The Indiana State Government recently learned the hard way that you’ve got to go online to make an impact in the digital age.
The Department of Workforce Development staged a traditional, tents-and-handouts job fair, convinced 32 companies to trot out their marketing and recruitment staff…only to have just 15 job seekers attend the fair. Those are great odds if you’re one of the career-seeking 15, but a slim talent pool to draw from if you’re one of the (presumably) bored 32.
It seems today’s state governments are quick to learn their lessons, however. The same department turned things around this November by staging several digital job fairs over a public live video stream instead. This time they attracted the interest of more than 100 people, with hundreds more able to watch the day’s digital events at their leisure on a recorded video.
What’s the lesson? Everything is digital today. Even employment. If you want to make the most of what digital recruitment can offer job hunters, take a look through these video conferencing job interview tips–and make sure you’re not the last person carrying home bundles of leaflets from a 20th-century job fair.
A Digital Job Fair
Digital job fairs, like the ones staged in Indiana, are more or less giant video conferences. The attending employers each get time at the podium to present their case as the greatest place to work, and to outline career opportunities for young recruits. Each of these spiels is broadcast over an interactive video conference link which also enables remote job seekers to ask questions in real-time, in front of a live audience.
Digital space for such events is limited, so audience members have to sign up and download the appropriate video calling app ahead of time. You’ll find these fairs easily enough through a Google search–here’s one, and here’s one and here’s a list of fairs coming up in Canada–and you’ll need just a quality webcam to participate. Each virtual job fair you attend will likely look a little different, based on the platform being used, but here is one example of what you might expect:
The point of these fairs is to research and impress your future employer. But how do you prepare and present as if you were shaking hands with these company folks in person if you’re actually sitting in your kitchen, having just wiped the last breakfast crumbs from your face?
Video Conferencing Job Interview Tips
Unlike a real-world job interview, an online meeting demands you take into account not only your personal appearance but every aspect of the image captured by your webcam. Great hair, great suit, Motley Crue poster in the background won’t cut it. The first and most important thing you can do is invest in a quality webcam. HD models cost less than $100, and will make a world of difference in how you come across via video conference. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to:
Own your webcam space
Set yourself up in front of clean, neutral-colored wall or curtain. Something “academic” like a bookcase or a home office can look busy and distract from what you’re saying. If you need to, use a background-altering app or hardware to fill out the world behind you.
Fit your screen
As a rule, you want to position your webcam so that you’re visible from about the top of your hairline to the top of your chest is visible. You want to be close enough to convey facial emotions, but distant enough to be able to gesture with your hands.
Calm your wardrobe
Video conferencing is a complex exchange of digital information, and wearing bold geometric patterns or wavy lines will perform all manner of bad 80s music video effects on your body. Like having clutter in your background, patterns and loud clothing are also distracting. Stick to simple clothing in solid colors.
Get the lighting right
You don’t need a prison searchlight shining on your face to be visible online, but, depending on your webcam quality, you may need to perform a test video call to get the lighting right. The soft light from a couple of household lamps should do the trick, and you should be lit from the front at all times.
These tips, together with a decent sense of style, should get you through the visual elements of an online interview. However, there’s more to digital meetings than just appearances.
Presenting Your Virtual CV
If you’re visiting a whole line of potential employers at a digital job fair you’ll want to leave behind something more tangible than just a good impression. Create a digital resume of all your achievements and attributes and give your future colleagues something they can pin next to your name.
Most of the leading video conferencing platforms, including Skype, Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and Zoom, have screen sharing functions that let you share your desktop with your interviewers. Use it to play multimedia slideshows, videos, and recorded testimonials, as well as display any works of art or completed projects that are relevant. You can also post media and other materials to your website and share the link with recruiters, or make a short video and send the file using your video conference service.
The great advantage of attending a digital job fair is that you can meet face-to-face with employers from across the state, country, or globe, and unlock potential careers you’d never encounter at a real-world event. Embrace the digital nature of the new virtual career fair and video conferencing interview, and you’re ready to project your best self across the internet and land the perfect job–even if it’s in another city, state, or country–without leaving your home.