Working remotely sometimes means getting hired remotely – which often means nailing a video interview. Whether it’s over Skype or using some other tech, communicating your qualifications and reading the interviewer’s body language through the barrier of a lens can be a challenge. So how can you ensure success?
First, don’t mess up the obvious. Clearly you want to look presentable and be in a professional enough space. Your gear should be working (test it beforehand) and if the interviewer is halfway around the world, make sure you’ve worked out the time difference correctly (different countries don’t always switch daylight saving time on the same day).
But let’s assume you have the basics down and are looking for more advanced tricks. The Internet offers a few. Blog Cube Rules, for instance, has a great post on the surprisingly tricky issue of eye contact. Where should you look when you’re giving your answers?
If there is just the camera, focus on the camera and nowhere else. If the interview is between you on one side of the camera and another person on the other side of the camera, focus on the camera. If you notice all of those television talking heads, when the news gets read, there are only two places they look: into the camera or at their notes. They don’t look off to the side, they don’t look up in the air, they don’t glance sideways; no, they look into the camera or at their notes…. Staring at that camera is hard work. But look at it you must.
On the other hand, you could have a person in the room with you and a person on the far end both doing the interview. In this case, if the person in the room is asking the question, answer the question to the person in the room by looking at that person. If the person on the far end asks the question, answer the question by looking into the camera.
As remote working becomes more common, interviews using video probably will too, so now is the time to train yourself to excel at them. One way to do that is through recording and reviewing your efforts, which is relatively simple if you’re using Skype. Inc. has video interview tips geared towards interviewers, but their advice on how to set up recording could just as easily apply to those answering the questions:
When you first set up a Skype account, there’s not a direct ‘record’ button for you to push, but there are several plugins that are compatible with Skype. A popular plugin is Vodburner, which records video and audio from both sides and also allows you to edit it and upload the content to YouTube (s goog) and other platforms.
How? Simply click on the ‘Extras’ option located under the ‘Tools’ tabs on the menu bar. From there click on the ‘VodBurner Video Call Recorder’ tab and download the plugin.
Sure, watching yourself interview might be wince-inducing, but if you’re brave enough, it’s also a great opportunity to objectively see what impression you’re making and which answers are still in need of some improvement.