For a successful video interview, take the time to practice and consider the image you want to present. Think of it as the next step forward in your job search and you’ll be on the right track.
Web-based video interviews save time and money for you and the company by providing an economical solution to managing face-to-face contact with solid candidates from around the world. “Willing to relocate” takes on a different slant when you can make personal contact from wherever you are currently located.
Even though the format of the interview may be electronic, the questions and interactions still resemble traditional interviews. One important point to remember when preparing for the video interview is that hiring managers will have this “virtual” version of you on hand to replay and compare to other candidates at will. This critical distinction requires that you attend to all the details before stepping onto the mini-stage of your video interview.
Arrange a practice video interview with a friend or family member before your scheduled time with the hiring manager. Review the practice video and keep practicing until you are comfortable and can easily launch into your value points in response to almost any questions posed to you.
Follow these tips for a great interview:
Familiarize yourself with the video interview process before an interview is scheduled. By making video interview preparation a routine part of your job search, you won’t be caught off guard when asked to conduct one. Practice using a webcam, Skype, and video phone recordings, and you will be much more confident when you reach the real-time interview. Although the company may provide you with software via a web portal or a webcam and brief instructions on its use, you don’t want to be so focused on the technical details and mechanics of how to use the equipment that you are distracted from presenting yourself at your best. Some programs feature a small screen picture of yourself which provides you with instant feedback about your interview performance.
Most companies will have a consistent set of questions they use in each video interview, typically 10 to 15. Each question may be asked in real time or provided to you with a set amount of time to read the question and respond. This is where your preparation pays off. An interview always requires that you can think on your feet, but if you are distracted by thoughts of whether the equipment is working, it will show in your interview behavior, making you appear less confident.
- Be certain to dress just as if you were interviewing in person, even if you are really in your own living room. Select a location that presents a professional image. Don’t sit in front of a cluttered corner of your office or leave television or radio running in the background.
- Make sure that family members and pets are not strolling in and out of the frame or making distracting sounds. If you have a copy of your resume, notes, or a pen, try to avoid shuffling papers and objects during the interview. These noises will interfere with the sound quality and may make you appear nervous. If you invest time in practicing your responses, you are unlikely to need these props.
- Choose appropriate lighting, so that it is not too bright or too dim for the interviewer to clearly see your face and your expressions. Remember to look directly into the camera. Imagine the camera as the face of the interviewer so that you appear to be having a conversation with the person.
- The interview may also be scheduled at a professional video conferencing business. In that case, the environment may be less familiar, which can help you feel as though you are going to a traditional interview. Another benefit of this scenario is that professionals are responsible for the video equipment. However, visiting the location prior to the day of the video interview can increase your level of comfort and familiarity with the equipment and help you feel more confident.
- Another format commonly used is for you to submit your own video of yourself answering the interview questions provided by the hiring manager. This type of interview can be more challenging because you don’t interact with the hiring manager or have the opportunity to use feedback to adjust your interview behavior. Because of those differences, this type of video may require more practice on your part to appear natural because you will be answering questions on your own. Again, enlist friends and family to help you present a comfortable and confident professional image.
- Remember that your advance preparation could be even more crucial for a video interview because of the fact that your responses can be replayed and compared to those of other candidates side-by-side. The more you can minimize awkward silences, “ums,” and verbal fumbles, the stronger your video will be, helping you to move ahead of other candidates.
- Don’t forget to ask questions in the video interview, just as you would in a face-to-face interaction. And if you wonder how the process is going, it is fine to ask the interviewer for feedback. You can always frame this question by asking if they can see and hear you well.
Ultimately, an interview is an interview. Don’t become distracted or preoccupied with the technical details. Just focus on your value to the employer and the strengths you have that will meet their needs. Become a video star and let the hiring manager see you shine!
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