How To Navigate/Survive and What To Expect In A Video Conferencing Interview

Interviewing is stressful in general and I really do mean it.  I happen to enjoy it, but it doesn't mean that it isn't stressful in the first place.  The things that stress me out the most are things like getting myself to the interview, what I'm wearing to the interview and perhaps the fact that my future could be riding on the way I present myself.  The last thing I listed is what freaks me out the least because if there is one thing I know for SURE about interviews, it's that you MUST go in and be confident, show yourself off and be proud of your accomplishments.  Show them who you REALLY are.  

Something that has recently been brought to the forefront of finding a job, getting into a school or the interviewing process as a whole, is Skype or Video Conferencing interviews.  As I don't really have to sit here and explain to you what Skype/Video Conference is, there are a plethora of people who probably have no idea.  More and more employers are reaching out via video as, primarily, a time saver.  It is 100% a viable option for your next interview and there are a couple of things you should know as they continue to rise in popularity.

#1: Stay Calm
I'm so tired of the annoying 'Keep Calm and Carry On' crap.  Honestly, for some reason it is just annoying and overplayed to me.  But really, in these situations, you have to stay calm when you're video chatting for an interview.  Think about it this way, you only have the upper half of your body to show body language, use that to your advantage!  That being said, chances are that your interviewer is going to notice if you're leaning on your arms, crossing them, yawning, rolling your eyes, etc.  Remember, you aren't physically infront of them in the same room, but you and your interviewer are still both able to see each other at all times.  They will read into whatever body language they can see, so make it great!  Feeling a little nervous?  Skip the full business suit and throw on yoga pants on the bottom.  As long as you are looking full on professional up at the top, you are SET TO GO.  You would be surprised to know that this calms you down in the best way.

#2: Scene 1, Act 1
Make sure you set the right scene.  Selecting a background is probably the most important decision you will make.  MAKE SURE that you are finding a section in your house that has (ideally) a plain wall.  This is for a couple of reasons: you want your interviewer to be focused on you, not your outrageous nail polish collection in the background.  Also, your interviewer can take clues from where you decide to perch yourself for the interviewer.  Is she sitting in the kitchen thats nicely cleaned or can you see the mess on the table and dishes stacked in the sink?  Doing your best to find a place in your house with a natural background will make it easy to approach the interview with a clean slate as far as personality and predetermined judgements may go.  (Whether you like these judgements or not).

#3: Sign On & Set Up
Depending upon which video provider your interviewer chooses to use, you will most likely either be sent a username to add to your Skype contacts list so that you can accept the call or you will be sent some type of link.  I cannot stress it enough, make sure that you add the name to your contact list immediately when it is given to you.  If you wait till the last second to add the contact and they are online already waiting for you to start the call, it makes you look extremely unprofessional.  You also look like you are lacking time management.  This brings back those predetermined judgements that we know we don't want, because chances are you were just waiting for the coffee to be done.  In the case of the link, there isn't much you can do to test it days before.  Just click on it about 5 minutes before your scheduled interview and sit in front of your camera waiting for your interviewer.  Nothing looks worse than your camera being open with no one there.  There's a huge chance your interviewer may hang up.  If you're interviewing with HR or management, you can bet that no one has time to waste.  Also note that if things are going wrong on their end, it's not your fault!  Stay relaxed, they may have you hangup and call right back!

#4: Send Out The Warning
Make sure that everyone in your house knows when your interview will be taking place and that you account for any other noises in the house during the time of your interview.  Think about how much it would royally suck to have some of your family members come rampaging through the house and screaming obscene things, or for the neighbor to start up the lawn mower while you're quietly tucked away trying to land a dream job.  NOT GOOD.  Perhaps send out text message reminders 10-15 minutes before if your family is extra forgetful or maybe write it on the family calendar.  Everyone's busy!  Reminders don't hurt.

#5: Some Misc. Tips
At the end of the interview, make sure you ask for the interviewers name/e-mail so you can send out a follow-up.  You want to make sure you're treating this like it's an in person interview.  If you are interviewing with multiple people, ask them all for contact information, this shows interest.  Don't be afraid to express yourself.  Because you aren't PHYSICALLY in the room, you have to make your presence known on the other end, don't be scared to do so.  After all, this is your shot.

Make sure your appearance is up to par.  Do not test any new makeup on the morning or day of your interview and the same rule applies for in person interview makeup, nice and professional.  Be sure to account for the way your lighting will be.  You don't wan to be shining like a disco ball.  Also, pay close attention to your hair.  Last time I checked, you don't really get anywhere with sloppy hair.  Appearance is super important, even though you aren't there.  They can still see you!  Get comfortable where you will be sitting.  It will look terrible if you keep fidgeting and moving around.  Not only are you uncomfortable, but so is your interviewer through the screen.  Turn your phone on silent.  THE LAST thing you need is to get a phone call/text message or the sound of an e-mail coming through.  

Have I missed anything?  How do you prepare for interviews?  Let me know in the comments below.  Also, share your video interviewing experiences with me!  You can send a tweet too!  -Brit.

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