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IT professionals: Prepare for video interviews

February 03, 2014

The interview is a critical component of all IT job applications. If an IT professional wants to land a coveted position, he or she will need to take the time and effort to prepare for this occasion.

As Boston Globe contributor Edward Mason recently reported, there is a new wrinkle that IT job-hunters must now consider: video interviews. These online meetings are becoming increasingly common, and anyone hoping to obtain a new job should be comfortable with the possibility of taking part in such an interview. According to Mason, video job interviews differ from in-person meetings in several key ways, and job hunters would be wise to take these differences into account.

A contingency plan
One factor that IT professionals should prepare for when participating in a video interview, Mason asserted, is the possibility that the technology will cause problems. A choppy or inconsistent Internet connection will make communication difficult, if not impossible. While it is likely that the interviewer will be willing to reschedule, such hiccups will certainly not make a positive impression. IT job seekers should therefore take a few minutes to test their Internet connections and computer performance and make any adjustments that may improve the video and audio quality.

Additionally, Jill Chanin, a staffing expert, told Mason that applicants should always keep a phone nearby, so that they can potentially finish the interview through this channel.

"If you panic, that is a representation of how you handle stress," Chanin said, the news source reported.

Having a backup option in place, on the other hand, can demonstrate a cool head, thereby creating a positive impression in the interviewer's mind.

Mind the details
Another key consideration when preparing for a video interview is the IT professional's surroundings. It is easy to forget that the interviewer will see not only the job applicant during the interview, but also the background, which is likely the individual's home.

There are two main considerations when it comes to optimizing these surroundings. First, anything that may undermine the quality of the interview should be fixed or removed, Mason noted. This includes windows that may emit glaring light or distracting external sound, as well as TVs, radios and other noise sources.

Second, the interviewee must make sure that there is nothing unprofessional within view. A messy heap of laundry or unwashed dishes may negatively impact the interviewer, even on a subliminal level. A tidy background, on the other hand, will reinforce the applicant's sense of professionalism and responsibility.

A narrow focus
One final issue that IT professionals must address when preparing for video interviews is the need to remain focused. This applies to in-person interviews as well, of course. However, as Mason pointed out, a digital environment offers many more potential distractions than an interviewer's desk. It may be difficult for an applicant to break the habit of multitasking while online.

Yet even accomplished multitaskers will struggle to perform to the best of their abilities if they are attempting to check their email or perform research while answering the interviewer's questions. Additionally, the interviewer will not appreciate the applicant's divided attention.

By refraining from multitasking, IT professionals can increase their chances of making a positive impression during video interviews.

The evolving IT jobs market
The need for IT professionals to prepare for the possibility of a video interview reinforces one of the most significant developments currently occurring in the IT industry and beyond: the rise of remote work. Increasingly, businesses are hiring employees who may never set foot in the corporate office, instead performing all of their work responsibilities from home. For companies, this has the benefit of increasing the pool of potential employees, allowing them to select only the most qualified personnel.

For workers  to take advantage of this trend, they must not only be willing to work remotely, but also have the means of finding such career opportunities. To this end, partnering with an IT staffing firm may prove critical. These organizations have the infrastructure and expertise to match IT professionals with the best IT jobs efficiently and quickly.

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