IT Employment

Video job interview: How to do it right

If you have to do a video call for your next job interview, these 4 tips can help you to not end up as the applicant with the weird story.

If you're on the job hunt, there's a chance your next interview might be via video.

Chris Brown, director of human resources at InterCall, said there are a few reasons for that. At-home staff in IT is more common, plus the technology for handling conferencing and collaboration has vastly improved. And, if you're going to be talking with a recruiter, it's a lot more convenient for them.

"It's a matter of being able to stack up interviews throughout the day and consistently have them run within the timeline," he said, and the recruiter saves time on little time-sucks like small talk and making sure the candidate can find the office. He also said the no-show rate for video interview is lower than in-person interviews.

In any case, all this means that you might be faced with interviewing for a job from your bedroom or den. Here are a few tips for dealing with the format.

1. Check the Tech

Whatever platform you're using whether it's GoToMeeting, Skype, a Google + Hangout or some other video conferencing software, always test it first. You don't want to jump on a minute before your interview and find out there's some plugin you need to download. Brown even suggested researching the software's support resources about any system requirements, or which browser works best. Otherwise, you'll look unprepared, and any time you lose from the interview, you probably won't get back.

2. Set the room

If you can't be in an office, try for a professional setting. Be aware of what can be seen from the webcam, and the distance you need to be from it, as well as where you should be looking (at the webcam, mostly) when you talk.

That also includes paying attention to lighting.

"I've done interviews where the person looked like they're in the witness protection program because they had the sun right behind them," Brown said.

3. Put your pets away

This tip is really about limiting potential distractions. Also, as Brown said, you don't want to be the candidate with a crazy story because something went off the rails - like your dogs went nuts in the background.

"You're stuck with that story as an applicant, and that's going to be the story. 'Oh yeah, you know what, I was interviewing a guy and he sounded great, and two dogs came barking in and it took him a while to put the dogs away,'" Brown said.

4. Be professional

This is broad, but really what it means is that you're dressed appropriately, you're on time, and you're prepared. So, no baseball caps or t-shirts. Either ask about prefered dress, or opt for business casual, Brown said. Make sure your phone is off, and on the off chance that something goes awry, that you know who to call immediately- don't keep the interviewer waiting. It's your show, Brown said.

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About

Erin Carson is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the impact of social media in business and the ways technology is transforming the future of work.

2 comments
Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

in addition to the lighting comment regarding back lighting, another tip is to pay attention to the front lighting.

- using only overhead room lighting usually looks bad. Use a desk light at a 45 degree angle to the screen, And (this is important) put a white reflector at the same angle on the opposite side of your face. Naturally, none of this setup should be visible from the camera. This setup achieves two purposes, it fully lights your face with soft shadows to give it form. It gives a visual separation from the background since it will be dimmer than your face.
- put the monitor window showing your interviewer directly and immediately below  the camera lens. Any further away or left/right and  you won't have sufficient eye contact with your interviewer. It will look like you are talking to someone else during the session.

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