How To Prepare For...
A Webcam Job Interview
With an average cost of more than $1,000 for an in-person interview (air fare, hotel, meals, etc.), more and more companies are interviewing applicants by webcam.
Although it might not be as good as having the prospective employee sitting in the company office and personally meeting people, it's better than a telephone interview, since body language, facial expressions, etc., in a webcam interview provide much stronger feedback.
In the TV field these interviews not only provide information on the person being interviewed, but speak to his or her understanding of the use of the medium
The following are points to keep in mind to prepare yourself for one of these interviews.
1. Dress the part. For men this means a suit and tie; for women, business office attire. (Once you get the job, you may be able to "dress down" considerably to match the attire of other employees, but you don't have the job yet.)
Watch out for major patches of white, or stripes, both of which result in video problems. Since you will probably be sitting at a desk, they will probably not know if you are wearing Bermuda shorts. However, with what's visible on the screen, make sure you show respect for the process by appearing appropriately dressed.
2. Sit in front of an uncluttered background, preferably a solid, neutral shade. No solid white or black. Plus, you want the emphasis to be on you, not on something like a travel poster of Italy in the background.
3. Make sure you won't be disturbed. This means silencing phones and letting people (if there are any around) know that you aren't to be disturbed. If Fluffy the cat has a way of jumping on your desk for attention, lock him out.
4. Do not sit too close to the camera lens or lean close into the camera during the interview. Wide-angle web-cam lenses can make you look bug-eyed.
5. Frame the picture (medium close-up) and during the interview remember stay within the boundaries you establish.
6. Do a check of the audio before you start this process and make sure there is not an echo in the room that will interfere with clear speech. A lav mic will provide the best audio.
7. Guard against interfering background sounds: a roommate's stereo, a barking dog (one you may have locked out of the room), etc. A lav mic should also reduce distracting background sounds.
8. Have your ideas in mind before you start. Unlike a telephone interview where you can glance at notes, needing to obviously look at notes on camera to answer questions makes you look unprepared.
9. Be critical about the lighting. Most webcam video is bad simply because of bad lighting. (There is plenty of information on lighting in the modules.)
10. Do a dry run with a friend, record it, go over the results, and fix what needs to be fixed before the interview. If you find that you come across effectively and you get to talk by phone to the person who might hire you, consider suggesting a follow-up webcam interview. If nothing else, it shows that you are equipped to deal with the current technology.
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