In February of 2013, one of my team members wrote a wonderful “how to prepare” article when it comes to Video Conference Interviews. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out.
I decided to write a ‘follow on” article because as I have prepared many individuals for Video Conference interviews over the years, I have realized there are a couple of very simple key points that were missed.
First, let’s discuss Eye Contact. In many cultures (especially true in the US), making eye contact encourages strong feelings of connection. And without making eye contact with your audience, you are likely to be seen as disinterested or not trustworthy.
But maintaining eye contact during a video interview is tricky. Because of our desire to make eye contact with the individual “through the screen”, you will naturally look at the other person’s image. This, of course, means that they see you looking down, or over, or up…not the “eye to eye” contact the other individual needs when it comes to feeling connected with you.
Instead, you will look disinterested…not engaged…and maybe present a feeling that you are not trustworthy.
So here is the simple tip. Look at the camera. Warning though, this will make you feel uncomfortable because human instinct will keep drawing your vision back to the person’s image on the screen. To avoid losing that eye contact, put some sticky notes on your screening reminding you to look back up at the camera.
The second key point is just as simple. Make sure you and your background represent a professional appearance. I recommend you do a dry-run so you can scrutinize how you look in the video frame. When I conduct dry-runs with candidates, we almost always adjust the angle of the camera to provide a better view of their face. You don’t want to be too close to the camera, nor too far away. And you should be in the center of the frame with the camera at eye level.
Also, as you conduct this dry run, scrutinize your background. Are your bookshelves, tables and desks neat and tidy? Are there inappropriate pictures on your wall? Is the lighting appropriate and predictable? I have had countless candidates conduct their dry-run in front of a set of windows, not thinking that the light from those windows will vary throughout the day, causing them to be a black blur come interview time.
A video conference interview shouldn’t be any more intimidating than a Face-to-Face interview, and following these tips will help you prepare and present your best to the interviewer…but of course, if you have questions just let us know.
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