On-Camera Job Interview Tips: How To Nail The Video Interview – Forbes

recent survey found that 80% of business professionals report using video conferencing for 1:1 meetings, while 78% use it to facilitate team meetings. Getting good at video in the job interview the key: making a strong impression via video is vital to your career. That’s the guidance from Gayle Wiley, an executive at Austin-based Lifesize, a leader in video conferencing technology. “At Lifesize, we conduct 90% or more of our initial candidate screens and over 50% of our follow-on interviews via video,” Gayle says.

Here are five things you can do, right now, to make your next video interview your best.

  1. What’s Your Background? Not your professional background – all of the things that are behind you in the shot! Are you standing in front of a hot mess, or a cool, calm and uncluttered background? Before signing on, test your technology and ensure that your mobile phone or any smart device is turned off to prevent any sort of unnecessary diversion. “Additionally, make sure that any pets or family members are in a different room at the time of the interview,” Gayle says. It’s critical as a job candidate to keep variables under control, decreasing the risk of any sort of disturbance or obstruction that could hinder the quality of the interview. “Giving a recruiter or hiring manager your full attention with minimal interruption is the first step towards establishing a strong connection with your potential employer.” Checking your background also means hitting every possible “Do not disturb” button on your phone, tablet or computer. Extra beeps and buzzes are a great way to share distractions – so take those disturbances out of your next video interview
  2. Eye See You: While it may seem like a minor detail, proper camera positioning goes a long way towards making a video interview feel more personal. You want to be looking straight into the camera, not giving them the full “Nostril-damus” up-your-nose shot. So put your laptop on a stack of books, and get that camera at eye-level. Neither too close or too far way is the key, according to Gayle. “The ability to see someone’s facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body language can contribute to having a meaningful human connection — even over video.” And just like when you are meeting someone IRL, the eyes have it: “Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview is also crucial for fostering connection,” Gayle says. Eye contact establishes trust and, on a non-verbal level, demonstrates subject matter knowledge. (Shifty eyes or looking away indicates uncertainty, answer-chasing, or insecurity – three things you should try to eliminate by making better eye contact). Gayle says, “It’s okay to glance at notes from time to time, but this should be infrequent; an interviewer will notice if your eyes are regularly off the screen.”
  3. Mr. Roboto Is A No-No: Simple gestures are a positive way to come across as authentically human — it’s better to make natural hand gestures over the course of an interview than to appear overly stiff or robotic on camera. But how do you do that? The answer is counter-intuitive. You improve your gestures by not focusing on your gestures. If you’re on camera wishing you were less than who you are, you will be. If you are worried about your hands instead of thinking about how you can help your next employer solve their supply chain issues in Eastern Europe, you’re concentrating on the wrong things. Your authentic message only comes across when you stop focusing on yourself, and start focusing on the service you can provide. Want an example? Watch Elon Musk deliver a presentation. Yes, dear reader, Mr. Musk has a delivery that makes my eyes and ears hurt. I want to help that guy on a so many levels, but he still hasn’t responded to my friend request on Facebook. Even if his delivery isn’t spectacular, his content – his ideas – always are. Concentrate on the service you can provide, the solution you can offer, and the needs of the company (instead of your own insecurity). Because if you’re worried about your body language, you’re not looking in the right place. Still, at the same time, it’s a good idea to practice the same kind of posture you would have if you were in the room, in person, for the interview. So, get out of that bean bag chair and demonstrate your interest from an upright position. If you can find a sit/stand desk, put it in the stand position. Why? Because you speak more authoritatively and decisively when you are standing up – that’s why they call it “thinking on your feet!”
  4. I Am A Camera: when you look at the camera, and the screen, what do you see? Yes, I know: you literally see a camera and a screen. But what if theres’ something more that you’re not seeing? It helps if you realize that you are looking at the interviewer when you look at the camera. Here’s what changes for my coaching candidates, especially the ones who appear on television speaking straight into camera: think of the camera as your friend. Consider that the interviewer, while they may not be your friend necessarily, will respond to friendliness. That friendliness is a hallmark of common courtesy and personal interaction. While you never have to smile when you are sending a text, it can be helpful to remember that smiles are part of warm human interaction – even when the humans are separated by cameras and screens. Remembering to smile when you are being asked a question can really help, in terms of building rapport. Ultimately, you’d like to give the interviewer something to smile about – like giving you the job!
  5. Air Supply: when someone is asking you a question, what are you doing? Do you ever find yourself holding your breath, as you wait to speak? A big part of my coaching work, especially with executives and leadership teams, focuses on listening skills. Often, in a high-stakes conversation, it’s easy to discover people are holding their breath! Have you ever seen the videos of the bride and groom at a wedding, where the groom has locked his knees and is unknowingly holding his breath…and he passes out at the altar? Keep the air flowing and the ideas going by remembering simply to breathe. As you are hearing a question, instead of waiting to talk, tune in to exactly what the interviewer is saying. Simply noticing your breathing can help remind you to remain present. Plus, there’s this scientific fact that can not be denied: oxygen helps your brain to work better. Breathe in on the question, and you might just find access to the answer the interviewer is looking for. Try taking a test while holding your breath. If your breathing is shallow, your answers will be too. It’s a simple reminder, but “Just breathe” is great guidance for making sure you’re engaged with the interviewer. The approach can help you to relax, be more present and tune in to what’s being asked of you. Remember, air is free, and it fuels your brain – so grab as much of it as you need! 

Video can help the interviewer truly connect with the person they see on-screen. While you should thoroughly research the company and prepare responses to common interview questions for your specific industry, it’s also important to genuinely engage your interviewer. Browser-based video services like ZOOM, Webex and Lifesize Go are the tools of the trade for all types of businesses. Chances are, you’re going to be on camera before you’re on site. For more guidance on effective communication strategies, and examples of how to engage on camera, check out these YouTube videos. Your job search matters. When your career is important, minimize distractions, get eye-to-eye with your interviewer and take a deep breath. Make sure your next video interview is your best!

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There are five things you can do, right now, to make your next video interview your best. It’s no secret that video is the window of the world: a recent survey found that 80% of business professionals report using video conferencing for 1:1 meetings, while 78% use it to facilitate team meetings. Getting good at video in the job interview the key: making a strong impression via video is vital to your career. That’s the guidance from Gayle Wiley, an executive at Austin-based Lifesize, a leader in video conferencing technology. “At Lifesize, we conduct 90% or more of our initial candidate screens and over 50% of our follow-on interviews via video,” Gayle says.

Here are five things you can do, right now, to make your next video interview your best.

  1. What’s Your Background? Not your professional background – all of the things that are behind you in the shot! Are you standing in front of a hot mess, or a cool, calm and uncluttered background? Before signing on, test your technology and ensure that your mobile phone or any smart device is turned off to prevent any sort of unnecessary diversion. “Additionally, make sure that any pets or family members are in a different room at the time of the interview,” Gayle says. It’s critical as a job candidate to keep variables under control, decreasing the risk of any sort of disturbance or obstruction that could hinder the quality of the interview. “Giving a recruiter or hiring manager your full attention with minimal interruption is the first step towards establishing a strong connection with your potential employer.” Checking your background also means hitting every possible “Do not disturb” button on your phone, tablet or computer. Extra beeps and buzzes are a great way to share distractions – so take those disturbances out of your next video interview
  2. Eye See You: While it may seem like a minor detail, proper camera positioning goes a long way towards making a video interview feel more personal. You want to be looking straight into the camera, not giving them the full “Nostril-damus” up-your-nose shot. So put your laptop on a stack of books, and get that camera at eye-level. Neither too close or too far way is the key, according to Gayle. “The ability to see someone’s facial expressions, hand gestures and overall body language can contribute to having a meaningful human connection — even over video.” And just like when you are meeting someone IRL, the eyes have it: “Maintaining eye contact throughout the interview is also crucial for fostering connection,” Gayle says. Eye contact establishes trust and, on a non-verbal level, demonstrates subject matter knowledge. (Shifty eyes or looking away indicates uncertainty, answer-chasing, or insecurity – three things you should try to eliminate by making better eye contact). Gayle says, “It’s okay to glance at notes from time to time, but this should be infrequent; an interviewer will notice if your eyes are regularly off the screen.”
  3. Mr. Roboto Is A No-No: Simple gestures are a positive way to come across as authentically human — it’s better to make natural hand gestures over the course of an interview than to appear overly stiff or robotic on camera. But how do you do that? The answer is counter-intuitive. You improve your gestures by not focusing on your gestures. If you’re on camera wishing you were less than who you are, you will be. If you are worried about your hands instead of thinking about how you can help your next employer solve their supply chain issues in Eastern Europe, you’re concentrating on the wrong things. Your authentic message only comes across when you stop focusing on yourself, and start focusing on the service you can provide. Want an example? Watch Elon Musk deliver a presentation. Yes, dear reader, Mr. Musk has a delivery that makes my eyes and ears hurt. I want to help that guy on a so many levels, but he still hasn’t responded to my friend request on Facebook. Even if his delivery isn’t spectacular, his content – his ideas – always are. Concentrate on the service you can provide, the solution you can offer, and the needs of the company (instead of your own insecurity). Because if you’re worried about your body language, you’re not looking in the right place. Still, at the same time, it’s a good idea to practice the same kind of posture you would have if you were in the room, in person, for the interview. So, get out of that bean bag chair and demonstrate your interest from an upright position. If you can find a sit/stand desk, put it in the stand position. Why? Because you speak more authoritatively and decisively when you are standing up – that’s why they call it “thinking on your feet!”
  4. I Am A Camera: when you look at the camera, and the screen, what do you see? Yes, I know: you literally see a camera and a screen. But what if theres’ something more that you’re not seeing? It helps if you realize that you are looking at the interviewer when you look at the camera. Here’s what changes for my coaching candidates, especially the ones who appear on television speaking straight into camera: think of the camera as your friend. Consider that the interviewer, while they may not be your friend necessarily, will respond to friendliness. That friendliness is a hallmark of common courtesy and personal interaction. While you never have to smile when you are sending a text, it can be helpful to remember that smiles are part of warm human interaction – even when the humans are separated by cameras and screens. Remembering to smile when you are being asked a question can really help, in terms of building rapport. Ultimately, you’d like to give the interviewer something to smile about – like giving you the job!
  5. Air Supply: when someone is asking you a question, what are you doing? Do you ever find yourself holding your breath, as you wait to speak? A big part of my coaching work, especially with executives and leadership teams, focuses on listening skills. Often, in a high-stakes conversation, it’s easy to discover people are holding their breath! Have you ever seen the videos of the bride and groom at a wedding, where the groom has locked his knees and is unknowingly holding his breath…and he passes out at the altar? Keep the air flowing and the ideas going by remembering simply to breathe. As you are hearing a question, instead of waiting to talk, tune in to exactly what the interviewer is saying. Simply noticing your breathing can help remind you to remain present. Plus, there’s this scientific fact that can not be denied: oxygen helps your brain to work better. Breathe in on the question, and you might just find access to the answer the interviewer is looking for. Try taking a test while holding your breath. If your breathing is shallow, your answers will be too. It’s a simple reminder, but “Just breathe” is great guidance for making sure you’re engaged with the interviewer. The approach can help you to relax, be more present and tune in to what’s being asked of you. Remember, air is free, and it fuels your brain – so grab as much of it as you need! 

Video can help the interviewer truly connect with the person they see on-screen. While you should thoroughly research the company and prepare responses to common interview questions for your specific industry, it’s also important to genuinely engage your interviewer. Browser-based video services like ZOOM, Webex and Lifesize Go are the tools of the trade for all types of businesses. Chances are, you’re going to be on camera before you’re on site. For more guidance on effective communication strategies, and examples of how to engage on camera, check out these YouTube videos. Your job search matters. When your career is important, minimize distractions, get eye-to-eye with your interviewer and take a deep breath. Make sure your next video interview is your best!

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