Preparing for a Video Conference Interview
Consistent eye contact is crucial to making a solid and lasting connection with a potential employer, and Web interviews make it more difficult to obtain this necessary interview component. When interviewing via the Web, your natural inclination may be to look at the interviewer’s eyes on the computer screen.
However, by doing this, you will appear to be constantly looking down, not in the eyes of the interviewer. Instead, look directly into the lense of the Web cam. This will simulate the direct eye contact necessary for a successful interview. If it feels unnatural to look at a hole in your computer monitor instead of a person, before your interview, cut a hole in a photo of someone with whom you’re very comfortable, and affix the photo over the Web cam.
Wear a Suit
Wear a suit during a Web interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization to which you’re applying. It shows you are professional and polished and will enhance your confidence, regardless of whether you’re in your living room in front of the computer screen or in-person at a conference table with the hiring manager.
Prepare a Suitable Backdrop
When preparing for a Web interview to take place at home, be sure to create a suitable on-camera background. Remove any posters or photos that could be distracting to the interviewer; be sure your environment looks as professional as you do. If possible, add warmth and depth to your Web interview backdrop by sitting in front of wood or a wall painted in warm, neutral tones.
Avoid interviewing in front of a stark, white wall under fluorescent lighting; the harshness is not flattering on anyone.
Instead, try using a table lamp, in addition to overhead lights, and place it at or above eye level. An appropriate backdrop will not likely make or break an interview, but when interviewing in a Web format, without the added benefits of an in-person interview, every detail counts.
Posture and body language is important in all interviews, including those conducted via the Web. Sit up straight, shoulders back, with your body angled slightly to one side and your head facing forward. Sitting with your body slightly turned sideways, instead of head-on, square to the camera, is a subtle way to add polish on-camera.
Similar to an in-person interview, distractions and interruptions during a Web interview should be at an absolute minimum. Silence your cell phone and television and turn off e-mail notifications or chat options via online applications during your interview. Keep pets and children in a separate room and make sure you are in a private area (for example, do not sit by the front door where family members will be going in and out).
In our global marketplace, online interviewing is becoming increasingly common, and adapting quickly to this alternative method of candidate evaluation is integral to career success.