16 Tips for Video & Webcam Interviewing

by Beverly Harvey

Video interviewing is a cost effective alternative employers can use to meet with prospective candidates, particularly in our current economic situation. A good quality video interview can be as effective as an in-person interview and there are several benefits to conducting interviews via video conferencing. In addition to saving travel expenses, the company will also be able to share the candidate’s responses with other decision makers and will be able to replay the interview to review key points that may have slipped his/her mind.

In addition to your typical process for preparing for an interview, you will want to prepare for the video session as well. Following are some tips in preparing yourself and your location for a video interview:

Video Conference Interview

  1. If you’ll be going to a business center for the interview, visit the facility where it will be taking place and ask for a tour of the video conferencing area.
  2. Ask for a demonstration of the equipment so you can gain an understanding of the equipment and process. Ask the technician what type of mike she will use and how she will mike you.
  3. Ask the business center for a tip sheet on video conferencing nuisances.
  4. While there will most likely be a screen where you can see the interviewers, you will want to speak directly to the camera so that it appears you are speaking to the interviewer.
  5. When touring the facility, consider privacy issues as you will most likely be asked some confidential or personal questions. Ask the operators how this will be handled.
  6. Also consider potential distracting background noise such as printers, copiers, fax machines and such and ask if and how this might be controlled.
  7. Position your materials in close proximity to the camera so that when you glance at your notes, you will not appear to be looking away from the camera. Some video conferencing rooms are set up much like a TV studio with teleprompters for your notes, however some are not nearly as sophisticated.
  8. Dress professionally. Although it is likely that you will only be seen from the waist up, you should be dressed as you would for an in-person interview.

Web Cam Interviewing

  1. If asked to interview using a web cam, prepare your surrounding area. Choose an area with a neutral background and adjust the lighting in the room. Make sure the areas in front of, around you and behind you are clear, and that the entire room is clean and orderly.
  2. Remove all potentially distracting noises. The microphone on a webcam can magnify the slightest sound, so turn off your mobile phone and unplug any other phones. While you will need to have your computer speakers turned on, be sure you don’t have any webpages or programs open that emit sounds or play audio.
  3. Prior to the interview, close your office windows to prevent exterior noise, and let people know you are not to be disturbed.
  4. Check that the chair you are sitting in does not squeak. If it is a swivel chair, do not swivel during the interview and sit upright at all times.
  5. If using a laptop, make sure your battery is fully charged.
  6. If using Skype, you may experience some time-lag when you’re talking. Make sure you talk clearly so your voice will be easily picked up by the microphone.
  7. Test your equipment and practice using your webcam before the interview. Schedule a time a day or two before the interview with the company’s technical specialist to test connectivity with the company’s equipment. Be sure to ask the person scheduling the interview to schedule this appointment as well.
  8. View yourself from different angles and decide on the best angle to appear on camera. Practice speaking calmly and clearly. It’s a good idea to have someone critique your practice video.

It’s important to remember that a video or webcam interview is a “real” interview. Your answers will be weighed and selection decisions will be made based on your answers and your on-camera presence. So be sure to practice. Practice using the technology AND practice your introduction, your responses, your value proposition statements, and your accomplishment stories.

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