Video Interview? 7 Best Tips

Web-Cam-CAM-876-webcamMore employers are conducting first and second interviews via Skype or some other service. It’s fast, cheap and easy. Only the finalists, in some cases, get an invitation into the office. If you are in the hunt for a new gig, you should be ready for this experience. I got a call last week from a friend who was going to have a Skype interview and I shared these tips. He thanked me after.

Camera Angle: Get your camera up to eye level. This is especially important if you are using a laptop camera. If the camera is below you, you will be looking down on it. The person interviewing you will see nothing but fat chin and deep, dark eyes (remember the scene in the Blair Witch Project?). Put some books or some other support under the laptop to get the angle right.

Good Lighting: Set up some lighting that illuminates your face well. Low wattage lighting that chases away the shadows from your face will work. Avoid too-bright lights that will live you squinting.

Watch the Background: What is behind you that your interviewer will see? Be sure to clean up, take down the Kiss poster, and remove other visual distractions. If you can’t do that, move your camera so that you have a plain wall behind you.

Banish Randomness: Do you have a dog? Get someone to take it for you during your session. Do you have a cat? We do, and it gets unreasonably amorous at inappropriate times. If the cat has ignored me for three weeks, it will want to make up during a Skype call. Unplug or turn off phones. Eliminate any noises and distractions.

Dress the Part: Most people don’t sit around their homes in a suit, but professional business casual attire should be the minimum standard. With a video call, everything is the same as in-person but the hand shake.

Cheat with Notes: If you have a few points that you absolutely must make during your interview, write some notes and hang them up near the camera so that you can see them while looking at the camera and so that your interviewer cannot see them at all. Having these notes will make you more confident.

Sit Up: Your posture will affect your tone of voice. Sit up straight, breathe and project. Don’t forget to lock the tilt switch on your desk chair. You don’t want to go rocking back out of the camera’s view.

It will take a little work to do a Skype call well, but it will be worth the effort. Your preparation will translate into confidence and a better outcome. Skype well, all!

Bill Florin is a Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP) and is president of Resu-mazing Services Company.

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Prepare to Win

Fair Warning: This is going to sound like a victory lap, or maybe an advertisement. It is not meant that way. There is a lesson to be learned from my experiences with a recent client that can be useful to everyone, and I just can’t let it go by without sharing.

Sam is a very smart and technically oriented guy with a career in a challenging field that requires current skills and continuous learning. Sam has had some interesting experiences, though none were create Facebook, imagine the iPad moments. He has just done a very good job working in his niche and he likes what he does.

Sam also was a pretty poor interviewer, something I know because I conducted Skype-based practice interviews with him. By working through some practice interview sessions guided by the accomplishments that we presented on his résumé, Sam got much better. Today, Sam landed a job, getting him off of the contractor merry-go-round and into a direct position with benefits in a city where he wants to live. He couldn’t be happier.

So what’s the lesson? Preparation pays. Sam recognized that his résumé was lacking and that he needed help to slam-dunk the interview. Then he took action and got help. His preparation and investments in time and effort – along with the self-awareness that drove him to get help – brought him to this happy day.

Good luck, Sam, and congratulations on your wisdom and humility that allowed you to prepare to win.