Between FaceTime, Skype, and the bevy of online video applications, video interviews are growing in popularity. If given a choice, as a candidate I would always opt for a face-to-face interview as a personal presence can create a much greater impression than a two dimensional screen.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to suggest a video interview either because it can make you look like the sort of person who doesn’t put a great effort into tasks, takes short cuts or is not really interested in the role being offered. If we have two candidates and one is willing to travel to interview and the other not; it leaves an impression.
As a candidate, only suggest a video hook-up as a last resort and explain to your interviewer why you cannot attend a personal interview and how much you regret that you will not be able to meet personally.
If you are offered a video interview, always accept and also mention that you would be keen to interview for this role in person or via video – you are totally flexible and keen on the role, however you meet. It is all about understanding how your actions leave impressions on the interviewer. However, when the video interview is the only option, what are the best ways that you can give a stellar performance?
Make sure that you set up your device and software the day before the interview and have a trial run. If you have to download applications, do so well before and practise with a friend. Nothing worse than starting the interview with ‘Ummm Can you see me?’ ‘I can see you but I can’t hear you’!
Firstly, don’t forget your presentation. Dress, just like you would for a face-to-face interview. We have video interviewed candidates who met with us, sitting cross-legged on their lounge in a braless singlet top and the first impression was not good!
Depending on the role, dress in a way that dictates how you will present yourself on your first day. Later on, there is plenty of time for thongs and boardies if that is the way to go, but get the job first. Be comfortable however. If the role is more on the casual side and you would feel ridiculous in a suit, then don’t wear a suit. If you are interviewing for a creative role, dress as you normally would in a way that signifies your professionalism and also your individuality and creativity.
Be authentic or you will not be comfortable and be your best. Aim to have only your head and upper body on the screen, however if you decide to wear your lucky fishnet stockings underneath, make sure the shot does not include them (unless you are interviewing to be a Rockette).
Choose a place for the interview that is quiet, where there are no passer bys or family cooking in the background. If possible, have a clear background to your shoot. Try for a blank wall or a clean room. Don’t forget that the surround visuals will give clues to the interviewer about you, as well – you don’t want them thinking you are a personal mess, or overly involved with photos of your neighbours posted to the wall behind you. You want to make sure that you are the centre of attention, not your collection of Nudes or your flatmate getting ready for a night on the town.
Similarly with background noise – don’t compete with ‘Days of our Lives’ and close windows to traffic or outside sounds. You want your voice to be clear and distinct – not competing with other surrounding sounds.
Remember when looking into a webcam, the shot is generally of your eyes down looking into the screen as you are watching the other person on the screen. Write a note to yourself and place in front of you, that no one else can see that says ‘look up’. It works well if you change your eye level, sometimes looking up into the webcam directly, even looking higher or away from the screen for a moment like when you are thinking.
When your interviewer is talking use ‘noddies’. That is, smile and nod enthusiastically. React to what your interviewer is saying and show personality. Be animated – look interested, gesture when speaking, smile and react. It is just really like being on stage – you are not there in front of your interviewer, so you need to make your performance a little bigger than you would if you were sitting in front of them. If you don’t, you can come across as bored and not interested, without meaning to.
If you have time before your interview have some practises. Go into another room and Skype your family. Give them a list of questions to ask you. Practise looking up, looking at the webcam instead of the face on your screen and being as personable as possible!
As in all interviews, you should be an active participant, but in a video interview that may be even easier. You can utilise visual prompts that are ‘outside of shot’ to help remind you of key points that you want to put across or questions you want to ask. Practice where you will put these and make sure you do not glance at them over and over. Just a few key words written in BIG letters should be enough to jog your memory, ask questions and make key points. Sticking these just behind the web cam or at the top of your devise will also help you to look up.
Use these few points to help you prepare and you should be a fantastic video candidate! Want more help? Just give us a call and ask about our Interview skills sessions – help is at hand! 1300 923 000
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