Video interviewing is changing the way employers connect to job candidates. With more job interviews happening via Zoom, Skype and Facetime than ever before, it’s important to learn how to put your best face forward.
- Dress professionally – from head to toes. You may have to move in front of the camera and you don’t want the employer to see you’re wearing gym shorts or the like.
- Don’t expose bare shoulders – especially if you are only viewed ‘shoulders up’ on screen – it will look like you aren’t wearing clothes.
- Avoid clothing with patterns – solids work best.
- Turn off radio/TV /cell phone, etc. Even white noise from fans, zen-like waterfalls, loud air conditioners, space heaters, dehumidifiers etc. can be distracting.
- Put pets away, close the door, and make sure roommates, family members etc. are aware of the importance of a quiet environment.
- Consider putting a note on the door to prevent delivery people or visitors from ringing the doorbell which may trigger pet noise or background sounds.
- If possible, set up your computer in a room in which you’re least likely to hear outdoor noise – from trucks, children, etc.
- Create a neutral background/wall with minimal visual distractions. Keep pictures/equipment to a minimum.
- Preview your appearance and background on screen before connecting with the conference call – you should be the focus of the video – not the scenery behind you
- Create optimal lighting. Turn on lights in the room and/or close window blinds to avoid harsh glares and shadows on your face.
- Do not eat, drink or chew gum. If you must take a sip of liquid, drink water – not carbonated beverages. Verbally pardon your pause, sip, then put the drink safely aside.
- Test your microphone sound level and video well in advance of the actual meeting, then again 15 minutes before the call.
- Adjust the focus of the camera. Most cameras have the capability to fine tune the crispness of the video. Its best to have a friend “connect” with you via webcam to tell you how you appear as you adjust the settings.
- Close ALL other programs not necessary for the call – email, instant messaging, office products such as Word or Excel, and close internet browser windows. Not only are these a potential distraction, but they could also affect your connection quality.
- If possible, hard wire your computer vs. using wireless. If you do use wireless, try to be as close to your router as possible for the strongest connectivity.
- Sometimes firewalls can impact your connection/speed. It may be helpful to temporarily disconnect from VPN or firewalls for the call.
- Look at the camera, not at the screen when you are talking. You would never look at yourself in a mirror if you were interviewing in person – so think of the camera as the interviewer’s eyes and look into it/them.
- Adjust your chair so the camera is at eye level – don’t look down at the camera
- If you wear glasses, ensure you are not picking up glare; remove the glasses or wear contacts if either are feasible options.
- Do not use any of the effects your camera may offer (bunny ears, cowboy hat, etc.).
Movement & Pace
- Be careful with too much movement – heavy movement further accentuates video choppiness. If you communicate with heavy gestures – be careful! Clasp your hands in your lap or hold on to a piece of paper. Keep it under control.
- Facial reactions translate differently when onscreen so it’s important to compensate with extra enthusiasm and concise answers.
- Speak succinctly – and pause for a few moments before talking after being asked a question to compensate for the slight time lag.
- Watch your body language – it’s easy to forget they can see you! Don’t look bored (chin resting on your hand), or slouchy, and don’t look away from the camera when answering questions (remember – think of it as the interviewers eyes). Be careful with stretching & scratching.
- If you have a high desktop and rest your arms on it, it’s extra-important not to slouch, so that your shoulders aren’t at your ears.
- Login 10-15 minutes before the call in case you have technical problems and/or to ensure you are ready when the interviewer begins.
- PRACTICE! Find someone that will practice with you using the same video technology you will be using during the interview, if possible. That person should point out background & environmental distractions,and give you honest feedback on your appearance (including where you are positioned in the screen, annoying movements, sound levels, etc.).
- Consider recording yourself on a site such as youTube.com so you can see yourself and make adjustments.
- Be prepared for the types of questions you are likely to be asked; practice the answers so you can judge for yourself how you will appear.
- At the conclusion of a call, be sure the call is fully disconnected before you ‘relax.’ You’re still on camera until the session truly ends.