Video Interviewing: The Wave of the Future

Video interviewing (a form of videoconferencing) is a live, two-way electronic communication that permits two or more people in different geographic locations to engage in face-to-face visual and audio exchange. Miles separate them: sometimes few, sometimes many, and sometimes oceans.

In the new Webcam-dominated world, the caller and the person on the receiving end need only a computer and a monitor, a Webcam, a microphone, and Internet access to do a job interview. Although video interviews are much like standard face-to-face interviews, they do offer some challenges that you should consider.

Movements and posture

Calmness is classy and shows confidence. No way should you check your personality at the door, but do try to be fairly still. Avoid overly broad gestures — you're not directing traffic. Ration your gestures to underscore important information.

Microphones have an irritating habit of picking up all the noise in the room. Don't shuffle papers or tap a pen. Noises that you may not notice in a same-room interview can become annoying in a video interview.

Occasionally glance at the picture-in-picture feature on the monitor to check your body language. Slouching and other bad-posture sagging make you look even worse on those small screens than they do in person.

Facial expressions and speaking

The first thing you say is Hi, I'm John Gill. Nice to meet you. (If you're not John Gill, use your own name.) Speak normally, but not too fast. Nervous people sometimes don't stop for air, and their best lines are left unheard or not understood.

Be conscious of a sound delay. A couple of seconds will lapse between the interviewer's statement or question and when you hear her or him. At the end of an interviewer's words, pause before you reply.

Look directly at the camera as often as possible when speaking. You can look around occasionally, but avoid rolling your eyes all over the room as though you can hardly wait to make your getaway. Some people look down at the desk — don't, especially if you have a bald, shiny spot on the top of your dome. And don't bend over the microphone. Imagine that the interviewer is sitting across the table from you.

The three most important things to remember in a video interview are (1) smile, (2) smile, and (3) smile.

Virtual handshake

Unless your interview space is on fire, it's not your prerogative to end the interview. Always allow the interviewer to indicate when time's up. In cases where the interview format is controlled by a technician, you're given signals to close it down.

Since you can't shake hands through a monitor, at the end of the interview, deliver a sign-off statement indicating you understand that the interview is over. You can say something as simple as Thank you for interviewing me. I enjoyed it. Let's talk face to face very soon.

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