How to Beat Your Competition in a Video Interview


Video Interviews – Because, What Could Go Wrong?

There is only one thing you need to do to beat your competition in a video interview: Be distraction free.

Skype and GoToMeeting interviews leave an incredible amount of room for error, so having a distraction-free run will automatically put you in a good light. What could possibly go wrong during a video interview that would be distracting? Here are just a few ridiculous things that have actually happened to your fellow job seekers:

  • A cat ran across the keyboard and turned the computer off.
  • A giant teddy bear was photo-bombing the interview over a candidate’s shoulder.
  • The cell phone rang during the interview and the candidate’s ring tone was ‘Blame Canada’ from the South Park Movie. The interviewer was Canadian.
  • The candidate wasn’t wearing pants and didn’t realize there was a mirror behind him, revealing that he was wearing only his button front shirt and boxers.
  • Distractions are a pet peeve of most interviewers, so take whatever actions necessary to eliminate as many as possible. Lock your cat in a different room, put your cell phone on silent, bribe your noisy neighbors to be quiet for an hour with a plate of freshly baked cookies, and for goodness sake, put on some pants!

If a distraction occurs despite having taken these precautions, know that the interviewer will be judging your reaction to it. A potential CEO was on a Skype interview when his maid appeared behind him as she was cleaning. He turned around and politely asked her to come back later. The interviewer would have had a much different opinion of the candidate had he turned around and crossly told her to leave.

5 Tips for a Distraction Free Video Interview

Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell may want you to lean in, but the web camera does not. Skype or video chat with a few friends before your interview so that you become familiar with how the camera perceives your body language. When you lean towards the camera during a video interview it can make you come across as aggressive or eccentric. Instead, sit slightly off-center of the camera frame with one hand on the desk and the other in your lap. According to Forbes, this will create asymmetrical posturing and make you seem relaxed and confident.

Don’t get crazy eyes! Don’t stare directly into the camera, it can come across as really creepy. Another pitfall occurs when you try to make eye contact by looking at the person’s eyes on the computer screen. This makes it appear as though you are looking at your lap or are drowsy. The best option to create the illusion of eye contact is to look over the interviewer’s shoulder.

Consider changing your username if you are currently listed as crzygrl72, spidermanisthebomb, or something similarly unprofessional.

Test your lighting. Bad lighting can be distracting for interviewers if you appear red, blue, or if they can hardly see you. This can make it hard for them to focus on your answers and harder for you to leave a strong impression.

Think about the background. Having a well-organized home office in the background will make a great impression on the interviewer. But, if your house or home office is a mess and you don’t have time to tidy up, consider purchasing a backdrop background and support system. Just set it up and within minutes you’ll have a pristine background for your video interview that is distraction free.

Now you have all the tools you need to beat out the competition in your next video interview. Good luck in your job search!

robin-guidry-headshotRobin Guidry is a résumé writer, Douglas Adams fan, and corporate recruiter in the cutthroat computer software and IS&T industries. If you’re looking for a new job, or know somebody who is, Robin can help you with that, too. Visit to learn more.

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