A conversation recently popped up in the Bossed Up Courage Community all about how to prepare for interviews that are conducted over video. In the age of Zoom meetings and Apple FaceTime, these are becoming more and more frequent as a regular part of the job hunt.
Follow Ladders on Flipboard!
Since I’ve been hosting webinars and creating YouTube videos for the better part of six years, I’ve learned a thing or two about looking your best on camera.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind for your next video interview:
Smile more than you think you should.
Interviews make people nervous. And nervous people can often look dour, with tight, pursed faces that can be off-putting. And yes, I know we as women shouldn’t have to smile and perform such emotional labor to please anyone when we don’t feel like it. But if you’re in an interview, you’re likely there to please some people! So let’s use every tool in the toolbox – including smiling – to set a warm, open, and welcoming tone.
Look straight into the camera
It’s easy to get distracted looking at yourself or the people you’re speaking to on the video screen in front of you. But if you want to give the impression of normal human eye contact, you should actually focus your gaze directly into that little black hole in your laptop or phone. By staring straight into the camera when you’re speaking, you’ll exude confidence and give your audience the feeling that you’re looking right at them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally glance at the video screen showing your interviewer’s face, since you’ll also want to be looking out for body language responses on their end, too.
Account for lag
Technology is great until it’s not. Even when you’re on the steadiest internet connection possible, there’s always the possibility that a little lag time could mess up your conversational flow. The key to accounting for lag is allowing for more pauses than you normally might. Take an extra beat before jumping in to answer your interviewer’s question to ensure they’re done speaking. A moment of silence might feel like an eternity to you, but in reality, it’ll make you seem more thoughtful and pensive, and help reduce the risk of speaking over one another.
When you’re finished with each answer, ask “does that answer your question?” or “Do you have any follow-up questions?” to ensure they have the chance to converse back and forth, and to signal that you’re done.
Let there be light!
Good lighting gives you LIFE on camera. Natural light is best, when sitting in front of a window is possible, but a solid desk lamp pointed right into your face does the trick, too. You don’t want to be uncomfortably squinting, but you really do want to light yourself up, even if that means removing a lamp shade for an extra boost.
You will look so much more engaged and awake with extra lighting. If you feel like you’re on a movie set, you’re probably doing it right. Investing in one of these little selfie ring lights can help, too.
Wear solid colors
But try to avoid white or black, which aren’t super flattering on video. Avoid busy patterns or dangling, shiny jewelry, which can be distracting. You want their eyes to be on you and your face, so clothing and make-up should complement, not compete.
Set the stage
Position your webcam/laptop higher than usual, so that camera is catching you from a slightly downward-facing angle, which is more flattering for just about everyone. No one wants to see up your nose.
You’ll also want to de-clutter the background and make sure that whatever’s on display behind you reflects well on you and gives a professional impression.
Quiet on the set!
Finally, if you’re a pet owner like me, make sure your animals are sequestered and that you’re in as quiet a place you can get without sacrificing lighting or the strength of your internet connection. The last thing you want is your dog’s hysterical barking at the mail carrier to distract from your conversation.
You might also enjoy…
- New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy
- Strangers know your social class in the first seven words you say, study finds
- 10 lessons from Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule that will double your productivity
- The worst mistakes you can make in an interview, according to 12 CEOs
- 10 habits of mentally strong people