So, nice work; you have secured an interview, presumably for a company and job role you find attractive. However, it is to be a video-conference or web-cam interview format … So, should you be preparing and presenting in a different way? Are the processes and protocols different or do the same rules apply? Read on!
Well, my ‘standard’ interview prep still applies, i.e. be prepared, be confident, be enthusiastic and be specific. See my blog for way more details on preparing to smash your interview: http://macstaff.co.uk/interview-preperation-technique/
However, there are a whole new set of tips and tricks, outlined below, to help avoid the snakes and climb the ladders of a webcam interview.
Test Technology: I would highly suggest to ‘test-your-tech’, beforehand, especially if such an appointment is not part of your regular routine. E.g. ensuring strong and ideally high-speed network connection, reliable power supply and appropriate sound quality in advance. Maybe your wifi & router set-up is great but I’m a ‘belt-and-braces’ guy and I’d suggest going ‘hard-wired’.
Practice Technology; You should also do some dry-runs from the perspective of ensuring that you are comfortable using the technology especially if you are screen sharing etc. This hopefully mans you won’t get stuck and but also will appear confident as you navigate the appointment.
Do Not Disturb: Obviously pre-empt and plan to avoid your personal potential disturbances, however a handful that come up regularly are: Distracting computer pop-ups or alerts, other phone calls, babies and children demanding attention, dogs barking, doorbells ringing, miscellaneous alarms.
Prepare your environment: For a telephone or webcam interview it’s best to select a quiet location, free from distractions and in an environment, that allows you personally to best focus on the task in hand. However, in the webcam scenario you also have to consider aesthetics. I’d recommend a clean, clear uncluttered background, avoiding any personal photos, furniture or decoration. A white wall behind you will be perfect and remember things always look better when captured through a clean camera lense!
Greet appropriately. My suggestion is to avoid waving which is for some reason people’s natural reaction when faced with a webcam! 🙂 I recommend to commence as you would a ‘regular’, interview .. Hi good afternoon, I’m Anthony McCormack, good to meet you etc.
Dress for the interview: This should go without saying, (but doesn’t) 🙂 Dress for this interview as you would for any other professional interview, typically smart traditional business dress. Albeit via technology, it is still an in-person interview and you will be assessed on your presentation as much as everything else. Always err on the side of overdressing, even if this feels weird in your home and do not be put off if the interviewer is more casual, you are interviewing after all not them!
PS I also gather that sound will be better with ear-phones, however I’d personally suggest avoiding these, with a view to presenting visually as close as you can to you would for a face-to-face appointment.
Body language: An interviewees body language can be even more obvious as it appears on the screen, and therefore is if anything more important than in a ‘regular interview. So as ever use open body language, keep a good level of energy, be animated without being distracting and keep half an eye on your positioning on the small-screen.
Smile: 🙂 … (at the camera). With more than usual to think about as you interview online, smiling is easy to forget. However, if you are poker-faced throughout this may hamper rapport, and you may come across as serious or boring. Conversely, the best way to engage with the interviewer and project your personality across is to SMILE! PS remember looking at the camera is in place of maintaining eye contact, if you’re watching the screen, ensure the camera is very close by otherwise you’re going to look shifty!
Clarity: Take extra care to speak clearly as it’s easier to be misunderstood on a video-conference versus in person especially if technology/environment is less than ideal. This may mean you should speak more slowly especially if you are nervous, prone to speaking fast or have an accent that may not be familiar to the interviewer.
Prepare for the worst. With technology becoming more reliable and web-cam interviews becoming more common, more often than not, things go ahead without glitches. However, I suggest, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Swap telephone numbers in advance, that way you can switch to phone for just sound if you have an audio issue or ditch the video altogether and carry on. Nothing worse than having to re-schedule another slot.
PS if you do have technical issues, don’t panic, **it happens. Apologise, troubleshoot and switch to plan B if needs be. No point in having your CV say you’re great under pressure and then freaking out when you can’t get your sound working! 🙂
Best of luck with your video-conference or webcam interview, however if the role is a good match and you’re well prepared you won’t need luck! Have you got any wins or learns regarding webcam interviews that you can share? I’m always keen to hear people’s ‘real-life’ experiences.
All the best,
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