The Morgan Samuels Perspective

Interviewing by Video Conference?  Avoid These 10 Pitfalls.

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Aug 17, 2016

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You've submitted your resume, received the call for an interview and then find out it's via video conference.  No problem, right?  Video conferencing is being employed more frequently as a tool to help connect hiring managers and executive candidates quickly, efficiently, and economically. Without the right preparation, however, video conference meetings can hurt instead of help an executive move to the second round of interviews. 

Below are our top ten pitfalls to avoid just in time for your next video conference interview:


10.  Poor internet connectivity
You can do everything right, but if you don’t have sufficient internet access, you will surely frustrate yourself and the interviewer. Nothing is more painful than listening to a candidate apologize profusely about their internet connection. It makes it hard to visualize an executive in a senior leadership position. 

9.  Thinking a video conference is the same as a casual meeting
You may use Skype every day to talk to your brother in Europe, but don’t confuse your next video conference interview with a friendly chat online. The same interview engagement rules apply. Be relaxed, but confident and buttoned up as well. Professionalism is always in style and always appropriate.

8.  Overlooking your background
If you need to do a video conference interview on a laptop (and not in an office), be sure to preview the image that the other side will see. You don't want the interviewer to be so distracted by a sloppy background (piles of papers, opened drawers, dingy furniture), that it is hard for them to imagine you in a corner office.

7.  Not spending the time upfront to address image and sound issues
Most organizations will happily (and gratefully) conduct a test of the connection in advance of the actual interview. After all, they don't want to experience technical problems on their end, either. Feel free to request a test before the day of the interview to iron out any audio or image issues and ensure a smooth connection.

6.  Slouching or leaning back
What would seem like a pleasant relaxed pose in person can often look like really bad posture on camera. Take a cue from your second grade teacher and sit up straight.

5.  Body language
What applies to behavior in person also applies during a video conference.  Don't fidget, don't fuss with your hair or your clothes, don't allow yourself to appear distracted, etc. You want to appear professional and focused and your body language says as much about that as your words do (if not more). One thing you should allow yourself to do is SMILE (when appropriate).

4.  Thinking any lighting will do
Conduct the interview in an open, well-lit space. Spot lighting and dim rooms make people look tired and unattractive. Avoid being lit from behind (e.g., sitting in front of a bright window), as you will appear on camera in silhouette. Make sure there is sufficient lighting in front of you to make your facial expressions easy to discern. After all, that's one of the main reasons to do a video conference in the first place! 

3.  Not dressing for the camera
Stripes and small patterns create a busy effect on computer and television screens. Solid colors (other than black or white) read better. Women should avoid shiny jewelry, dangly earrings, dewy makeup, and glossy lipstick. These all appear exaggerated on camera.

2.  Not adjusting the camera position
If you are using a laptop to do a video conference, we recommend placing it on a stack of books so you are not looking down on the laptop’s camera. This is usually a very unflattering angle and even the slimmest people look like they have a double chin.

1.  Looking at the picture and not the camera
It’s hard not to look at the face you see on the computer (or your own face while you are talking). However, if you want to present the most professional and commanding image, try to focus your gaze at the camera. It will come across that you are looking your interviewer in the eye. This takes some practice, but it is well worth the effort.

 

 What are some tips that you use during video conferencing? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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Topics: executive search, C-suite, interview tips, talent