First Time Interviewing on Camera? Important Tips for Success

If it’s been a minute since you’ve been out interviewing for jobs you may find the environment a bit different so let me give you a quick run-down of the typical landscape.
Camera Interview Photo

By Michele in Talent Acquisition

If it’s been a minute since you’ve been out interviewing for jobs you may find the environment a bit different so let me give you a quick run-down of the typical landscape. This applies mainly to typical salaried jobs covering a lot of the corporate support functions. When we reach out to you to get to know you and your skills better it’s highly likely we’ll want to set up a call using Microsoft Teams that will include a link to get on camera together. Sometimes we spend all day on camera so we hardly think about it as strange or different any more. When you see that link, you might think to yourself, “I wonder if this means I have to be camera-ready?” You can always clarify and ask if it’s not clear to you. Meeting on camera is really to your advantage. Why? It streamlines the interviewing cycle time as it approximates the in-person interview so well. To get you ready, read on for a few tips for success.  

I have been struck lately by candidates who seem to just shine or “pop” on video versus those who fall a little flat. It makes me wonder why some people stand out so dramatically and other people don't. There are plenty of advice articles out there that provide tips on how to look your best on video. This advice typically includes how to light yourself properly (light your face from behind the camera), what to wear (avoid stripes), how to make eye contact with the camera, uncluttering your background, and more. But what I'm talking about is different -- some people really shine on camera and have a way of grabbing your interest through the lens. You want to be one of those people, but how?  

Tip #1: 

Authenticity. It's hard to explain why and how some people come across so naturally on video but I think the key word is "authenticity." They use their head and hands naturally. They speak naturally with a tone of voice as comfortable as if I am right in the room with them, and they're speaking just to me. They breathe naturally with very normal facial expressions. No stiffness at all. How does one achieve that authenticity and natural vibe on camera? I think it’s a measure of confidence that drives the comfort. Those who shine through seem to be quite confident that they have something useful to say. 

If you don’t naturally have that confidence, here are a few ideas: 

  • Surround yourself with your confidence boosters like your favorite necklace or jacket that just makes you feel like a million bucks or something off camera that only you can see. When you are comfortable, it makes the listener comfortable too, which means they are ready to listen and absorb what you are saying. 
  • Put a post-it or tape notes with a few key bullet points up at eye level near the camera with the key highlights that you don’t want to forget to mention – either things about you or about the company or some great questions you want to remember to ask. Notes down on the desk are not as good. Looking down is obvious to the interviewer that you are sneaking a peak at your notes. 

Tip #2: 

Brevity. I'll keep this part concise. During the stress of an interview, rambling, getting off topic, or simply losing the point seem to be magnified. A lot of people choke. I really enjoy candidates who get to the point, communicate effectively, and finish their point efficiently. Focus on articulating what you want to say to answer the question, say it, and get out of your own way. A good interviewer will ask you for more details and dig in if they want to hear more and then go for it. But it’s a good idea to pause and check in after about 5-10 minutes to make sure the content and detail you are providing is on track with what the interviewer is hoping to capture from you.  

The combination of these two elements – authenticity and brevity – really make a huge difference when standing out, especially when interviewers are using technology to meet you “in person” through a video camera.