By Jim Wong, CPA | March 2, 2014

It’s no secret that the recent rapid advancements in technology have changed our lives. We carry computers in our pockets. We never have to enter a retail store again, if we don’t care to. Heck, we can even talk to our refrigerators.

And while it’s taken a little longer for these changes to infiltrate the work environment, it is happening. Many people work remotely, some companies are 100% virtual, organizations have to have rules and requirements around smartphones and other gadgets in the workplace, and those on the job hunt have welcomed social media as an important ally.

Another place technology has changed the employment industry is during the hiring process. While a face to face meeting with a potential candidate is still optimal, where that isn’t possible, due to geographical restrictions, video conferencing has replaced the old fashioned phone interview.

This is positive for a few reasons. For the hiring manager, it always helps to see a person’s face. Their expressions, body language, and how they present themselves ‘in person’.

And for the person on the other end — the candidate — a video interview allows for ‘better selling’ — because let’s face it, an interview really is a sales pitch!

That said, if you are preparing for a video interview, it behoves you to treat it just as seriously as your would an in office, face to face meeting.

Dress the Part: Be sure you dress appropriately for the interview — even if you don’t have a proper office and have to sit at your kitchen table on a laptop. Have yourself well groomed, and have paper, pen, water, or anything else you need at hand. You shouldn’t ever “get up” from your interview, no matter how relaxed you may feel in your own environment.

Watch Your Background: While you might have to sit at your kitchen table, be sure you do some video checks before your call comes in. Check how the background looks in camera. Is it too busy and colourful? Is there an inappropriate piece of artwork in the frame, or worse? Change locations if you have to, but make sure the background doesn’t detract from what’s really important — you.

Sit Up Straight and Maintain Eye Contact: If you are on a laptop, put it on a pile of books or a box if you must. But make sure you aren’t slouching, or looking down into your screen. Proper posture gives off positive vibes, and in a video interview, eye contact is vital. Remember, you shouldn’t be looking at the face (or faces) on your screen — you need to look into your computer camera. Make that ‘camera’s on’ green dot your friend, and be sure you can sit comfortably while doing so.

Be Ready For Anything: All this new technology might be great, but we all have experienced moments when it’s — oops — failed. Be prepared for that possibility. Have your interviewer’s name and phone number — including area code, if applicable — at the ready. And make sure your phone is beside you, and fully charged. Though keep it muted, of course, during your video chat. If your Internet connection crashes, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call him or her immediately.

What other tips would you add, to ensure the best possible video interview possible?

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