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How to Handle a Video Conference Interview

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I’ve talked at length in prior posts about how to handle phone interviews, so now I’d like to talk a bit about what is becoming increasingly common: the video conference interview.

With a video conference interview, you gain the advantage of being able to see your interviewers and them being able to see you.  At the same time, you lose some advantages of the phone interview.  You won’t be able to have written notes to refer to and you won’t be able to get up and walk around during the interview.

Due to the video aspect of the interview, the preparations and considerations are different than a phone interview and here are my top suggestions.

PREPARATION

The technology aspects of a video interview can be a bit twitchy, so be certain you’re comfortable with how to use the camera on your computer.  The best way to do this is have a friend give you a video call using SKYPE, which is one of the more popular ways to video call.  This way, you can be sure your camera is working and that the person on the other end can see and hear you clearly.

PLAN YOUR BACKGROUND

I was recently on an interview panel for another hiring manager and we were doing a video interview with an out of state applicant.  It was obvious that this person’s computer was in the bedroom, as we could clearly see the bed and nightstand in the background.  Worse yet, the bed was unmade!  To top it all off, the alarm on the night stand went off during the interview and the applicant had to get up and turn it off.  This made for a memorable interview but for the wrong reasons.  If you can, turn your computer camera so that iy points toward a blank wall behind you, or at least a wall that isn’t too busy.

DRESS PROPERLY FOR THE CAMERA

As with all interviews, you should dress appropriately and conservatively (I’ve covered this in detail in prior posts).  In addition, you should consider how the colors in your clothes come across to the camera.  White tends to wash out, so avoid it if possible.  The best colors are solid, dark conservative colors.  Patterns and stripes should be avoided as they tend to be hard for the camera to resolve clearly.

AVOID DISTRACTIONS

Based on where it’s located, your computer microphone can be very sensitive to noises such as paper shuffling and pencil tapping.  With in-person interviews, these noises fade into the background and tend to be ignored.  With a microphone, they will come across loud and clear and be very distracting to the interviewers.  Also, be sure to turn your cell phone and any other phones in the room off during your interview.

BE SENSITIVE TO THE CAMERA

What the interviewers are seeing is primarily your head and part of your upper body.  This means they will be more concentrated on your face and facial expressions than with an in-person interview.  Consequently, it’s more important to maintain a professional demeanor.  That said, do remember to smile occasionally.  Finally, remember to look at the camera, not your computer screen.  When you look at the computer screen, it appears to the interviewers that you are looking away from them.  When you look at the camera, you’re making proper eye contact.

So few applicants handle video interviews properly, so if you pay attention to these tips it will be one more thing that may put you a bit ahead of your competition.

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