Man on Video Call on Sofa

Video conferencing in applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are quickly becoming ingrained in every part of the work environment, starting first and foremost at the hiring level.

Getting ready for your first on-camera interview? Follow the steps below to prepare you for making the best personal impression despite the seemingly impersonal nature of the new ways we hire.

Dress for Success

One of the perks of working from home is that we don’t have to dress up to start our workday. So many of us (me included) now spend our days in jeans and t-shirts, while others put off changing out of our pajamas for as long as possible. That’s not acceptable work attire for a video-interview. Just because the picture isn’t as clear doesn’t as if you were meeting in person doesn’t mean that what you wear doesn’t need to be professional.

Some people choose to wear a nice top but stick to more casual bottoms. This is also a mistake. What happens if your doorbell rings in the middle of the interview and you need to stand up? Do you really want a future employer to see you wearing pajama pants with your blazer and tie? Treat this interview as though they can see every inch of your attire, even down to your dress shoes and socks.

Watch Your Hands

It’s common for us to gesticulate and emphasize our words using our hands but for a video interview, keep it under wraps. More than anything, waving your hands around in front of the camera can be distracting, oftentimes the movement unsettling the webcam and distorting the image of you on the interviewer’s screen. Keep your hands poised in your lap and away from your face and hair. You want the focus on what you’re saying, not on your anxious hands.

The Less Distractions, The Better

Heavy jewelry, a bold tie, shimmery eye shadow; all things to avoid during an on-camera interview. When you have unknown factors that could influence the lighting, it’s best to eliminate things that could catch the light and blind the camera.

Have contact lenses? Use them! Instead of your interviewers looking at their own reflection in the lens of your glasses, wear your contacts. Many times, if someone’s head is tiled a certain way, it’s difficult to actually see their eyes when they’re wearing glasses. Reflections and lighting can prevent you from making direct eye contact with an interviewer, which is especially important when we no longer have an in-person connection to rely on.

Find Time for a Five-Minute Dry-Run

I’ve had many candidates who prefer to drive to the interview location a few days beforehand so they can get a feel of where they’re going and how long it’s going to take, for fear of showing up late. The same thing can be done for a virtual interview with a lot less effort expended.

If you don’t have a recruiter working with you to prepare for the interview, find a willing friend or family member who will call you a few days before, using the same software that your interviewer will use at a similar time that the call will take place. Have them critique your outfit choice, the background you chose to sit in front of, the lighting in the room, and the acoustics. This process can take all of five minutes and has the potential to help you eliminate embarrassing snafus that could have been avoided.