Polycom Employee

In our recent press release “HR Professionals Expect Video Conferencing to be Their Preferred Communications Tool in 2016”, we talked about the move toward video and its advantages for talent management, staffing, training, productivity and flexible work arrangements (read more about it here).


A 2013 survey quoted in this story found that 32 per cent of organisations were now investing in video interviewing, compared to 21 per cent in 2012. The key reasons for this were:


   -  To reduce travel costs
   -  To shorten the time to hire
   -  To reach geographically dispersed candidates


As videoconferencing becomes a common feature in more companies, one would now expect to have to participate in an interview over video at some point in their job search.


As much as we like to think that a video interview is the same as a “face-to-face” interview, there are subtle differences, which any savvy job seeker should make a note of.


1)  Get the timing right


If you are being interviewed over video, chances are the interviewer is in a different geographical location. As such, to be on the safe side, ask for details on where the interviewer is located and double check the time of interview. If it’s a long distance interview, you never know if someone’s made a mistake on converting the time across different time zones, especially when there’s a switch for daylight saving.


2)  Learn the equipment


Most video conference room solutions like Polycom’s RealPresence Group Series and software solutions like RealPresence CloudAXIS are intuitive and easy to use. However, don’t assume that all video conference solutions are made the same!


“Murphy’s Law”: don’t leave anything to chance! You should make sure you know where the volume and mic controls are. It’s also a good idea to have the details to hand to reconnect the call if it ever disconnects or if you need to move room or location for some reason.


If you are already confident using videoconferencing you can take advantage of the further features it offers. For example, if you wish to share a presentation or some other on-screen content with the remote interviewer, request to have access to the meeting room at least 15 minutes earlier to learn how to share content. If you are being interviewed by using a webcam on your own desktop, ask for guidance prior to the interview on how to do this. Personally, I like to use content sharing to illustrate my points visually. Thus, this is a very useful feature to learn.


Lastly, if you are in a meeting room, identify where the camera is located. In a well set up room solution, the camera is placed at eye level, allowing “natural eye contact”. Don’t take for granted that all rooms are set up with the same standard. If you noticed that the camera is set up in a way that doesn’t allow natural eye contact, make a point to look into the camera from time to time. This allows the interviewer on the other side to receive eye contact, thus eliminating the awkward feeling of not being able to “look” at each other when you’re talking.


3)  “Emergency contact”


Prior to your interview have the name and contact number of your recruiter or HR executive to hand. Most video interviews are conducted 1-on-1 where the candidate is left alone in the room. Thus, just in case (for whatever reason), make sure you know how to get some assistance if required.


4)  Check yourself on the screen


All video conference solutions come with the feature to see you on screen. Always make sure that you adjust your camera so that you are well framed. I would recommend framing yourself in a way where you are showing your hands.


As you will likely be taking notes throughout the interview, you don’t want to give the interviewer the impression that you are “doing something else” as they can’t see your hands.


5)  If you are taking the call from home, note the following:


Check your connection and equipment before the call. Clean up the clutter in the background, and check your lighting. And lastly, make sure you’re appropriately attired even if you’re taking the interview from home. You can refer to my previous blog entry on “Better Video Etiquette” for more tips.


Happy interviewing!





Eric Wong left Polycom as of March 2015. This blog post is his personal view and reflective of his thoughts while at Polycom.


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