The Interview of the Future… is Here… NOW!
Posted by: The Novo Group on March 29, 2010
By Allie Milbrath
Nothing is more important than the impression you give in a face to face interview. Recruiters and Hiring Managers can learn a lot about a candidate over the phone, but it is the face to face interview that will make or break your opportunity to receive an offer from the company you are interviewing with. We are in a new wave of interviewing. Ten years ago we would not have imagined substituting an in person interview with looking at someone through a computer screen. That is today’s reality. Companies are interviewing via webcam, Skype and a number of interview specific websites to decide what candidates to actually meet in person.
Interviewing candidates costs money. In a time where companies are stretching their dollars, interviewing via webcam is a good business decision. This method saves money not only on travel and hotel stays, but more importantly, the hiring team’s time. Interviewing takes the employee’s time away from being productive with their own responsibilities. If you bring in a candidate that is clearly not a fit after sitting down with them for 15 minutes, you are stuck with them for at least a couple of hours. Online interviewing solves a big part of this problem. Companies are looking for the candidate to make a strong enough impression via webcam to ensure they will be worth the investment to bring in for a face to face interview.
In this new wave of interviewing, candidates are not always aware of the preparation necessary to nail the interview. There are several factors to consider before you appear on screen to a potential employer. Consider these pointers before your next (or first) web interview.
You do not want to appear as a shadow with no facial features. This happens often when a computer is set up in front of a window or a lamp. When light is coming in from behind you, it hides not only your beautiful face, but your expressions that are important in getting your point across. Make sure to have adequate lighting around the room. If you have too much you will appear to be very pale and again it will mask your facial expressions. Do some lighting tests with friends to get the right balance so you look your best.
Carefully plan your attire when doing a web interview. As with any in person interview, a suit is necessary. The color of your suit is very important. If you have light walls, you will want to wear a dark suit and vice versa. If you wear a suit that is a similar tone to your walls, you will create the illusion that you have a floating head, which is distracting to the interviewer. Wear a high neckline, leave the dangling earrings on your nightstand and keep your necklace simple. Remember, the camera will focus on your chest up. There is no need for the interviewer to be forced to focus on anything but what you are saying.
Sit upright in your chair. Slouching will force your face closer to the camera. You should keep your face about an arm’s length away from the camera. If you are too close, the interviewer will be too acquainted with your pores and any skin imperfections. Also if you are too close and are using hand gestures, you may knock the camera off your computer if it is not attached already. Sit with both feet on the ground. If you cross your legs your shoulders have a tendency to turn on an angle. Remain conscious of your posture for the entire interview.
Where to look (VERY important!)
It is very natural to look at the computer screen while having a conversation online. However, when you do this it appears your eyes are half closed to the person on the other end. When the interviewer is asking a question, you can AND should look at the screen. You would be looking at them in an interview if you were across the desk for them, as you should over a web cam. When it is your turn to answer, look directly at the camera. This will reflect eye contact on the other end. Candidates make a real impression when they follow this practice. Just think of it like this, if you do not look at the camera, it would be like being across the desk from the interviewer and staring at the floor when answering their question. You come across as confident and more prepared if you follow this simple, yet extremely important detail
Test, practice and be prepared for problems:
Make sure you test your web cam prior to the interview. You do not want to panic if something is going wrong five minutes before the start of your interview. Make sure to test with a friend to ensure your lighting is right and the picture and sound comes through clearly.
Prepare for your web interview the same way you would for an in person. You can have some notes handy in case you draw a blank, but you cannot read off your cheat sheet. Practice answering interview questions for a few days before the interview to be prepared.
Always have your cell phone or land line handy when starting an interview. Web cams are not perfected yet and there are often sound problems. You may end up having to put your web cam on mute and call into the interviewer for sound. Even if you end up having to use a phone to communicate, it is still important to look into the camera.
The web based interview is just as important as a phone and in person interview. Make sure to follow these basic rules of etiquette. Remember, you are convincing the company it is worth the investment to bring you into their organization for a “real” face to face interview. Good luck and welcome to the interview of the future!