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Five Tips for your Next Webcam Interview

Webcam interviews are becoming more and more common, so don’t be surprised if an employer chooses to skip the telephone interview in favor of interviewing you via webcam.

Webcam interviews are different from in-person interviews and telephone interviews. If you’re not prepared, you might just miss that opportunity to make a good first “virtual” impression.

Here are five tips to help you prepare for your webcam interview:

Know Your Technology

Whether you are using Skype, Google WebChat or one of the other webcam apps available for your computer or smartphone, make sure you know how to use it.  Check the speaker and microphone volume and settings; check the picture quality; know how to use the screen sharing functions; know how to set up a multi-person web conference.  The day of your interview is the wrong time to learn how to use your webcam application!  If you’re worried about how to use the app during the interview, you’re not going to be focused on interview. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Control Your Environment

Eliminate all distractions!  Roommates, pets, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents – ask them to leave you alone. Twitter and Facebook accounts, your Pandora account and your iPod – turn them off! Allow yourself to focus. Make sure you are budgeting enough time. Be ready to go 10-15 minutes beforehand and budget extra time in case the interview goes long.  Have a glass of water nearby and have all of your notes ready to reference.  Like an in-person interview, you can’t get up and move around during your webcam interview.  They can see you and everything you do.

Manage your Image

The image you project on your webcam is a combination of you and your surroundings; and you control ALL of this.  Take a look at yourself in your webcam.  What do you look like?  What do you see in the background? What you see is what the employer will see when they are interviewing you. Clean up the room; make sure the light from a nearby window isn’t washing out your picture. Adjust the webcam so that it is capturing the image of you that you want to convey.  Remember, you control the camera, how it is positioned and the image it captures.  Manage that image!

Double-Check your Connection

Wireless communication is great, until it doesn’t work or until the wireless signal strength is weak.  Signal strength is particularly important when you are transmitting video, so make sure you have a fast and reliable internet connection (wired or wireless).  Test your connection speed and/or wireless signal strength to be certain it can effectively handle webcam communication.

You can check and double-check. You can do everything right and be as prepared as possible, and sometimes technology just fails to do what it’s supposed to do.  You need to have a Plan B ready just in case Plan A doesn’t work.  Make sure you know your interviewer’s phone number and email address.  Have both ready in case you need to use them.  It the first sign of trouble, alert your interviewer and see if you can get the technology issues resolved.  If you can’t, suggest the telephone as an alternative.

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