Video Interviewing 101
10 tips on setting yourself up for video success
Posted Aug 13, 2013
Since 2011, the use of video interviewing has risen by 49%.1 Chances are that your next interview will take place over a webcam. To make sure you set yourself up for a successful video interview, here are top ten video interview tips that you need to know.
Tip 1 | Dress For Success—The biggest mistake anyone can make is to dress from the waist up. You never know if you have to abruptly get up. I had a situation where the person I was interviewing had to quiet his dog and when he got up I could see he was wearing cargo shorts. Even though the person on the other side of the camera is not physically present, you should dress up head to toe.
Tip 2 | Remove Distractions—Whether its kids, pets, or your cell phone, make sure that you are away from anything that can interrupt your interview. All too often people believe because they are at home they don’t need to worry about controlling their environment. Make sure you are in a quiet room away from any distractions that can compromise your interview.
Tip 3 | Look Behind You—Your interviewer is not just looking at you but also what’s happening behind you. Make sure you don’t have a messy room, dirty laundry lying around, etc. It won’t leave a good impression. Instead, I advise that you move yourself in front of a blank wall or a bookshelf or somewhere that will minimize a wandering eye to see what’s happening behind you.
Tip 4 | The Camera Is Your Friend—Talking and looking directly at the camera may not be natural or comfortable for many. People are looking for a connection; therefore, it’s important that you practice looking directly into the camera to help build rapport. Looking into the camera will give the impression that you are talking directly to your interviewer.
Tip 5 | Frame Yourself—It’s quite distracting and not flattering when you’re on your laptop webcam and I can see your up nostrils. Your best bet is to have your webcam eye level. If you’re using a laptop webcam, put books underneath it so that the webcam is eye level. If you’re using a mounted web cam, try mounting it on a 1.5L water bottle or something high enough that can make the webcam eye level.
Tip 6 | Sound Check—Whether its fire engines or cows mooing, think about the sounds that your computer or webcam might pick up. Being in a quiet room doesn’t always guarantee you’re your walls are sound proof. Try a practice video chat with a friend to see if you can hear any outside noise.
Tip 7 | Your Headset—Don’t rely on your speakers as a way to hear your interviewer. Many times speakers can create a sound echo or feedback which can be distracting. Your best bet is to simply use in-ear earphones as a way to hear your interviewer. I don’t recommend wearing an operator type headset or even Bebo type headphones because they can distract your interviewer.
Tip 8 | Lighting—Being able to see you is incredibly important when you’re being interviewed on a webcam. Make sure that your lighting is in front of you and not behind you. The best light is to have natural light hit your face; otherwise, but a lamp behind the camera facing you so that your face is lit.
Tip 9 | Get Connected—There have been many times when I’m interviewing someone and their connection is very slow and choppy. To increase your chances of having a smooth interview, plug directly into your modem and don’t use wifi as your connection. Wifi uses air waves to transmit information and if you use a direct connection to your modem through a plug, you eliminate any air interference.
Tip 10 | Home Screen Folder—In the event you are asked to share your screen to walk through your resume or any other document, make sure you have a clean home screen on your computer monitor. One trick I’ve used is creating a Home Screen Folder and dragging everything on my home screen into the folder. Once the interview is over, I just drag it back.
Video interviewing is not as quick and easy as many people may think. There is a lot of preparation involved. You should think of yourself as a TV Anchor ready to host the 10 o’clock news and your interviewer as your audience. Your goal is to come across as friendly and polished as possible. What you say, how you look, and what you do, will contribute to their impression about you. Good luck and let me know how it goes.