As a candidate, you need take advantage of every possible way to sharpen your interview skills, and make sure you are presenting yourself in the best possible way. Many career advisors recommend practicing answers to standard questions out loud, in front of a mirror or with friends. While this is a good start, how much better would it be if you could replay your answers for yourself?
Fortunately, technology has come up with a way for you to do that. Video cameras are so inexpensive now, it’s very easy to get one and record your answersto standard questions. You can then review the recording, and practice until you like what you see.
Many college career centers are using this technology. Their students are able to video themselves interviewing from their dorm rooms, using the webcams that are now standard on many laptop computers. They can practice at any time, and use a web interface to instantly replay, evaluate, and practice their answers. At some schools, students can email the video to their career counselor, who can provide advice on body language, content, and the number of “um”s. Not only wording, but body movement, facial expressions, and other non-verbal messages can be reviewed and critiqued.
Being able to practice your communication skills, and see how you appear to others, can give you a big advantage. All this practice not only makes perfect, but it also builds confidence. A significant part of the interview process is watching how the candidate deals with stress. By practicing, you build your confidence and comfort level, so you appear much more relaxed when you get to the actual interview.
Companies are starting to embrace video interviewing as well. Being able to interview candidates at a distance is a tremendous cost-cutting device, allowing companies to eliminate non-viable candidates without airfare and hotel bills. Only the best candidates are brought on-site for final interviews and to sell them on the company.
In one scenario, a third party interviewing company sends the candidate a webcam and detailed instructions on how to set it up, along with contact information in case of technical problems. When the candidate is ready to begin, the questions appear. The candidate has a set amount of time to read/watch the question, then answer on camera. The candidate can rehearse as many times until comfortable with the final submission. Employers are looking not only for technical skills along with the highly valued soft skills. If you display promise in both areas then you could get the prized face-to-face interview. This could give you the advantage you need.
When recording an interview, there are several things to keep in mind. Make sure you have a quiet location with no background noise, and ideally a blank or visually boring wall behind you with no inappropriate items in view. Dress professionally, just as you would for an in-person interview. You never know what will show up on camera, and it will make you feel more professional.
As more and more organizations start to use this technology, your familiarity with it can only help you. And who knows, you may become a YouTube star! ACS is paying attention to this growing trend, so stay tuned for announcements of new developments in this area.
This article was written by freelance technical writer Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D. of Balbes Consultants, and author of: “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists,” published by Oxford University Press (2006).
New Member Benefit: ACS Careers Joins Forces with InterviewStream
ACS Careers and InterviewStream are joining forces to help you build strong critical interviewing skills. By using the InterviewStream system, this is your opportunity to convince the employers that you are the right person for the job. InterviewStream’s development module will provide you with the tools to learn about the interview process, conduct practice interviews, and receive feedback from ACS Counselors. Average users report a reduction in interviewing anxiety by 35%.
You can use this tool and get feedback from your friends, business associates and ACS Career Counselors (a free service available for ACS Members).