University of Alberta
Academic Technologies for Learning (ATL)
» Date: November 1998
The Videoconference Interview: How To Make a Big Compression!
Videoconference enabled interviews are becoming increasingly common as companies
try to reduce costs associated with recruitment. Videoconferencing is often
used as a preliminary pre-employment interview whereby professional recruiters
meet with a group of candidates to better match the position to the candidates.
Here are some pointers that will prepare you for your interview and help
you make the best impression possible. At the very least, it will ensure
that the technology doesn't get in the way of a good interview.
Question: How does a videoconference interview differ from a traditional
- Treat the videoconference interview as a formal interview.
- Expect to be introduced to all of the participants, and if you are not,
it doesn't hurt to ask.
- Speak naturally and don't interrupt.
- Avoid nervous gestures.
- More stakeholders attend the interview; it is not unusual to meet with
personnel staff, the manager, their manger and possibly even the company
president - but not necessarily all at once.
- Depending on what stage you are at in the interview process, interview
sessions may be shorter in duration but more frequent (see previous item).
- Expect side conversations to occur. Although this isn't good videoconference
etiquette it does happen.
- Occasionally, the start of the interview may be delayed by technical
problems particularly if it is a multipoint session. If this happens, stay
calm. If you have audio, you may want to have an informal chat about the
- Be aware that compression creates a delay. So what you are hearing was
in fact said ½ second ago. To prevent overlap (two people speaking
at the same time), pause before speaking.
- Compression does not handle animated gestures well. Try to limit your
movements, hand waving, etc. and put more effort into facial expressions.
- Don't lean towards the microphone as you speak. If the far end cannot
hear you, they can adjust their volume or you may need to speak up.
- Be aware of the psychological impact of the camera. Use close ups as
much as possible to give yourself the best visual presence. Avoid long
shots and do not lean back in your chair, this creates a feeling of distance.
- Avoid shuffling papers or tapping objects near the microphones.
- Put your microphone on mute if you need to cough.
- Look directly into the camera when speaking.
- In dress, avoid solid colours such as red (colour bleeds), black (underexposes)
or white (overexposes).
- Avoid busy patterns, they take so much time to digitize that your face
could literally remain out of focus.
- Avoid tinted lenses if you wear glasses.