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Do’s and Don’ts for a Video Interview

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Leading video conference tools (SKYPE, GoToMeeting and others) are becoming ubiquitous tools for recruiting.  You can make video and audio calls, exchange chat messages (using Skype’s software) on your computer and/or mobile device just over the internet. Many of the services are even available for free, or you can of course pay for added features. All of these tools use your computer’s webcam or an external web cam for quick video calls.

More and more companies have begun using these tools recently. The do's and don’ts list for a video interview is different from both in-person and phone interviews. Here’s a good start if you are prepping for a video interview.

video interview

Some of our favorite video interview tips for executive-level interviews are:

Look at the camera, not the screen.
It’s not unusual to want to watch yourself or your interviewer during a video interview session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.  One trick here is to center the face of the other person on your screen to be right below your camera.

Proper Dress.
When it comes to what you wear, treat your video interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally. A professional dress code with video interviews is expected.

Select the optimal location.
Pick a quiet place to interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you can be the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral.

Practice.
Doing a run through interview with a friend beforehand is helpful because your first few video interview calls are likely to feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen (it’s hard not to look at yourself!). Play around with everything beforehand so that when it’s interview time you are prepared.

Close other programs on your computer.
Getting Facebook notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional. Before your interview, make sure all other windows on your computer are closed.

Eliminate possible interruptions.
If you are interviewing in a house with multiple people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview while securing any animals away from your interview space.

Make certain your profile is professional.
Unlike an in-person or phone interview, your first impression during a video interview doesn’t actually involve you. The first thing your interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture, so double check that they are both interviews appropriate (professional).

Body language.
Not all physical cues translate from in-person interviews to video interviews, which make the ones that do even more important. Be sure to have good posture but don’t be stiff. Hold yourself up but be relaxed as well. Don’t slump forward.

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About the author

Ed Hunter's picture

Ed Hunter is an executive and career coach with BlueSteps Executive Career Services. Ed believes in coaching and training the whole person. In each session, he is fully present and deeply intuitive, but also grounded in the real world. Ed's pre-coaching experience includes ten years in higher education administration, as well as leadership role in marketing and sales in the publishing, healthcare and geospatial technology. Ed also hold an MBA from St. Joseph’s University, and a certification of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) from the International Coaching Federation.

Learn more about the BlueSteps team of career advisors and the services they provide to help you improve your career trajectory here.

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