By Rachel Dhaliwal
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS
In today’s technology-laden global economy, it is becoming ever easier to interview for a new job across great distances. If you have a video interview coming up soon, here are some considerations and special preparations that can help you to put your best foot forward.
Make Sure Your Computer Is Working Properly before the Video Interview
First and foremost, you should test your computer’s compatibility and reliability. Make sure that the signal strength is strong, and shut down any other electronics or programs that could slow down your bandwidth. Test your computer’s ability to handle a video interview with a friend via join.me, skype.com or any other video-calling service.
Remove Distractions from the Background before Your Video Interview
While you’re at it, pay special attention to what can be seen in the frame with you. Does the camera only show you from the chest up? Is there a framed print of dogs playing pool hanging on the wall behind you? It’s important to know how much of your body will be in the shot and to eliminate any potential distractions from your background.
Just as you would prepare for a phone interview, make sure that your family members and pets will not be able to interrupt or distract you. Lock yourself in a private room where household noise will not be an issue.
Ensure that Your Face Is Well Lighted So Your Interviewer Clearly Sees You
Be aware of the influence of light on the camera. If the light behind you is brighter than the light in front of you, the camera won’t be able to pick up your face very well. Poor lighting can be distracting and potentially aggravating to the interviewer.
To fix this problem, make sure to have a lamp or window behind the computer, shining on your face. If possible, eliminate any other light that is behind you.
Keep Your Notes, A Notepad and Resume Handy
Have your notes and resume laid out somewhere near you so that you won’t have to shuffle papers while you’re onscreen, but you can still reference them as needed. Ask the interviewer if it’s okay if you take notes – especially if he or she can’t see your hands. Asking this question will prevent your interviewer from thinking you are distracted when you look away from the screen to jot something down.
How to Interact With Your Interviewer on Camera
In a live interview, eye contact is very important. When your interviewer speaks to you, watch him or her on the screen, of course. However, when you are speaking to your interviewer, make sure you are looking directly into the computer’s camera. If you need a reminder, feel free to put a sticky note on your computer screen.
If you are one of those people who become distracted by being able to see yourself on screen, putting that sticky note over that part of the screen can be a tremendous help. Trust me – the interviewer can tell when you’re watching yourself.
Again, try practicing a video interview with your friend and see for yourself what a difference direct eye contact makes.
Never Forget that Your Interviewer Sees All Your Actions
When you’re taking notes, do not forget that you are being watched. Make sure you occasionally look back up at the screen or camera, smile, and make the appropriate responses to assure your interviewer that you’re still engaged in the conversation. Don’t look down so far that the top of your head is all that your interviewer sees.
Be aware of your posture. Sit up straight with shoulders squared to the screen to convey interest and that you are taking this interview seriously.
Finally, when you’re gesturing, keep your movements small, brief and visible on camera. Don’t reach toward the camera, as the forced perspective will make your gestures seem overwhelming.
Just as with a telephone or in-person interview, getting ready for a video interview has its own particular considerations. Be sure to do a few practice runs before your big day!
Contact Us for Practicing Your Interviewing Skills
If you are an APU/AMU student or alumnus and you would like to schedule a mock interview with an industry-aligned career coach, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Mock interviews can be held over the phone or via Adobe Connect, with one or more coaches, as scheduling permits.