How to Ace a Video Conferencing Interview

February 14, 2015 | Charlene

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Video Conferencing    Image Credit: Hiremelive.com

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about interview tips for job seekers. In this post, I would like to expand on that and speak specifically about video conferencing interviews. As we all know, job interviews are probably one of the most nerve racking events in our lives. When you factor in the time, effort, preparation, cost and stress that goes into an interview, then you see how it impacts the entire process.

“In a survey of more than 500 hiring managers at companies with more than 20 employees, OfficeTeam found that 63 percent said their company often uses videoconferencing for job interviews.” As we rapidly move forward in an ever growing high tech world, many companies are electing to use video conference to interview candidates from all over the globe.    

In an infographic study, it was found that "the ways communication is conveyed in these interviews is 55% via human face, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% from the words that are said. Only seven percent of communication on video is the actual words? This is shocking, and certainly underscores why the development of digital interview skills is such a critical need."

There are many benefits for employers who choose to use video conferencing to interview job candidates. Videotaped interviews can be replayed so that employers can compare candidates and their performance. Employers can also put a face with the name, rate and track responses and share the results. Also, companies can interview potential candidates who live in a different country, province, state and city instead of assuming the cost of bringing the candidate in for the interview. 

For the candidate, it saves them time and money. They do not have to physically get to the interview but instead they can do it from their own home. And, if you are looking for another job while working, you don’t have to take additional time off from your job to go to the job interview. All of these factors reduces your stress level and makes your life a little less complicated.

Here are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of nailing that online interview. 

 Download Necessary Application/Tech Set-Up

  • Download the necessary application, plugin or equipment. Common video conferencing tools are Skype, Google Hangout or Gotomeeting. Make sure you know what kind of video interview technology is being used and find out what you will need before the interview.
  • If using Skype set-up an account if you do not have one.
  • For a professional username, Skype for example advises that your Skype ID comprise of your first initial and surname.

Lights Camera Action
   Image Credit: nemehill.blogspot.ca

Test Your Equipment/Lighting/Interview room

Have a checklist handy and go through the list just before the interview to make sure everything is working properly. Have your notes handy just in case you want to ask your interviewer any questions.  Before the interview, submit your resume and any pertinent documents to appropriate hiring personnel.

Perform a quality control check: 

  • Check to make sure your device is fully charged, your camera lenses should be clean, your microphone, webcam, sound and audio and internet speed/connection working properly.   Eliminate as many technical glitches before the actual interview.
  • Call someone you know to test your equipment out before the actual interview. this will also give you the opportunity to practice and obtain feedback from the person you are conducting the mock interview with. Your comfort level will show once the video conference interview starts so it is beneficial if you record yourself multiple times to correct any obvious mistakes.
  • Make sure there is enough natural lighting. Place your light in front of you instead of behind you so that the focus is on your face, and any unflattering shadows or harsh lighting is taken care of.
  • Your camera should be at eye level and focused on your head and shoulders. Angle the camera so that it is in line with your forehead.
  • Remove any unnecessary clutter in your room. Reduce or eliminate any noise from your home by turning off or unplugging your cell or home phone. Alert family members that you will be on a video conferencing interview.  
  • Create a professional looking and neutral background. 

Skype Interview
Image Credit:linkedin.com

Appearance/Netiquette

  • Avoid wearing bright colours, blacks or white and patterned clothing since they will distort the lighting. Opt for colours that are not distracting to the eye such as soft solid colours or dark, deep blues. 
  • Maintain good eye contact during the interview.  
  • Avoid abrupt hand gestures or movements as this may appear as a blur or a distorted image. 
  • Be mindful of any reflection caused by eye glasses if you wear them.
  • Smile more broadly and practice nodding more, sit upright and keep your back straight and face the camera with confidence. Your voice and tone should vary accordingly.
  • Be prepared for a slight delay in receiving the audio and video so you should hesitate slightly before speaking so that you give the interviewer time to finish speaking.
  • And refrain from making inappropriate comments until after the camera is turned off.
  • Treat this type of interview as you would a face-to-face interview. 
  • Remember, the camera catches only the image that it sees so be very mindful of not only your appearance but also your facial expressions and your tone of voice.  

Video conferencing interviews should be treated like a face-to-face interview. However, unlike an in-person interview, this type of technology has its hurdles namely the advantage of interpersonal communication. By preparing thoroughly for your video interview and incorporating these simple tips to give the best impression possible you may be successful with your online interview.

Have a look at some of our available print and online resources to brush up on your next job interview.

The essential digital interview handbook lights, camera, interview : tips for Skype, Google Hangout, Gotomeeting, and more  Google+ hangouts for business : how to use Google+ hangouts to improve brand impact, build business, and communicate in real time  The interview coach  The perfect interview : your key to acing job interviews!

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