While we’re still light-years away from communicating via a 3D holographic display projected by a droid, the advancement of video communication has made it easy for people to visually connect — whenever, wherever.
As these virtual interviews become commonplace in today’s hiring process, job seekers will need to be well-versed in how to operate the latest video technology and how to best present themselves when using it.
To conquer your next video interview, here are five tips you need to master… and may the Force be with you:
1. Master the technology.
We live in a social age dominated by video technology ranging from Skype to Snapchat to YouTube. So, there’s really no excuse for not knowing how to navigate the video interview come D-Day.
To quell these fears, familiarize yourself with the interview platform. In some cases, it may be Skype. In others, it may be a video interview platform you’re not as familiar with. So, practice using the platform and test your camera and microphone well in advance. Whether you’re a young Jedi or marketing coordinator hopeful, practice makes perfect.
2. Avoid the dark side.
When it comes to the video interview, the last thing you want is to resemble is Darth Vader. But, if you don’t have appropriate lighting, you very well might. This is one of the many instances when performing a test run is helpful.
During this test run, you may notice that the light from the window behind you leaves you in silhouette or that your desk lamp doesn’t provide enough natural light. While you want to avoid the dark side, too much light can work against you, too. So, find a happy medium.
3. Block out distractions.
Whether you’re trying to channel the Force or prepare for a video interview, distractions break your concentration — not to mention, that of the interviewer’s. To maintain focus during your video interview, find a location that is quiet and free of any potential distractions, such as voices or a noisy pet in the background.
Schedule your video interview for a day and time when you know you’ll face the least amount of interference. What’s more, by planning ahead, you can make the necessary preparations to have a friend watch your chatty chihuahua and put a “do not disturb” sign on your front door.
Last, but certainly not least, avoid creating distractions for your interviewer. Busy backgrounds (e.g. messy bedroom) and clothing (e.g. loud stripes) can draw the attention away from you and your responses during the interview.
4. Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is the key to a great interview, especially when that interview is via video. Maintaining eye contact with the interviewer conveys a greater sense of confidence in your abilities — something every hiring manager looks for in a candidate.
It might be tempting to look at the screen during your video interview — after all, that’s where your interviewer is — but fight the temptation. From the interviewer’s point of view, it will appear as though you’re looking down or away from the computer.
Through plenty of practice sessions with friends or family, train yourself to look at the camera when you speak and have them point out when your eyes begin to wander.
5. Stand out from the sea of clones.
Unfortunately, it takes more than mastering the Jedi mind trick to land a job. You need to convince hiring managers that you are the candidate they’re looking for. But, in a sea of job seekers all boasting the same skills and qualifications, it can be difficult to stand out.
To avoid being seen as a candidate clone, use the video interview to supplement your resume — not reiterate it. Video interviews should be treated just like a traditional in-person interview, where you’re expected to explain and expand on the points featured on your resume. To further differentiate yourself from the masses, aim to provide answers that are unique to you and your experiences.
In a one-way video interview, for instance, it can be easy to fall into giving the “expected” answers, as you have more time to mull over your response. But use this time to your advantage, and find a creative way to approach the question.
What are some other ways job seekers can channel their inner Luke Skywalker to conquer their next video interview?