3imagesAn additional burden has been imposed lately on job candidates because more and more companies are trying to save money by resorting to Skype or video interviewing. As if it’s not already difficult to prepare for and undergo an interview, nowadays one has to be an actor on camera on top of that. So, what are the tricks of the trade to generate a more favorable result than others who are competing on camera for the same job?

Practice dry runs

By far the best way to improve performance is to practice with someone who can guide you to look your best. Test your camera equipment, and if you need to, purchase an external video camera. There are excellent-quality external video cameras for relatively little money. A good-quality video camera can improve not only the image part but also the audio part, which carries your voice.

Consider the technical details

Technical details represent a very important part of the setup: The camera should be at a distance that shows you from the chest up, so that it captures body movement in a natural way. If the camera is too close, it picks up facial details, which might not be advantageous. If it’s too distant, it impairs not only the general quality of the video but the audio part as well. The camera should be positioned vertically at about the level of your mouth, which means a little below your eyes. If it’s too low—by being, say, on your desk—and you have to look down, it could expose a double chin, if such is the case. If it’s too high, it could distort the picture. If you’re wearing eyeglasses, make sure no light is reflected in the lenses, because such reflection is distracting to viewers. Look at the screen showing the interviewer and not at the camera. Because you don’t control the camera’s adjustment to light, it’s best to check that out prior to the interview.

Is a video interview different from an in-person interview? Yes, a video interview is significantly different. From the interviewer’s point of view, he does not see you walk in, the two of you don’t shake hands, and you have no natural opportunity to make a first impression with a bit of casual conversation. The interviewer’s first impression occurs at the instant he sees you on his screen, which displays your looks, your colors that at times are not your natural colors, and your presence—meaning, how large or small you appear on his screen. From the candidate’s perspective, a video interview seems less than comfortable. Most people are not trained to be on camera the way, say, newscasters are. It feels uncomfortable—even scary—and it poses yet another dimension to worry about in the job search in addition to controlling the interview.

But don’t worry too much. All of these technical issues can be optimized via several dry runs. Your job at this point is to master the content and be fully prepared. How many times did you take a college test unprepared? A job interview is usually more crucial than a single college test.