As telecommuting becomes an increasingly practical business option, many companies are hiring employees that live hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the main corporate office. Thus it is only natural that many employers are also conducting the application process in the same manner, through video interviews on Blue Jeans and other video conferencing websites.
If you are anticipating your first online interview, here are ten tips for successful video interviewing:
1. Polish your Online Profile.
Before the interview even begins, you are giving potential employers a first impression with your username and profile. The best username is your first and last name. Although it should not sound like a resume, include biographical information and factual details that would be of interest. A professional-looking headshot is ideal, but one with only you and limited background is appropriate.
2. Prepare Essential Notes.
You can keep important information on the desk in front of you for easy reference. Ensure you have a copy of your resume to answer questions. You may also want to make notes on the company itself and create a list of specific questions you would like to ask. Just be sure you are familiar with the material so that you are not reading as if scripted. This would certainly help you during the video interviews on Blue Jeans.
3. Know your Equipment.
If you are unfamiliar with the equipment you are using for the call, set everything up and do a trial run with a friend. Even if you are confident, a little extra preparation can prevent something from going wrong. Ensure your computer is fully charged. Test the speakers and microphone. Check the camera angle and, if possible, adjust it so that you are looking directly at the interviewers. Be sure you understand how the program you are using works.
4. Minimize Distractions.
According to Ask the Headhunter, there are many things that may be distracting in a video conference that might otherwise go unnoticed during an in-person interview. Limit the number of extra elements in your shot. This includes background movement, like people walking behind you. It also includes your personal appearance. Dress in simple, neutral colors to prevent the camera from trying to focus on a detailed pattern. Clean off your desk and remove personal clutter from the area.
5. Turn Off Extra Computer Functions.
Facebook notifications during a job interview can be embarrassing and show others that you are not taking the process seriously. Close any extra programs running on your computer and silence your phone. This will limit interruptions as well as ensure that your computer runs smoothly.
6. Find a Quiet Place.
Be sure to inform those who live with you that you will be on a video call. You do not want to be interrupted, and loud noises elsewhere in the house are also distracting. If you have pets, keep them in another room during the interview. If you are planning to chat from a public place, such as a coffee shop, find the quietest corner of the room. Avoid going outdoors, because wind and other elements are out of your control.
7. Dress Like an Employee.
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can dress comfortably. For a job interview, your appearance should be more professional. Forbes suggests that you can be overdressed though, depending on the company. The best way to determine what is appropriate is to visit the company’s website and social media outlets to see how others dress. When in doubt, opt for a simple button-down shirt and slacks.
8. Speak Thoughtfully.
Even with the best equipment, there is a slight time delay. Speak slowly and clearly. Pause to give your interviewer time to respond. This will help you avoid talking over the other person, which can be awkward.
9. Think About your Facial Expressions.
Because your face is the primary area of focus, your facial expressions play a significant role in your interview. Smile and look directly at the camera, not at your image on the monitor. Making eye contact is difficult, but you should appear attentive at all times.
10. Send a Follow up Message.
Just as with a traditional job interview, following up afterward is appropriate. Send a thank you email within 24 hours of your meeting. Avoid generic phrases and mention a key element in the interview where appropriate. This is also an opportunity to highlight your strengths or a topic that you have not had time to address previously. However, the email should not be overly lengthy.
Even when you are properly prepared for a job interview, the process can be somewhat stressful. Once you have done all you can in advance, it is time to relax, take a breath, and smile. Let your personality show through and be confident that you have made your best effort, regardless of the result.