Archive for March, 2010

Make a Great Impression in Your Video Interview

Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , , , , , |

Video interviews have become a standard practice with many companies and recruiters. In addition to telephone calls candidates need to be prepared to participate in pre-screen video interviews. Your video interview may take place right on your computer with a webcam, whether it is with a specialized service such as Vonei, or a video chat service such as Skype. Being interviewed in front of a webcam brings more importance to how you look, the background of your room, and what you are wearing. Unlike telephone screening calls, you shouldn’t look out the window, down at the floor, or anywhere other than the webcam. Here are tips on how to make a great impression in your video interview.

Preparation: Decide what you want the recruiter to get from your interview, and be prepared to succinctly discuss those points. It helps to write down talking points prior to an interview and practice what you will say. You can’t expect to have your best performance if you are not comfortable with talking into a webcam, so be sure to practice. You can video chat with a friend for their feedback, or you can record webcam practice sessions on your computer. Practice will not only improve your presentation, but it also is a good time to make sure your webcam is working properly, the audio quality is good, and your background image is professional. Find out which video chat service provider will be used by the recruiter. You may be able to sign up for a free account and practice with that service prior to the interview. As the saying goes, prior planning prevents poor results.

Environment: You want the recruiter to focus on you and what you are saying, not a vintage poster on the wall or a noise in the background. The background must be clean and professional. A plain wall, or a clean and organized bookcase/credenza will work great. It is best to be alone in a small, quiet room so the audio does not echo and there are no annoying background noises. No dogs in the room please! Lighting is critical for a good video image on a webcam. Good lighting should be on your face and never behind you. You may need to place a lamp on your desk by your webcam to achieve good lighting on your face. Practice with several lighting configurations until you are happy with the results.

Your Image: As with any interview you should always dress professionally. Remember that the webcam will only capture images waist up, so be sure you wear suitable interview clothing for the position. Try to avoid wearing striped or checked shirts as webcams and Internet connectivity may cause the lines to run together in the video. You want to avoid excessive movement as that can be detracting to the recruiter, so try to maintain a good position in front of the webcam and avoid looking away to notes. Be careful about your facial expressions, just as you would in an in-person interview. At the same time you don’t want to be “stiff”. Show some positive emotion and smile. Use small hand motions to express points, but keep them close to your side so it shows in the webcam view. Keep in mind that with a waist-up image, any motion will seem exaggerated, so even small gestures will be powerful in making a point.

Webcam: A quality webcam will make a big difference in how the recruiter sees you, so be sure to use a webcam that has at least 1.3Mp of image resolution. If you have a lower end webcam, or a low pixel built-in webcam on your laptop, consider getting a quality external webcam prior to your interview. The good news is quality webcams can be purchased online for as low as $20 USD. We’ve seen webcams that claim more than 2Mp resolution, but it isn’t worth the extra money as the video interviewing services and your Internet bandwidth will not be able to take advantage of the size of the images. Our experiences show that 1.3Mp provides great video quality. For audio you can use the built-in webcam mic, or use a headset with microphone. Be sure to practice with your equipment so you are comfortable with how it works, the quality, and how you look while using it. For additional tips see the article How To Improve Your Webcam Video Quality.

Recording: Our final tip is to consider that the video interview could be recorded, either by the recruiter or by you. The recruiter may record simply to pass along good candidates to the hiring company or hiring manager. You can use recordings for self improvement. You can view the recording at a later date and decide how you want to improve your next video interview. You can also share it with friends for critique. If you decide to record be sure to practice with the software in advance of the interview! The last thing you want to do is fiddle around with the recording software controls instead of talking with the recruiter. CamStudio has an easy-to-use, free screen recording tool that you may find helpful in recording your interview. A note of caution; it is a legal requirement to gain consent for recording conversations. Prior to choosing to record the interview you should gain the other party’s consent.

Best of luck on your video job interview! Please share your feedback with us on how these tips worked for you, and any other tips you would recommend.

For more information about Vonei LLC see www.vonei.com. For an online demo of the video interview service email us at info@vonei.com or call us toll free on 888-698-6634.

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