If you expect to look for a job in 2015, you may face a video interview.  Most companies now use them, and, as with any job interview, the stakes are high:  it takes just one-tenth of a second to form a first impression, and first impressions are hard to change.  But how do you make a great impression when confronted with all the technological delays and distractions that a video interview can create?

Here are seven tips:

  • Check the shot. What will the interviewer see?  You want a simple, uncluttered background that keeps the focus on you – not your personal effects or piles of unfinished work. 
  • Dress the part. Candidates tend to dress down for video interviews, especially when interviewing from home.  Don’t make that mistake.  Dress as you would for any job interview – no sweats!  And consider how your outfit looks on camera.  A white shirt may wash you out, and if you’re sitting in front of a white wall, you could literally blend into the background – not a good look for any candidate.  
  • Minimize interruptions.  If you’re at home, make sure anyone you live with knows not to interrupt you.  Keep pets in another room. Turn off apps that might disrupt the interview.  Put your phone on mute.  Shut the door if you can.    
  • Practice!  Check all your technology in advance and do at least one mock interview on camera beforehand.  That way, once the interview starts, you’ll be able to concentrate on the conversation instead of fidgeting with the camera or worrying about the connection.
  • Make eye contact.  As unnatural as it may feel, look at the camera, not at the screen.  That’s the way to make eye contact during a video interview, and research shows that people who make eye contact are perceived as more likable and trustworthy.
  • Stay animated.  When you interview in a corporate office, you probably get an adrenaline rush that gives you all the energy you need and then some.  In a quiet room at home, many miles from your interviewers, your energy can drop.  Sometimes candidates on video interviews slump over so far in their seats that I’ve wondered if they were considering a nap.  Show your energy and passion for the job.    
  • Keep your cool.  As with any activity involving technology, sometimes things go wrong during video interviews.  Don’t let that fluster you: a glitch can give you a great opportunity to set yourself apart as a candidate with poise, humor and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Follow these tips, and also do all the other research and preparation that you would for an in-person interview, and you can start the 2015 job search knowing that you’re ready for your close-up.

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