Video interviews are a little different to normal interviews. Once you are familiar with what to expect in a video interview it’s important to take some time to ensure your set up is right so everything goes smoothly.

THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS

Check the Specs. Whilst some interview technology solutions require only a web browser (and can even be accessed by mobile devices), other older applications may require you to download specific software before the interview. Make sure to do your homework here and test everything ahead of time.  

Take Advantage of a Practice Run. If the interview solution enables you to have a trial run, then don’t pass up on this opportunity. Check you can navigate everything smoothly so that you can focus on the interview rather than your computer. If you are using a technology such as Skype, practise with a friend or mentor in advance so you get used to communicating with the medium.

Assess Your Connection. If you have problematic or variable internet, look for an alternative location that won’t be affected by slow running speed or connection loss. If you don’t have a web cam, check if your mobile device can be used instead.

Review Your Sound. Check your audio quality. Is there any distortion or echoing? Is it clear? If not, you may want to look into a better microphone.

Pay Attention to the Little Details. Make sure your web camera is clean and your computer plugged in. No-one wants to be the candidate that had their computer shut down half way through the interview.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Setting the scene for your interview is critical. Think about the image you are looking to present and create a backdrop that supports this.

Start by finding a spot that eliminates any distractions behind you. Find a simple backdrop where you are well lit and positioned (such as a plain wall or at the most a wall with a simple non-distracting piece of art).

Introduce good lighting in front of you and then check yourself out onscreen to assess the shadows and how you appear. No-one wants shadows or lighting that makes you appear tired or dull. An ideal solution is a light shining down from near your webcam. If necessary turn off competing lighting to avoid being backlit, side lit or lit from below. Always check your lighting is effective on screen.

Camera angles are essential. Set your camera so that you are looking directly into it or it is angled to look just slightly down on you so you can secure that all-essential eye contact. This may mean putting your laptop on a box or stand. It should be positioned a suitable distance away so that the presenter will see your head and shoulders. Most importantly practise speaking to the camera NOT THE SCREEN. You want to make the interviewer feel like you are in the room with them.

Manage the sounds in your environment. Are there any sounds interfering with your recording in the background? Equipment, traffic, children, pets, fans or equipment? If there are any sounds ruining your professional image, then either remove these or relocate to a quieter location. Don’t forget to ask someone to mind your dog if you have one, turn off your phone or set to silent, and if you are worried about drop ins, put an “Interview In Progress” note on your front door asking for quiet. Be mindful as well that a microphone will also pick up sounds from your movements so avoid shuffling papers.

Select your wardrobe carefully. This means finding an outfit that is appropriate for the interview but also works well onscreen. Choose colours that work on screen. Avoid stripes or patterns that can give a strobe affect or reflect light. Additionally be wary of any accessories that can make distracting sounds. Finally, make sure any makeup is non-shine or you may appear nervous.

Now you are confident the technical aspects and environment are right for your interview, it’s important to prepare for your presentation skills in front of the camera. Read how here in our article Performance Tips for a Video Interview.

Article originally written by Outplacement Australia and published in the Australian Career Practitioner Magazine.

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