Receiving your first invitation to complete a video interview may seem a little nerve wracking, but with proper preparation video interviews are a great opportunity for you to showcase your skills and talents to potential employers. As video interviews become a norm in the interviewing process, RIVS sat down with Gregory Rothstein, Photography Solutions Lead at CloudSpotter, to get the scoop on how candidates can put their best foot forward in a digital interview via webcam. From a logistical standpoint, Rothstein says that there are four key factors candidates should consider when preparing for a video interview.
4 Key Factors in Prepping for a Video Interview:
Whether you are completing video interviews from a desktop computer, laptop, mobile device or tablet, Rothstein advises candidates to complete the interview in a “tidy, quite and professional setting.” This keeps the primary focus of the digital interview on the conversation between you and the interviewer. In a live or one-way video interview, candidates should eliminate any background clutter or noise that might distract the recruiter and taint the interview. “From a recruiter’s standpoint, they want to hire an individual who is organized and if you have a background that is cluttered you aren’t giving a good impression of your organization skills,” says Rothstein. Regardless of completing a video interview from a desk in your bedroom, the kitchen table, an office or a table at the public library, clean the background behind you and your surrounding desk area for a neat, professional look.
Lighting goes hand in hand with your environment, but it is so important in successfully completing a video interview that Rothstein gives it it’s own category. “Complete video interviews in a well lit area with good ambient lighting,” says Rothstein. “The best time to shoot is during the day when natural ambient lighting is your best friend.” If you are completing your video interview outside of work hours in the morning or night, Rothstein suggests dimming lights down slightly or using a softer light to avoid harsh shadows on your face. “Sit slightly behind the light so that the light in shining down to the space in between you and your computer screen to avoid any harsh shadows,” advises Rothstein.
The way that you position yourself and your webcam can make a big difference in how you present yourself in a video interview. “Sit directly in front and centered with your computer,” says Rothstein. “Your webcam is in the center of your computer screen so that you are the primary focus of the shot.” If you’re sitting in a chair and your computer is on a table or desk, it is likely that you are looking slightly down onto your screen. To avoid an unflattering angle, prop your computer on a couple of books so that your computer is 90 degrees from your torso and that you are able to sit with a straight posture.
For a video interview, wear what you would typically wear to an in person interview. Your attire depends on the position, company and industry you are applying to, however it’s important to remember a couple of different factors when picking out your outfit for a video interview. “Choose clothes that don’t have any crazy graphics, busy stripes or bold plaid designs,” says Rothstein. “Choose a solid color shirt that has some contrast with your backdrop. For example, if your interviewing in front of a white wall, wear something like a navy blue shirt that will help you stand out.” Rothstein adds that candidates (both ladies and gentleman) can’t go wrong in a nicely ironed button down shirt with a stiff collar.
At the end of the day, the goal of an interview is for you to sell yourself and your abilities so that the recruiter wants to hire you. Appropriate environment, lighting, positioning and attire helps eliminate possible distractions and allows you and your interviewer to focus on the live video conversation or responses to the one-way video questions. Be confident in your preparation for the video interview and optimize on the opportunity to connect with your interviewer through a video interview!
Gregory Rothstein is the Photography Solutions Lead at CloudSpotter, an advanced photo analytics technology company specializing in private photo sharing. Greg graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Art, Media and Design.