Webcam job interviews increase in popularity


As if the interview process wasn't nerve-wracking enough, job seekers are increasingly facing another challenge, the webcam interview.

The trend, now being used by some New Zealand firms, originated in the US where it's become particularly popular with the big retailers such as Walmart and finance houses like Deloitte and the major airlines.

Think of it as similar to Skyping or FaceTiming, without the friendly factor.

In fact, 90 percent of the time there isn't a real person on the other end listening to the interviewee's answers. Responses are recorded within a set time frame and viewed later.

HireVue, one of a handful of companies making video-on-demand software, says it will conduct 2.5 million interviews this year. That's up from just 13,000 five years ago.

For employers there are several benefits to this kind of interview.  The average recruitment process is reduced from 25 days down to just 4.5 and it allows for many more candidates to be screened.

Human resources staff have the ability to review the answers in their own time, without leaving their office. Answers can also be viewed repeatedly and compared against other candidates.

For employees, the only benefit appears to be convenience. Generally, a person will be given a day or two to complete the interview and answers can usually be re-recorded if mistakes are made.

For now, the webcam interview hasn't replaced human interaction completely. It's used mainly for first round screening with a more traditional interview following, if a person gets short-listed.

Wear a suit or similar job interview attire, not trackpants - Brighter shades help prevent people from looking washed out and women can wear a little more makeup than usual but not so much as to look garish.

Choose a quiet spot with an uncluttered background - Nobody wants to see that untidy kitchen or bedroom. Don't sit on the sofa either. Sit at a desk and frame yourself, if possible, with a mid-shot as it's the most flattering.

Smile and maintain eye contact - This is can be tricky. Try not to get distracted by what's on the computer or your face beaming back at you. Instead, focus on the camera and maintain that eye contact. Think of the camera as your audience . Keep those gestures open, don't fold your arms and remember to smile.