Video job interviews are becoming more common because they’re cost-efficient and convenient. A 2012 survey by the staffing agency Office Team found that 66.7% of human resource managers say they often use video interviews in the hiring process.
Yet, studies also show that companies and job candidates rate each other lower when they meet on Skype rather than face-to-face. Like any technology, this method has both pros and cons. Use these suggestions to make the most of a video job interview.
Advantages of a Video Interview
1. Saves money. Video interviews can eliminate travel expenses for both you and the company you’re interviewing with. You also use up less of your personal time.
2. Speeds up the process. You may get a job offer more quickly. Companies use video technology to avoid delays in coordinating travel schedules for multiple people.
3. Demonstrates your technology skills. Invest in a good quality webcam and microphone. Ensure you know all the basic features of the meeting service you’ll be using. Impress your interviewer by being well-prepared and showing that you’re tech savvy.
Steps to Take Before Your Video Interview
1. Get formal training. Talk with a job coach if you think you require further assistance. If you’re a student, the career development office at your university may offer more resources.
2. Rehearse thoroughly. Practice with family and friends to see how you look on a webcam. You may even want to have a casual chat immediately before your real interview to give you a chance to warm up.
3. Dress up. Take a shower so you’re feeling your best. Put on your best suit just like you would for a live interview. It’s acceptable for women to apply their makeup a little more vividly for the camera.
4. Create a backdrop. Bookcases and plants create an attractive and flattering professional setting. Banish any clutter and avoid sitting by a scuffed up wall.
5. Arrange your lighting. Natural light is ideal. If your room has little sunlight or it’s dark in your time zone, try a desk lamp instead.
6. Watch your body language. Sit up straight. Try to angle your body slightly and look over your shoulder a little. It looks less stiff than facing directly toward the camera during the entire interview. Try to act natural, yet professional.
Steps to Take During Your Video Interview
1. Prepare for glitches. Ask the interviewer in advance what to do if you lose your connection. It will reinforce the message that you’re proactive.
2. Make eye contact. Look into the webcam to give the impression of making eye contact. One of the most common mistakes with video interviews is looking at the image of the other person on the screen. That comes across like you’re staring at the floor or out into space.
3. Monitor your facial expressions. You want to look animated even while you’re listening to someone else. Try reducing your own image and lining it up near the webcam. That way you can look at it inconspicuously without breaking eye contact.
4. Minimize note taking. You may want to record the session so you can avoid having to take extensive notes. Memorize the questions you want to ask. Again, this will help you from having to look down a lot.
5. Work on your closing. It’s easy to get so excited that you lose track of the ordinary things you would do at a traditional interview. Remember to thank your interviewer and ask about the next stages in the process.
These days you may be meeting your next boss online. It’s natural to be a bit camera shy, but strategic preparation will help you light up the screen on a video job interview.