Video conferencing interview – tips for a first timer

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Q:  I am doing my first video interview this week.  I am experienced interviewing face-to-face onsite with a company.  This video interviewing is all new to me.  What can I do to prepare?

A:  A great question, and timely for many!  More and more employers are using video conferencing tools for interviews because of social distancing concerns.

Here are some tips:

  1. Test your technology. If you are using Zoom, WebEx or Skype, download the software and test it out with a friend before your interview.  Make sure that your camera is working and ensure that you have a good audio setting.  You want to also confirm that your WIFI signal is strong and there are no hiccups.
  2. Dress the part. Although it is a video interview, that does not mean a fuzzy robe and messy hair.  Dress appropriately, as if you were meeting the interviewer(s) face to face.
  3. What is your background? When you test out your camera, pay particular attention to your background.  Does it show an unmade bed or a sink full of dishes?  Try to find a quiet spot and ensure that the background is appropriate.  Your lighting should allow your face and expressions to be visible.  Critique your chair height, angle of your camera and body language.
  4. Eliminate interruptions and distractions. Hang up a sign if you need to but avoid situations where a dog is barking, a family member walks behind you or a telephone rings.  Some prefer using a headset to eliminate background noise.  Use your headset on a practice call before the actual video interview.
  5. Ask how documents will be shared. If possible, email your resume in advance.  Or else familiarize yourself with the document sharing tool with the software.  If someone asks, can you share Have a copy of your resume in front of you.
  6. A strong start is important. When the interview starts, introduce yourself.  Offer a warm greeting to get the interview started on a positive note.
  7. Leave a positive impression. At the end of the interview, ask questions to demonstrate interest.  If you don’t have this information, ask for the interviewer(s) contact information so you can send a thank-you note.  Thank the interviewer(s) and ask about next steps.
  8. After the interview, you should send a thank-you email or note.

With each video interview, you will gain confidence with the technology and the tools being used.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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