An increase in job candidates willing to relocate for jobs, the high cost of shuttling them back and forth for interviews, and advancements in digital technology have resulted in a perfect storm of opportunity in the job hunting world: the video interview. While video interviews share the same ultimate goal as face-to-face interviews, there are some extra things to think about before getting ready for your close-up. Read on to learn five ways to make the very best impression during your video interview.
1. Set the Scene
While you may be conducting the interview from your living room sofa, it’s essential to present yourself and your surroundings in the most professional way. Choose a bright, clean location, and be careful in rooms with lots of windows as these can cause backlighting and shadows.
Eliminate clutter and annoying background noises, silence your phone, and close all irrelevant windows on your computer. Distractions not only disrupt your attention, but also the attention of your interviewer.
Also, make sure you have access to a power source and charger: video is quick to drain computer batteries, and running out during an interview shows poor planning.
2. Dress All Parts For the Part
Many people assume that because interviewers only see them from the waist up, it’s acceptable to wear comfy clothing on the bottom along with your professional top. However, skip the inclination to dress down, and instead dress to impress with a top-to-bottom look. Not only will you feel more professional, but on the off chance you have to get up to retrieve a file or document, you won’t risk exposing your ratty old sweatpants.
3. Do a “Test Run”
Take time in advance to do a “test run” at the same location and time of day as your impending interview. Before the call, test your connection and voice/microphone. If possible, invest in a good pair of headphones: they can prevent connection problems as well as trim down on sound disruption.
For best results, record a test call to see how you present on camera, and to determine any necessary adjustments or improvements.
And don’t forget: you can even experiment with your camera positioning to present yourself in the most flattering way. Most people find that keeping the camera at eye level is the most attractive angle.
4. Eye Contact is Key
While eye contact is important in any social or professional situation, it’s a particular challenge during the video interview. Why? Because the temptation is strong to watch yourself on the screen, instead of looking directly at the camera. This not only makes you look unfocused, but can be unsettling to the interviewer. Keep in mind that you’re not directly addressing the screen, but the camera above your screen. Practice this during your test run.
5. Smile Early and Often
Meeting with a person face-to-face has a different “feel,” than conducting a video interview. While the connection can seem distant and disconnected, it is still extremely important to present yourself as a friendly, likable person. After all, most employers today are looking for soft skills, and failure to show off your personable side during a video interview can quickly remove you from the running.
While participating in video interviews can feel strange or stressful, they’re increasingly part of the job hunt experience. Taking time to prepare yourself and become accustomed to the process can set you up for success. And remember: the ultimate goal is to enhance the hiring process and help you find the job of your dreams, so look at each video opportunity not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity.