Skip to main content
Candidate Help & Advice

Video Interviewing for the Unemployed

Today’s fast-developing video technology does not skip over the unemployed. In fact, it just adds another challenge for them. More and more companies are trying to save on the expenses of recruiting by using video interviews for screening and selection purposes. Clearly, this represents another burden for candidates because it’s one more step to master in addition to the already challenging telephone interview.

Video interviewing, which some call Skype interviewing, is one more tool that enables employers to differentiate between candidates. For higher-level positions, some employers and recruiters arrange for a professional setting such as a conference room with professional-quality equipment; yet others expect candidates to use their own Skype video cameras. The latter represents several challenges. The first one is on the technical level because not everyone at this point has installed Skype, or a video camera, or a microphone on their computer. In addition, older and slower computers cannot process the information fast enough, and therefore, the picture may be jerky and of low quality. It’s also not unheard-of to even see the picture freeze for a while or disconnect completely. Imagine that this happens during your interview!

Candidates also need to remember that in addition to dressing presentably, they need to avoid certain colors and patterns. For example, a diagonally striped tie will appear distorted at the viewing end. Also remember that the camera picks up everything within its range, so it’s best if your background is either neutral or contains a bookcase or a nice flower arrangement. Lighting is also a very important element in the production of high-quality video. Too bright, with reflections in eyeglasses, is not good. Neither is a dim-looking environment.

Candidates have enough trouble preparing for those challenging and hard-to-predict interview questions, and now they need to quickly learn how to be good actors on camera. While an actor can move about freely, it’s advisable not to move around excessively when on camera. In addition, when one needs to convert a spot in one’s living quarters to produce a studiolike background and environment, it’s important to consider that the microphone might pick up various noises such as paper shuffling, a dog barking, children in the background, or an ambulance on the street.

And while all of these technical issues can hopefully be resolved, the most critical and difficult part is during the interview itself: it is highly recommended that one look all the time straight into the camera and without deviation. Can you imagine an anchorperson on a major TV news channel not looking at the audience? The difference is that anchorpeople have been trained for this, and if they’re not very good at it, you won’t even know them. On the other hand, the candidate is forced onto that same firing line with only innate talent and perhaps little training. The solution is in the cliché “practice makes perfect.”