If you haven’t already experienced a video interview, be prepared:In our social, mobile, pressed-for-time society, video interviews offer an efficient and effective way for employers to meet and evaluate candidates. Here are some ways to ready yourself for “your close up:”

Don’t forget: A video interview is still an interview

  • Research just as thoroughly as you might for an in-person interview. Don’t fall into the trap of approaching a nontraditional interview—whether by video, phone, or a group setting—as if it is any different from a one-on-one in an office. Whether you’re sitting across the table or across the internet from your interviewer, know that he or she will be taking it just as seriously. Therefore, make sure you do your due diligence: research the company, know what you can about the position, and have questions prepared for the interviewer.

Set the stage

  • While you can’t control for all variables, you can at least ensure that you project a professional air by “attending” the interview in a quiet space with a simple, professional background that is well lit. You won’t score points for a beautiful backdrop, so focus on keeping it uncluttered—a blank wall will do! Avoid sitting directly in front of a window, where streaming light may interfere with the interviewer’s ability to see you.

Dress for success

  • Just because your interviewer may not be able to see your full ensemble, don’t assume that they can’t. A video interview is still an opportunity to make a good first impression on your potential employer, and that impression includes how professionally you present yourself. Make sure that you’re wearing interview-appropriate clothing, and that you have taken the same care of your appearance as you might when physically interviewing in an office.

Practice, practice, practice!

  • Practice using the video technology platform before the actual interview. Whether you’re using Skype, FaceTime, or Google+ Hangouts, get familiar with the software in advance. Five minutes before the call is not the time to begin be fumbling around with technology. Once you’re familiar with the platform, make sure that your sound levels are good and that your microphone is working properly. Take care to speak clearly throughout the interview.

Focus

  • As you set up for the interview, make sure to eliminate any potential interruptions, noise, or other distractionsm such as pets or family members. Review your profile on the technology platform to be sure all content is appropriate and matches your professional brand so the interviewer is not unpleasantly surprised by an ill-chosen profile picture or untoward status update.Once you’ve begun the call, try to look at the camera, not at yourself on the screen so that your focus is on the interviewer and not your own image. Make sure to close all other programs and windows on your computer prior to the interview and plug your computer in directly to your power and Internet sources. This isn’t the time for you to lose your connection to the wireless network or for your laptop’s battery to die. It’s also not the time for a friend to send you a humorous instant message. Eliminate any of those possibilities.

End the call

  • Make sure to log off once the interview is completed. We’ve all heard stories about a politician, athlete, or celebrity who has embarrassed him or herself with a comment made when they didn’t know they were on camera or a microphone was live. Avoid that possibility by logging off immediately after the interview is over. Don’t just close the window—make sure to log out of the program and turn off the camera. If you’re unsure, you can also shut down the computer completely and restart when you’re ready to resume your work online.

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