If you’ve searched for a job in the last few years, you’ve probably been asked to do an interview via a video conference. That can feel even more intimidating than just going into an office, shaking someone’s hand, and sitting down to talk face-to-face. Most people have a better idea of what to expect from an in-person interview, while video interviews can feel like a whole new world. Interviews are already stressful enough, so why would a company want to add to the stress? Are they trying to give their candidates a nervous breakdown? No, they’re not. Video conferencing technology like that offered by Polycom is both the present and the future, so you’re better off figuring it out now than refusing to engage with it at all.
Body language still matters
You hear a lot about sending the right signals during a job interview. That’s also true if you’re meeting with the recruiter over a video link. The position of the camera on your computer is absolutely crucial. Make sure it’s at eye level. That’s the most flattering angle, and it also allows you to look right into the camera as a way of approximating eye contact. Your interview still wants you to look at them, after all. Don’t look away, and don’t get distracted by other things in your house or office.
It’s best to try a dry run with your equipment a day or two before the actual interview. If you have a friend who is willing and able to help you out, set up a video call with them first. That will let you get comfortable with the technology, and it will also give your friend a chance to point out any issues on their end. If the person on the other end of the call can’t hear you, you need to get your sound issues resolved before the interview. Watch out for awkward lighting, too.
But how should you dress? Like you’re going to an in-person interview. Wear a nice shirt and pants, or wear a dress, or wear whatever makes you feel both comfortable and professional. Don’t wear a nice shirt and sweatpants, either. If you stand up without thinking, you’re going to look and feel pretty dumb. Dress well from head to toe, not from head to waist.
The benefit for companies
So what do companies get out of video interviews? Well, a video interview often acts as an intermediate step between an initial phone screening and an in-person interview. It may even be the final step in the process. If a company is interviewing candidates from out of town, it saves them the hassle of flying someone in and putting them up in a hotel.
Companies also utilize the technology for inter-company conference calls. That’s especially vital for companies with staff spread out all over the country or world. Consider the IT team. If part of the team is in San Francisco while the other staffers are in Austin, they can get together via video conference to discuss log management issues. Video conferencing feels more personal than telephone calls, and it allows people to look at the same charts and presentations together, even if they’re not in the same physical space. It saves money and allows the employees to feel more like a team, even if they’re in offices that are three thousand miles apart.