How to Prepare for a Video Conference Interview When You’re Camera Shy

Of all the different types of interviews, you might hear the video interview is the least nerve-wracking one—that is, unless you’re camera shy. In that case, a short video interview can feel as though it drags on forever—not to mention the days or weeks of anxiety leading up to it! So how do you most effectively prepare for a video interview when cameras just aren’t your thing?

How to Prep Video Interview

Get in the mindset

The best way to feel comfortable on camera is to watch yourself on camera. Well before the interview is supposed to begin (as in a few days before if at all possible), determine which room you want to conduct your interview in. Your living room or dining room may help you feel more professional since those are more “formal” spaces, but a bedroom is also acceptable as long as it’s in good order. Next, set up all your equipment (camera, microphone, headset if you choose to use one, etc.). It’s also advisable to dress in the outfit you’re planning on wearing during the interview so you get the full experience of how others will see you.

Practice, practice, practice

The next step is turning your camera to selfie mode, hit record, and answer a handful of mock interview questions. According to Big Interview, doing this will give you the opportunity to review the types of nervous tics you tend toward (and that we all have at times!) while you still have time to work on tamping them down. It is especially helpful if you can record yourself a few times to see if there are any particular verbal or physical patterns you notice—repeatedly saying like or umm, for example.

Also, keep in mind that certain behaviors, such as fidgeting with your hair or dramatically gesticulating with your hands, tend to come across as more distracting via a video interview than if you were sitting in front of the interviewer in person. While looking over the footage, take the chance to make sure your interview outfit doesn’t provide any unnecessary distraction with bold lines or loud colors. Depending on the resolution of your video camera, a shirt that looks perfectly fine in person may look dramatically different on screen.

Be upfront

Being camera shy doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it’s perfectly fine to give interviewers a brief heads up that it may take you a few extra moments to gather your thoughts before you answer a question. Just don’t take too long or else a seemingly thoughtful pause may appear to turn into an uncomfortably long lag.

Run through your checklist one more time

The number one defense against camera shyness during an interview is to be confident that everything is in place and no surprises (either technological or otherwise) will pop up. That’s why Experteer recommends running through your checklist well before your interview time is scheduled. The more sure you are that all the external factors are in place, the less internally frazzled you tend to feel. Some things to consider:

  • Is your interview space cleared of extraneous clutter? All you need in front of you is your resume, the job description, and a piece of paper and pen for taking notes.
  • Is your camera and microphone working and positioned properly?
  • Is your internet connection strong?
  • Are all other computer programs that might slow down your camera closed? For example, make sure nothing is downloading in the background.
  • Are all unnecessary tabs closed? All you need open is the video chat, email, the company website, and perhaps a professional profile of the person with whom you’re interviewing.

Preparation is really the key for camera shy candidates: The less you have to worry about the technological part of the interview, the more you can focus on the human part. So while you may not ultimately transform into a camera savvy Snapchatter, a smooth video interview is within your reach.

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