How To Prepare For A Video Job Interview

If you’re one of those people who hates being in front of a camera, you better start getting comfortable — because the use of video interviews is on the rise in recruiting.

A 2013 survey conducted by HRTechBlog showed that more than one third of responding organisations had used video interviewing. Virtual connections company Montage, whose clients include Telstra, Jetstar and ING, commissioned a study that showed that talent acquisition professionals expect a 74 per cent increase in video interviewing over the next 12 months, with large companies most likely to add this tool to their recruitment process.

Even though most job candidates prefer to be interviewed in person, they need to overcome their trepidation when it comes to the small screen. Video may have killed the radio star, but it needn’t kill your job prospects if you follow a few simple rules.

Dress professionally

Treat your video interview as if you were attending a face-to-face interview. Choose appropriate clothing and don’t wear casual pants thinking that they won’t be seen. Avoid overly loud patterns and colours, and low necklines. The more you treat the interview as if you are attending in person, the more you will be in the zone and the better you will perform.

Set the scene

Take notice of what is visible behind you on your webcam well before the interview. Remove any loud posters or wall decorations, put your phone on silent, make sure you won’t be interrupted and keep windows closed to reduce any ambient noise.

Check the lighting in the room you plan to use, ensuring you’re not in shadow, and keep your computer screen lighting on a medium to low setting so you are not being spotlighted. You might want to try the three-point lighting system used by professional videographers, placing a light behind and on either side of the camera to avoid unflattering shadows. Natural lighting can also be used but be mindful of the time of day, as a moving shadow behind you while the sun is setting can provide an unwanted distraction.

Check your IT

As soon as you receive your request for a video interview, check the system requirements for the software you’ll be using. For example, Skype recommends at least 1.5Mbps / 1.5Mbps download/upload speed for HD video calling and 2Mbps / 512kbps for group video calls of three people. Check your microphone and sound settings to make sure you’re coming through loud and clear.

The last thing you need is to log on for your interview, only to discover that your computer or your Internet service aren’t up to the task. If your current home technology isn’t going to support the video call, it’s either time to update or find a friend with the right equipment.

Go for a test run It’s worthwhile asking a friend or family member to Skype or Facetime you so you can get more comfortable speaking to a screen. This will also give you the opportunity to practise answering any questions you’ve prepared for, as well as get feedback on how you’re coming across. The more comfortable and relaxed you can get with the process, the better you will present. Just as for a face-to-face interview, it’s important to smile, maintain eye contact and show your enthusiasm and engagement in the process. Excessive hand gestures can be distracting so ensure your body language remains appropriate. If the interview is being conducted across time zones you can make appropriate comments regarding the time of day, weather or events relevant to both locations as conversation icebreakers. As daunting as it might seem, with the right approach, video interviewing can work in your favour. You just need to follow the age-old advice and make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

This post originally appeared on the Hudson Blog. Republished with permission.


Comments

    Drink alcohol. Hide alcohol behind laptop.
    Eyedrops will help.

    Try to use some software which adds whackey effects and hats. Bosses love hats. You want a job? You have to display some sun-smarts AND a sense of humour.

    Most software (such as Skype) will allow picture in picture, so you can have a small inset showing your own face - helps if you are wanting to monitor your own responses for effectiveness.
    Would suggest having a test run with the company 15 mins before the interview, if possible - once had a video interview over Skype, and they could not get it to work.
    Their gormless IT drone couldn't fix it after 30 min and declared it was a problem at my end, despite me having had a 2 hour video conversation with my girlfriend in France earlier in the day. I almost expected him to say "What's a firewall", when I suggested he make sure it wasn't being blocked by a policy.

    If you're going for an interview for a large national company, say Telstra, you can always ask if they have a video conference facilities nearby. This will eliminate most of the technical problems, set the right atmosphere and attitude and show the company that you are willing to be flexible.
    I've secured two interstate contracts in this manner.

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