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How to Ace Your Video Interview

You may interview for your next job from your home computer. Here’s how you can prepare and get hired

Video Interviews Are Increasing

En español | Virtual interviews are rapidly becoming more commonplace, according to a survey by OfficeTeam, a temporary staffing services firm. Six in 10 of the 500 human resource managers interviewed said their company often conducts employment interviews via video, up from 14 percent in 2011. Video interview formats vary via free services where you talk live with an interviewer, or the taped version, where you respond to recorded questions from a taped interviewer. These tips can help you become comfortable with the format and ace the interview.

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Check Your Equipment

You’ll need a dependable Internet connection, a webcam and a microphone. If possible, use an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet and turn Wi-Fi off.

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Experiment With Interview Platform

If it’s a live video interview, you may need to download the application software and set up an account. If it’s a pre-recorded interviewer and questions, not a live person, you will be sent instructions ahead of time about what you will need to participate. To start, you click a link to allow the firm to take over your computer, camera and microphone. Then, follow the instructions.

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Set Up Your Computer Properly

Rebooting the computer is the best way to safeguard against background programs sapping resources and slowing down your session, according to Donna Svei, an executive search consultant and executive résumé writer who writes the AvidCareerist blog. Adjust your computer so the camera lens on your screen is level to the top of your head. You might have to perch it atop a few books, or adjust your chair height. The idea is for you to look up slightly at the camera, which helps define your chin and subtly gives off a message of strength and confidence.

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Pay Attention to Lighting

You'll want your face to be front-lit. Think of those klieg lights that shine on a television anchor's face. If your room has a window, face it, or put a lamp on the desk in front of you.

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Do a Background Check

Look at what will appear behind you on the screen. If it’s a clutter-fest with file folders and papers piles, or even personal items such as pictures from your vacation, do a clean sweep.

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Do a Dry Run

Practice with a friend or family member  on the platform you’lll be using. With Skype, you can record it to review. This also helps with figuring out just how loud you need to talk and how to position your image on the screen.

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Dress for an In-Person Interview

Solid colors are best, and avoid white for the best screen appearance. Don’t forget some make-up, even if you’re a guy. It takes the shine off your skin. “Video interviews on computers and cellphone HD cameras via services like Skype have an annoying way of making us look our worst,” says Svei. “However old we are, they makes us look older.”

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Have a Cheat Sheet

Post-it notes on your screen can remind you of talking points you want to be sure to highlight about your experience and why you’re a good fit for the job, as well as questions about the firm and the position. Have your résumé handy, too, just in case there is a date or position you need to refer to in your conversation.

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Always Look Into the Camera Lens and Smile

Do not gaze down at yourself on the screen, or meet the eyes of the person interviewing you.
Smiling provides a big boost for your video presence and will give the interview energy. Try warming up ahead of time by thinking of something funny to make you laugh, or grinning at yourself in a mirror to get the face muscles loosened up.

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Raise Technical Issues

If something goes awry — say, your Internet connection gets freaky, or you’re having trouble with your computer’s camera or microphone — speak up. If it happens during a taped interview, just abort and contact the recruiter to explain and reschedule.

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Watch Your Body Language

Take a breath and relax. No hair spinning around your pinky, lip chewing, squinting your eyes, or over-blinking. Keep your shoulders back and your hands quiet.

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Say Thanks

End your interview by saying, "Thank you for considering me for the job.” Smile, and continue eyeing the camera until the recording or interview stops.

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