Phone Interviews Out, Video Based Interviews In

Interviewing is one of the biggest parts of my job. Normally these interviews take place in-person and on-campus. There are times, however, when I have candidates that I am interested in interviewing but unable to meet on-campus and/or in-person. In these situations instead of scheduling a phone interview, I turn to my web cam. Web cam interviewing has become more common as most computers now have built-in a web cams and great free two way video applications exist, like Skype and oovoo.

I have been conducting video interviews for a while now and I love it! Video allows both verbal and non-verbal communication, where as phone interviews only allow you to express verbally your interest and why you should be chosen for the position. Video interviews provide all the same benefits of a face-to-face interview with the added benefit of being in the comfort of your own home, office, dorm room, etc. With that being said, you would be surprised as to what I have seen during these web cam interviews! So, let me take this opportunity to provide you with some web cam interviewing etiquette so you don’t become a recruiter’s “what not to do” story.

Video interview preparation should be very similar to how you would prepare for a face-to-face interview. Although you may feel more comfortable at home in front of your computer versus across the desk from a recruiter, web cam interviews should be treated with the same level of formality and professionalism.

First and foremost, make sure you have a web cam and know how to use it. Just as you wouldn’t be late to an in-person interview, don’t cause delays to your video interview due to your lack of technical preparedness. This is probably one of the most frustrating things from a recruiter perspective when it comes to video based interviews.

Make sure the application your recruiter is using for your interview is downloaded on your computer and working properly. Test out your web cam via this application adjusting your lighting, audio, etc. I would strongly encourage you to contact a friend or family member who also has this program and a web cam so you can practice. By the time you have your interview you should feel completely comfortable so if there are any technical difficulties you feel confident fixing them.

Where you set up your web cam for your interview is also important. If you have ever chatted with someone via web cam you know that the video will show your face as well as everything behind you. If you are in a messy room or have inappropriate pictures hanging in the background this can be distracting and leave a bad impression. Not only should you choose a location that presents a professional image but also one that is quiet. The last thing a recruiter wants to do is fight to hear you amongst your wild roommates or noisy pets. Pick a place that is a comfortable setting for you but also appropriate.

Lastly, it is important to dress professionally even when doing a video interview. As previously mentioned, you typically can only see the person’s face, however that doesn’t mean it’s ok to interview in your underwear! Make sure you are in business attire from head to toe. If you wouldn’t wear what you have on to a face-to-face interview then you shouldn’t be wearing it for your video interview!

I’ll admit it, I work from home and my typical uniform is a tank and yoga pants. When I have a web cam interview scheduled I just throw on a suit jacket. Well one time I wasn’t thinking and the candidate asked me a question that I needed to grab paperwork for in order to provide an answer so… you know where this is going. Don’t make the mistake I did, the last thing you want is for a recruiter to see you in your flannel pajama pants and fuzzy slippers.  Take it from me, the comfort is not worth the embarrassment.

So next time a recruiter asks if you are willing to do a video interview versus a phone interview, remember to get accustomed to using the computer program and web cam, create a professional setting and dress to impress. With these tips you should always say no to the phone interview and yes to the video interview!


Heidi is one of 3 College Recruiting Managers for Hyatt. She is responsible for recruiting top talent  at hospitality universities across the country, primarily for Hyatt’s Corporate Management Training program and Corporate Internship program.  Heidi visits up to 14 campuses twice a year to promote the Hyatt brand and college programs. Most recently Heidi has become involved with External Functional Recruitment for Culinary Management positions in North America. She earned her BS Degree in Interpersonal Communication with a minor in Business from Ohio University in 2001. Heidi has been with Hyatt for 9 years and started in the programs she now recruits for. To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus blog at

Related posts:

  1. Conquering the Phone Interview
  2. On-Campus Interviews
  3. Preparing for Interviews

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