Candidate Best Practices

Creating a Video-Friendly Environment

It is important to have everything in place before you begin. You want to limit distractions so the focus is on you, not what’s in your background. Follow these simple guidelines and you will have a proper recording space in no time.

  • Position your webcam so when you sit, it is at eye-level.
  • Establish how you should adjust your lighting. Proper lighting is essential for good video quality.
    • The background light should be the brightest in the room.
    • A simple desk lamp can be used as your main light source.
    • Turn on any available lights in the room, close all windows, and check to make sure there is no glare on your monitor.
    • Never use your monitor as your light source.
  • Be mindful of your background.
    • Position yourself in front of a wall with neutral colors; avoid patterns, wallpaper, and mirrors.
    • Clean your recording area. A tidy workspace conveys professionalism to your future employer.
    • Turn off all appliances or devices that may create ambient noise.
  • Your recording space should be quiet and comfortable.
    • Allot yourself ample time to answer each question in your chosen space – an hour should be sufficient.
    • Eliminate all possible distractions and interruptions. Turn off your cell phone and if you’re at home, make sure people in the house know you are taking an interview.

Preparing For Your Interview

Mental preparation for your interview is just as important as the physical setup. You should prepare for your pre-recorded video interview with the same tenacity and focus as if you were walking into your potential employer’s office.

  • Practice, practice, practice – before you even turn your webcam on, try practicing by looking into the camera as if you were having a conversation with someone sitting in front of you.
    • In a traditional interview, eye contact is of the utmost importance so make sure you look directly into the camera to answer the questions posed to you.
    • Do not look at the computer screen when answering questions – this places your line of sight below the webcam and you will appear to be looking down from the interviewer’s point of view.
    • It may seem awkward at first, but the more you rehearse looking at the webcam and not the person on the screen, the more comfortable you will feel during your interview.
  • Research the company and ready yourself to answer company-specific questions.
    • Familiarize yourself with the company’s mission statement, history, product and service offerings, management, and information about the company culture.
    • Look at current events – read their recent press releases so in the interview you can knowledgeably discuss the direction in which the company is going.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions about your resume and rehearse your responses.
    • Review your resume and develop multiple talking points about all of your past experiences.
    • Polish your answers – nothing destroys your credibility faster than a constant stream of filler words such as “um”, “like”, and “you know”.
  • Dress for success; communicate professionalism with your attire.
    • Men: Navy, black, or dark grey suit, long sleeve dress shirt, conservative tie, professional, clean-cut hairstyle, clean-shaven.
    • Women: Navy, black, or dark grey suit, coordinated blouse, limited jewelry (no dangling earrings, arms full of bracelets), professional hairstyle, light make-up.
    • In general, you should look as if you put considerable time and effort into your personal appearance. Your clothing should be a complement, not a distraction.

Conducting the Interview

The most important step in this process is answering the pre-recorded interview questions.

  • Speak clearly and enunciate.
    • You don’t want your brilliant answers to be lost because you were mumbling.
    • Don’t rush but don’t dawdle either – the company that is interviewing you has predetermined the length of your answers. This information is listed in your invitation to interview along with an option to re-try your answer (some companies choose not to offer this to emulate a live video experience). Practice answering questions and time yourself to
      make sure you are answering effectively in the allotted time.
  • Listen to each question, contemplate your response, and answer concisely.
    • Make sure you answer the question being asked. Off-base, round-a-bout answers are a surefire way to talk yourself out of a job.
    • If you are given the opportunity to retry your answer, try to nail down your response sooner rather than later. We have found that more tries may begin to dilute a clear message, so your first or second answer will probably be your best.
  • Answer with a headline.
    • The first sentence of your answer should set the tone by restating the question and providing your initial opinion.
    • From there, you can add details from your own research, opinions, and experiences. However, you should always make sure you cycle back to your original point and don’t stray too far off topic.
  • Take a deep breath, relax, and let your personality shine through.
    • At the end of the day, employers hire human beings, not just the name at the top of a resume.
    • Smile and have fun – remember, if you are adequately prepared, you will be successful.

Follow Up

The interview process doesn’t end after you submit your answer to the final question. Professional courtesy dictates that you contact the interviewer within a reasonable amount of time after completing the interview.

  • Send a thank-you email the same day you complete the interview. This way, it will be waiting for your potential employer when they get to work the next morning.
  • In the email, lay out a date and time when you will call to further discuss the job opportunity.
  • This gives you another chance to express why you are the best candidate for the job.
  • Stick to your deadlines; nothing loses a job offer faster than failing to call when you said you would.
  • In most cases, persistence will land you the job.
    • Keep a constant stream of contact between you and the hiring manager; call and e-mail them once a week to re-iterate why you want the job and ask about changes in the candidate search.
    • Companies will be quick to hire someone who shows real commitment and diligence toward getting the job; make it so they can’t ignore you.

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