Getting Camera Ready!
The wonders of technology have made it simpler than ever for foreign colleges to communicate directly with international students. But navigating these virtual interactions to project composure and competence takes skill. The most dazzling resume and polished oral communication skills can be undone by a patchy internet connection, flickering video feed or unintended imagery on your screen. Read below for 10 tips on how to master the video interview:
- Check Perspective: Make sure the background of your video frame doesn’t become more interesting to the interviewer than your own image! Bollywood posters on the wall or shelves filled with snacks and utensils can distract from the pertinent messages you’re trying to deliver and a whirring fan overhead may hypnotize your interviewer into a daze. Test the view with a friend before the interview – what you see in you monitor may be different from their view so get rid of those dirty socks in the corner of the room and set up a simple, clean frame.
- Let there be light: Be careful not to create a horror show affect by coming across as a disembodied voice popping out from dark shadows. At the same time there is no need for overly bright tube lighting that gives you a bright flourescent glow. Again check with a friend on the other end that your face is clearly visible so that your expressions and body language can help tell your story.
- Reveal a little: Once the lighting is perfect, set up the frame so that your body is visible from the waist up. If you’re using a mobile phone to set up the video call, make sure it can capture enough of you – no interviewer wants to talk to only your nostrils and eyebrows for 30 minutes! Your hand gestures help in communication so let your body language speak for you, but at the same time unless it’s an interview for choreography, there’s no need to show your legs and feet.
- Practice makes perfect: Practice some responses and record them before your interview. The replay may reveal your habit of saying “ummm” at every pause or twirling your hair absent mindedly, which you can correct before showtime. Ask trusted friends to tell you whether you seem comfortable or awkward in front of the camera.
- Dress for Success: Though the camera need only show the top half of your body, make sure the bottom half is presentable too. A famous story goes that one applicant was dressed in a shirt and tie, but when he had to get out of the chair to fix his internet connection it was revealed that he was only in boxer shorts from the bottom! Don’t’ let this happen to you: Come fully dressed.
- Technology backup: You don’t need to hire an IT team, but make sure you are prepared to tackle the uncertainties of technology. An internet backup like a hotspot, a second, fully charged device with the required video software installed or a neighbor’s wifi password in case of emergency can all give you some piece of mind.
- Engage a Gatekeeper: Enlist a friend or family member to guard your interview space. A child walking in searching for a favorite toy or a incessantly ringing doorbell or knocking will kill your concentration. Lock the door and at the very least post a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on. Also, keep your phones and all electronic devices out of the room and turn off alerts on your desktop. And finally, close the windows and switch on the AC to avoid intrusions of pigeons and crows!
- Keep your Cool: If you are experiencing a technical glitch like a frozen feed or a dropped audio, do not display your frustration. Maintain your composure while working through the issue whether on your side or theirs. Do not use expletives; you never know when the audio decides to kick in!
- Apply Common Sense: Double check time zones to avoid a ‘no show’ interview. Read all your application materials and know them inside out. Be a good listener, do not raise your voice or roll your eyes; in a nutshell do not display any negative body language. Be polite throughout the process.
- Stay Relaxed: Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings. Exhibit a confident and relaxed demeanour, enjoy the process so that you can reap the benefits of technology!