your interview started off on the wrong foot quite like being unprepared. Have your equipment and internet connection ready before your interview. Take time in advance to ensure that the camera is working properly, your internet connection is solid, and that you know how to operate the interviewing software (Skype or some other program). Once all of these components together, do a test run and make sure the operation is flawless.

Check your background.

Be aware of what’s behind you and within the camera shot. You wouldn’t want anything embarrassing to be visible, such as a messy room that could imply you’re disorganized. Keep it clean, simple, and conservative behind you.

Dress appropriately.

Don’t let the casual feeling of doing a video interview from the comfort of your home fool you. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. And don’t try to get clever by only dressing up the top half of your body! Wear your full suit. An unforeseen event could necessitate standing up during the interview. Besides, being dressed up makes you feel better and perform better anyway.

Close off the room from outside distractions.

If the video interview will be conducted a room such as your home office, try to close yourself off from all distractions. The doorbell could ring, your dog may bark at the mailman, and if you have a home phone it could ring. Minimize the risk of these distractions infiltrating the interview zone diligently.

Turn off your cell phone.

Don’t make the mistake of leaving a silenced cell phone on your desk. The vibration will get picked up by the microphone and cause a distraction.

Close other programs on your computer.

Minimize distractions by closing out the other programs you may have running. You don’t want any surprise windows or sounds popping up. Plus too many programs may cause your computer to stream the video slowly.

Make eye contact.

It’s easy to get stuck looking at your computer screen instead of the camera itself. After all, it’s only natural to look at the face of the person you’re speaking with. Train yourself to look at the camera as much as possible. Providing your interviewer the chance to make virtual eye contact with you will establish a better connection between you.

Don’t let your eyes wander to your notes too much.

A great advantage lost during video interviews as opposed to phone interviews is the ability to “cheat” by having notes in front of you. You’re on screen and don’t want to get caught reading notes. But hope is not completely lost. If there is something that you need particular help remembering, try sticking notes on the side of a monitor or on the wall behind the camera, where it is less obvious when eyes stray.

Video interviews are still pretty new to all candidates, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re behind the curve the first time you get asked to do one. But with a little practice and fine-tuning your video interview skills will help you separate yourself from the rest of the candidate pool!

Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC

Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011 and is a team leader in recruiting and business development. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management which provides Lawrence a unique perspective as a recruiter.