Video interviews aren’t just something to think of as “futuristic” happening only to the George Jetsons of the world living in Orbit City. Video interviews are here and now, and every job seeker should know about the technology and protocol.
Many companies are relying on video interviews as a way to reach out nationally and even globally for potential employees. There are two types of video interviews that companies are conducting — live interviews (using Skype, FaceTime, or LiveMessenger) and recorded Question-and-Answer interviews, also called “time-shifted” video interviews.
In a recorded interview, the job seeker is directed to a website to answer questions on video, using their computer’s webcam. Video interviews provide an apples-to-apples approach to assessing candidates. All applicants are asked the same questions, and the hiring manager can review and rate the responses. These interviews can be easily set up by the company’s HR staff and the recording forwarded to the hiring manager for selection for the next round of interviews.
 Some of the technology providers for time-shifted video interviews include:
       HireVue (
       InterviewStream (
       Take the Interview (
       JobOn (
       VideoView (
More common, however, are live video interviews.
A recent survey by OfficeTeam found that 63% of HR managers use video technology to conduct job interviews. This was a significant increase from 14% who conducted Skype interviews in 2011.
Skype usage has increased dramatically in recent years: more than 300 million minutes of video calls are logged every day. An increasing number of those calls are job interviews.
Remember, this is a “real” live interview, and you should be as prepared as if you were sitting across the desk from the interviewer. In fact, you may have to prepare more! After all, you do not have to clean your room before going off to an in-person job interview, but you do need to clear a space for your Skype interview. Make sure the background interesting, but not distracting.
Check out your technology well in advance of the interview. Make sure you have Internet connectivity and that your webcam and microphone are working. You may also have to download the software if it is the first time you are using the application.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for a live video interview is practice. Practice doing a couple of Skype interviews with friends or family members before your job interview. Check the lighting and your volume.
As with a phone interview, recording your practice video interview can help you identify areas to work on, or fix. Have your test partner take a few screenshots if you cannot record the call. You want to make sure your webcam is providing a decent picture. If you do not have a built-in webcam or yours is not providing a clear picture, high definition webcams are available for under $100.
Clarify with the interviewer who will initiate the Skype call and double-check the username. Make sure your Skype username is professional (and if not, create a new one for job search purposes). Also be sure to account for any time zone differences.
Tips for video interviews:
Dress nicely — more than one job seeker has scheduled a Skype interview, thinking it would be voice only — and then accidentally found himself or herself on a video Skype call.
Positioning is important. Prop up the computer so that you are not looking down at it and practice where to sit so you are framed correctly by the webcam.
Look at the webcam when you speak – not at the interviewer’s face on your screen. When you look into the camera, it appears to the interviewer that you are looking at them directly.
Use a USB-connected headset for an interview instead of using the computer’s speakers. Headsets are inexpensive and can provide a much clearer interview experience.
If using a laptop, plug it in so you won’t run out of battery life in the middle of the call.
Turn off notifications on your computer and close your other software programs. You do not want to be distracted by beeps every time you receive an email.
Smiling is an important strategy for video interviews. Practice this in a mirror ahead of time.
Be mindful of your nervous habits. Just like in a face-to-face interview, the interviewer will notice these more than you might think.
If you have an online portfolio, keep the link handy. You may want to share it with your interviewer.
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