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For some job seekers, the phrase "lights, camera, action" is taking on a whole new meaning.
In recent years, organizations are increasingly forgoing traditional in-person job interviews in favor of those conducted online via video technology. However, just because you don't have the pressure of sitting face to face with a potential employer, that doesn't mean you should take a video interview any less seriously.
"While technology has sped up the recruiting process and eased the burden of traveling to an interview, job applicants should treat video interviews with the same level of professionalism as in-person meetings," Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a statement. "Putting your best foot forward doesn't mean just looking and acting the part, but also ensuring that your environment is free of distractions."
To help job seekers ace their next video interviews, Robert Half offers several tips:
Know your technology: You want to make sure the video platform you are using is working properly, and that you are comfortable using it, before the interview gets started. Be sure to download the platform ahead of time and test out the webcam, microphone and speakers to ensure everything is working as it should.
Practice: Just as you would before an in-person interview, spend some time practicing your video interview skills. Find a friend to conduct a mock interview with. Choose someone who will give you honest feedback. Remember that speaking over video isn't the same as speaking face to face. For instance, you might find the connection is slow, so you will need to practice pausing before responding to ensure the interviewer is done speaking.
Choose a proper location: When choosing where you to sit during a video interview, pick a place that is quiet, well-lit and not located somewhere pets and family members can interrupt. In addition, make sure there aren't any other distractions nearby. For example, put your phone on silent and disable any on-screen computer notifications that might pop up during the interview.
Dress for success: Just because you are sitting in your home for the interview, that doesn't mean you shouldn't dress up for the occasion. You want to look professional from head to toe, and not just from the waist up. Pick an outfit that projects confidence and doesn't have any patterns that could be distracting to those watching you on the other end.
Look alive: It's important to look engaged, so be sure to direct eye contact toward the camera, nod noticeably, smile and maintain good posture.
Say thanks: You want to follow the same proper etiquette after a video interview as you would when you've had an in-person meeting. Before the interview ends, ask for an office mailing address or the email address of the hiring manager so you can follow up with a thank-you note.
Job candidates aren't the only ones who need to prepare for video interviews. McDonald said employers should also do their part to ensure they are getting the most out of the online discussions.
"Hiring managers can help the candidate feel at ease and show [that] their company is a desirable place to work by conducting the interview from an uncluttered, noise-free setting, such as a conference room," McDonald said. "And, just as with candidates, they should make sure they're comfortable with the technology."