Oklahoma City, OK (PressExposure) December 01, 2009 -- With most companies tightening their belts and travel costs on the rise, many job interviews now take place via webcam. And preparing for an online interview requires more than just good interview skills, According to Kay Stout, Executive Advisor, with Oklahoma Professional Search
"With video-chat software and a webcam, many firms have found they can save the expense of flying in a potential hire and instead conduct an interview online," Stout said. "That means job seekers should prepare more than just their resume and interview technique."
Since the applicant is basically on camera, it's up to that person to set a stage that will make a professional, positive impression, Stout noted. "Start with the lighting in the room where you'll be broadcasting. Backlighting may look dramatic in a photograph, but a bright light behind you during a webcam interview will darken your face. Then, look at your background. Even if you're in your kitchen or den, make sure it's tidy and professional looking."
"Next consider your appearance. Set up your camera so the interviewer sees you centered in the frame, from mid-chest up," she continued. "Set your chair so you're turned to look at the camera to avoid a straight, mug-shot appearance, and don't lean forward into the camera. Remember to dress just like you would for any other interview, but avoid white and patterns that will stand out on video. And know your webcam features and be ready to handle technical glitches, since online video streaming isn't foolproof."
Applicants should also stage their environment for a webcam interview, Stout said. "Keep the pets, kids, and roommates out of the room where you'll be broadcasting the interview. Turn off the phones and close the window. If an appliance or heat and air unit makes too much background noise, turn it off or find a quieter space."
Stout also emphasized the need to make eye contact. "While it will be tempting to watch yourself or watch the interviewer's image, eye contact via a webcam means looking into the camera. And don't forget to practice for your online interview, just as you would a face-to-face meeting. Just as actors rehearse for a scene, rehearse your online interview technique with a friend."
"Finally," she concluded, "remember that properly setting the stage can make for a show-stopping performance in a video interview. And that can get you the starring role in the new job you've been looking for!"