The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 19, 2013

Career Coach: Advice on Making a Great Virtual First Impression

Job interviews conducted via Skype, FaceTime or some other form of videoconferencing have become commonplace.

So common, in fact, that when people prepare for a virtual interview they often fail to differentiate between it and the face-to-face interview. However, a virtual interview is very different from the traditional face-to-face interview. Knowing how to successfully communicate in this medium will set you apart from others.

So who can help you nail your virtual interview? How about the people who communicate via cameras and microphones for a living? Television news anchors know what works. The tricks of the trade can help you succeed in a video interview.

Be Prepared

Anchors are prepared before they go on the air. They carefully review their scripts and their story line-ups. You need to do the same before your virtual interview. Practice answers out loud to the questions you think the interviewer will ask.

Talk to the Camera

Anchors look into the camera when talking to us. That's why their Teleprompter is positioned over the camera. Your screen will display a shot of you and your interviewer. When you speak, ignore those two shots, and look and speak directly into the camera. It will feel awkward at first but it is important that you direct your attention there. Eye contact is key.

Do I Look Like That?

Seeing yourself on screen can be distracting. Try not to focus on that. Instead, once the interview begins, forget about the technology and what you look like on camera. Focus on what you are saying. Anchors will tell you that once they are on the air, a switch is turned on in their heads. Total and complete focus. Turn your switch on when your interview begins.

Dress Appropriately

Reporters in the field dress for the story. Do the same in your interview by dressing the way you would if the interview was "on location" and face-to-face. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing from head to toe. No short cuts. Wearing the proper attire puts you in the right frame of mind. Avoid wild patterns and loud colors. They can be distracting.

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