Take a deep breath. You got this. You probably use or know about FaceTime or Skype with friends. In this instance, it is a job interview, so the situation is a bit more formal. This time the objective is to convey career information, establish your credentials/value, present your personality and attributes. Easy.
Let’s Get You Ready for Your Close-Up
Before we get into the interview, let’s talk about your camera’s view from the other side of the camera. The interviewer can get clues about you from your background.
- Find a quiet place to take the call.
- Close open tabs on your computer or mobile to conserve your bandwidth.
- Think lighting – you should be easily seen – not in a darkened area – turn on lamps or move near a window. The light should be on you, not behind you.
- Check background – declutter if necessary – find a non-distracting neutral area.
- Notify everyone around you that you have a business call – do not disturb.
- Turn off other devices that might ring unexpectedly.
- Dress appropriately as if in an in-person interview.
- Position your webcam/phone so that you fill the middle of the screen.
- Move children and pets out of the immediate area. Have someone supervise them.
Look at the interviewer if they are on camera or look at the camera lens. Remember to smile.
You get a little more than 60 seconds to establish rapport with the interviewer. Start with a confident, relaxed greeting. Look at the camera. Smile.
Good afternoon, Ms. XXX, I’m looking forward to our conversation.
The interviewer will likely lead the initial conversation with general comments, e.g., about the weather, the video equipment, your hometown, etc. Pay attention.
You want to be memorable. The hiring manager wants to know who you are professionally, what you do well, the value you could contribute, and what makes you a viable candidate to fit the position.
Your resume has already been analyzed by the company. Have your copy in front of you. Be prepared to share evidence about projects to support the accomplishments on your resume. Think about lessons learned and your contributions to successes.
Preparation Calms Nerves
Treat this with the seriousness of a real interview. Create a conducive environment by finding a quiet place with a reliable Internet connection (try to avoid using public wi-fi).
Test your computer or webcam in advance to be sure your microphone is set to utilize internal speakers. Try playing music through the speakers. If possible, see if your computer has a video application already installed to test how you look and sound.
Position yourself in front of the camera so that you are in the middle of the screen, visible from the second button of your shirt, or just below your necklace. Dress appropriately and groom as if for an in-person interview. Place the camera at eye-level with you looking directly at the lens. Avoid looking up or down at the lens.
Minimize any background noise. Let everyone around you know you are on a business call.
Check your background – declutter if necessary. It would be great if you can record some test sessions to objectively review how you project.
Get your submitted resume in front of you. Be ready to explain your work history. Make some notes about the contributions or improvements you added while in positions. It would be great if you had a “story” about what was going on when you arrived and how you made a positive difference. Above all, try to use some quantifiable terms, e.g., improved production by xx% or hired xxx new employees or served xxx customers during peak hours, etc.
Be ready to explain why you are seeking the position and why you are interested in their company. Talk about what appeals to you about the company and how you could contribute to the quality and pursuit of its mission.
Sit up straight to help project your voice. Have a glass of water handy, in case your mouth gets dry. Interviewing can be nerve-wracking.
Remember, the session will be recorded and probably viewed by other people making the hiring decision, which means you must project your personality and enthusiasm through the camera. Smile often.
Most of all, listen to the entire questions, then answer. Repeat the issue posed if it helps you quickly gather your thoughts.
I’m happy to have a conversation about helping you prepare for your next interview or discuss how my career management services can help you “market your brilliance.” Below, you can download my free checklist related to video interviewing.