The traditional, in-person, face-to-face job interview is rapidly being replaced with digital interviews. While meeting via video is a time saver, getting past the technological barriers of not speaking face-to-face can be difficult. It is important to be prepared to convey your authentic self, digitally. Here are some recommendations to ensure your next video interview is your best.
**Prepare for the interview by reviewing the Interview section of the Career & Co-op Center website, reading “The Job Interview” handout, conducting a practice interview with a career counselor, and/or using InterviewStream.**
- Be sure your username is professional if you are using a more social video outlet such as Skype.
- Make sure your internet connection is strong and reliable.
- Check your Wi-Fi connection. Deal with any connectivity issues well before the interview.
- If possible, schedule video interviews when you have plenty of time -- don't squeeze the call into a busy work day or lunch hour because the call may start late, or go longer than you expect.
- Be ready at least 5 minutes earlier than the schedule start of the call.
- Test your camera and microphone to ensure the image and audio are clear.
- If using Skype: Use the easy Skype Tools/Options to tweak your video image and audio. If necessary, add an external microphone for the best audio quality.
- Arrange lighting in front of you to provide full illumination of your face without harsh reflections or shadows. Natural lighting is fine.
- Your background should not be a distraction; you are the feature, not the room.
- Arrange a still, neutral, background behind you.
- Awards, plants, appropriate photos, and clocks are acceptable, but should not be excessive or distracting.
- Place Post-it notes around the edges of your screen with the key points you want to cover so that you can quickly refer to them and re-establish “eye-contact” with the interviewer.
- Set your camera or laptop at your eye level directly in front of you— you don’t want to be looking down on your interviewers.
- If your desk is visible, ensure that it is neat and organized.
- Minimize distractions on your computer by closing all unnecessary windows/tabs and programs and turning off computer alerts.
- Silence your cell phone (vibrations can be just as distracting as ringing) and put it out of sight to minimize potential for distraction.
DURING THE INTERVIEW:
- Conduct the interview in a quiet place.
- Students may reserve an interview room at the Career & Co-op Center.
- If conducting the interview in your residence hall or shared home, tell your roommates about the interview in advance and put a note on the door during the interview.
- Move pets to another room.
- If something unexpected happens despite all your preparations and you get distracted, it's best to be honest about what's happening.
- Make yourself unavailable or invisible, if using Skype, to avoid interruptions from other callers.
- Look at the camera, not the computer screen.
- It can be confusing, but when you're looking at your monitor it actually makes the interviewer feel as if you're looking away. Instead, look directly at the video camera you're using for your interview. And although you're not making eye contact in the traditional sense, this is what it will look like to the interviewer.
- Dress professionally, top to bottom.
- Some may feel it is okay to only dress professionally from the waist up; employers are aware of this, and although it may be rare, they may ask you to stand up.
- Wear darker colors. Avoid patterns that come across as too loud on screen or that will distract from you and the information you are conveying, such as anything floral or bright stripes.
- Position yourself for a head and shoulders shot. You may need to sit further back to ensure your entire face does not fill the screen.
- Practice good posture and sit in a fixed chair to avoid distracting movement, rolling, swiveling, and fidgeting.
- If possible, place your mini-video window below the webcam so that when you are checking how you look, you still appear to be making eye contact with the employer.
- Speak succinctly, clearly, and not too fast.
- Smile. Exude positivity and the interviewers will perceive you more positively.
**All other elements of interview preparation and follow-up also apply to video interviewing and can be found in our “The Job Interview” handout or on our website.**