As technology has improved, more hiring companies and candidates have been asking us how to conduct a webcam interview successfully during the employee selection process.
The following are 5 tips we suggest based on our experience for successful webcam interviews.
As a recruiter, my best advice is to be prepared to focus on two objectives:
1. Conduct a Test:
The hiring company and candidate should do a test with the recruiter or HR manager. If the process doesn’t go smoothly it may reflect poorly on the hiring company or candidate.
Make sure that the software and hardware (Skype, webcam and microphone) are functioning for both parties prior to the interview. If you plan to screen share a presentation, job description or resume during the interview make sure you are familiar with the process.
Sometimes technical problems are unavoidable. If one occurs address it immediately with a recommended solution (e.g. redial, check connections, re-schedule).
Ultimately the hiring company wants the candidate to leave with a good impression of their company. Similarly, the candidate should keep in mind that how he or she handles an issue is telling to the hiring company.
Generally a webcam interview is conducted during the final stages of the selection process. The hiring company and candidate should have a pretty good idea of what are their primary interests/concerns.
The hiring company should prepare appropriate questions (behavioral, situational) to address these interests/concerns. Consider providing a case study or a specific open-ended question to the candidate prior to the interview with the expectation of the candidate presenting the answer during the remote interview process.
The candidate should be prepared to resolve any concerns and demonstrate their ability to do the job just as they would in a face-to-face interview. They should also prepare appropriate questions to enable them to make their decision.
It’s a different type of interview than most hiring managers and candidates are accustomed to. Consider recording a practice session. You will notice subtle things that will make a difference in your presentation (e.g. for best eye contact look directly at the camera as opposed to your computer screen).
Practicing to make sure you’re comfortable with the format will ultimately make you appear comfortable and professional during the interview.
4. Ensure a Clean/Quiet Environment:
Be aware of your environment. Try to conduct the interview in a clean and quiet location with little or no distractions in the background. This should also be a part of the test you conduct prior to the interview.
Check sound (phone or computer microphone) to make sure no background noise disrupts the interview.
Consider the lighting in the room. If you have a window in the background consider closing the shade to prevent backlighting that would put your face in a shadow and make it difficult for the hiring company or candidate to see you.
5. Be Professional:
Don’t allow a remote interview to cause you to relax in the way you conduct the interview. Conduct this interview with the same level of professionalism and importance as you would a face-to-face interview.
Dress professionally. Actively listen. Remove yourself from any distractions. Most face-to-face interviews are conducted in a conference room. Consider doing the same for your remote interview.
The candidate may have concerns of being at a disadvantage due to the interview being a remote one as opposed to a face-to-face interview. Attempt to put those concerns to rest by showing the candidate that you are taking this interview seriously.
6. Bonus tip – SMILE:
Smile early and often during the interview to demonstrate confidence and to put each other at ease. Remember, the interview process is a two way street. The company is interviewing the candidate with the intent of making a hiring decision. The candidate is also interviewing the company with the intent of making an employment decision.
Both the candidate and employer should leave with a positive experience.
Following these tips may lead to greater success in an interview conducted over the webcam.
Candace Nelson is a partner at TBN Consulting, LLC a search firm for direct hire, contract and freelance professionals.
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