Guest post by Chris Williams
Many job interviews these days are being held via video chat on platforms like Skype. Being interviewed on the computer often throws people for a loop. Certain things need to be considered for video interviews that do not factor in to face-to-face interviews. In order to have a successful online job interview, follow these tips:
Don’t Fall Prey to Technical Failure
In order to avoid buffering when using a home Internet connection, use an Ethernet cable (also make sure everything is plugged in correctly). Anything you can do to eliminate buffering is a plus – so try relying on a DSL or hardline connection instead of Wi-Fi. If necessary, you may also want to use a headset with a microphone to conduct the interview. This will keep feedback from your computer’s speakers from disrupting the flow of the interview.
Prepare the Scene
You want your background to reflect positively on yourself. Make sure that nothing around you is distracting or unprofessional. Adjust the lighting so that it is flattering. Natural light is the best light for softening features. You want to angle the camera so that it shows the top half of your body. It should come down at least to mid-chest. You do not want to show your whole body, but you also don’t want to just show your head. Make sure that the interview setting is a quiet setting. If you’re at home with kids or pets, head to a different part of the house where you have more privacy. If you still feel that won’t provide the privacy you need for your interview, ask a neighbor to watch the kids while you’re being interviewed or head to a friend’s house where you won’t be subjected to all the distractions of your own home.
Dress for Success
Just like an in-person interview, you want to dress to impress the interviewer. You want to wear professional clothing and stick to traditional business attire – suit, jacket, appropriate shirt or blouse. Women should keep makeup and jewelry to a minimum. Men should be clean shaven or have their facial hair neatly trimmed.
It is a good idea to have a friend conduct a few practice interviews with you online. Tell your friend to be brutally honest. Use this process to make sure that your lighting and sound are okay, and to check that everything looks good from your friend’s end.
Just like a traditional interview, you want to arrive early to let the interviewer see that you are professional and serious about the job. You should sign on to Skype ten minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin.
Just like a traditional interview, eye contact is very important during an online interview. The best way to demonstrate eye contact online is to always look directly into the camera during the interview. No matter how difficult it may be, try to avoid looking at your image on the computer screen. You will appear engaged and confident if you stay focused on the camera throughout the interview.
An online interview is susceptible to lag time, which can sometimes weaken a person’s natural charm and charisma. Try to be energetic on camera to make up for any possible computer influences. Just like you would in an in-person interview, be sure to smile consistently, speak clearly and have good posture. If you project an enthusiastic image while you are being interviewed online, it will go a long way toward making a great impression on the interviewer.
Chris Williams is a freelance marketing strategist and writer who loves covering issues related to non-traditional students and career transition.