First round interviews for administrative roles have transitioned over the past couple of decades from phone interviews to in-person “airport” interviews and, increasingly, to video interviews. While not as satisfying as an in-person introduction and interaction, the increasing quality of video interviews as well as the relative low- or no-cost price point and convenience, particularly for the candidate, make it an attractive substitution.
When partnering with an institution, we often recommend interviews by video for the first round, particularly when flying candidates across the country is simply not in the search budget. Through trial and error, and a few humorous gaffes (a candidate’s camera stuck on zoom, giving us a close-up of only a magnified eye . . .), we have developed some recommendations.
- Become familiar with the technology and software if you have not already, ideally before you even have an interview scheduled. Have a video chat with your spouse, colleague, friend, or student. The more you use it, the more comfortable you will be during an interview, and you will be better able to focus on the questions and the substance rather than be distracted and, potentially, distraught by the technology.
- If we know that the institution will be using a particular technology or platform, we can set up a test with you before the interview.
- Do the test connection from the same location and at approximately the same time as the planned interview, in order to most closely simulate the circumstances and internet speed. Bandwidth, lighting, and sound vary, and a successful test at the office may not provide a successful interview from home.
- Make sure the camera angle is straight forward, rather than looking up, down, or sideways at you.
- During the interview, be sure to look at the camera rather than your computer screen. Looking at the camera is your way of making eye contact with the search committee.
- In addition to dressing professionally, as you would for any interview, be mindful of your backdrop and make sure it is tidy and presentable.
- Be patient and expect awkward pauses due to technology delays or lack of body language cues.
- Since glitches may occur and adjustments may be necessary, the key to a successful video interview – for committee and candidate – is to remain positive and flexible.