by Jessica Oaks
With Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime – to name just a few examples of video conferencing platforms – now commonplace, it’s easier than ever to speak with someone via video. Long promised in science fiction films, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Trek, video conferencing is no longer a far-off pipe dream. It’s here. And increasingly, the business world is using it for everything from internal meetings to job interviews.
Here are some things you should know if you happen to get such an invite:
Use a Reliable Internet Connection.
Above all else, make certain that your Internet connection works properly and is reliable. In the not-too-distant future, 5G wireless technology will make it possible to video conference from anywhere, using a smartphone or tablet, but in the meantime, we recommend doing so from a secure Wi-Fi network if you can. Though you probably could interview from your phone, why take the risk? Our current 4G network isn’t quite up to the task yet. Instead, sit down in a quiet space on a secure network, so that you aren’t fighting for bandwidth.
Complete a Trial Run.
If possible, complete a trial run before the day of your interview with a friend or family member so that you can test out all of the individual components: camera, lights, microphone, and of course, yourself. Ask for constructive feedback from a trusted confidant, and see if there’s anything that you can improve upon or do differently. Perhaps you speak too softly? Or perhaps you could improve your posture? More likely, there may be a technical issue that needs to be addressed in advance of your real interview. A trial run allows you to fine-tune things and weed out any issues that prevent you from putting your best foot forward.
Though many office environments are starting to adopt more casual attire as part of their dress code, don’t assume this to be the case for your interview. Dress appropriately and professionally, because as they say, first impressions are everything. Remember, you want to be taken seriously for the position you are interviewing for. Dressing in a professional manner shows that you are respectful of the position, the opportunity, and of the individuals you’re interviewing with. If you end up being hired, then you can inquire about what the dress code is – and only then!
Interview in a Quiet Space.
Whatever you do, don’t conduct your video interview at your local coffee shop or cafe. You want to be able to hear the interviewers, and they want to hear you! Instead, interview in a quiet space where you can be clearly heard. Background music, ambient sounds, other people talking, and pets and babies are all distractions that can interrupt a good conversation. And though these things by themselves may not kill your chances, it’s best to give yourself the best odds possible. Consider setting aside a room in your house for your interview, and close any doors or windows to cut out background sounds.
Set Up a Small “TV” Studio.
Speaking of giving yourself the best odds possible, clear audio and visuals will help ensure your interview goes as smoothly as possible. Treat your job interview as a mini video production; you’ll want ample lighting, a clear picture that is properly framed, audio that is legible and distinct, and a background that is complementary, rather than distracting or overwhelming. The camera angle should be neither too low nor too high, your face shouldn’t be hidden in shadow, and your audio should be free of static and echo. You can test all of these individual elements during your trial run to guarantee a terrific picture on interview day.
Treat your video interview just as you would an in-person interview. Be yourself, first and foremost. The interviewers likely want to learn as much about you as a person as they do your prior experiences and technical know-how. Be personable and amiable, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t shy away from levity and charm. A job interview is your opportunity to sell yourself – put forward a confident, talented, self-assured face, and you can’t lose. And remember, if the interviewers weren’t considering you for a position, they wouldn’t take the time to interview you in the first place! So shake off those jitters.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.