I think video interviewing is a nifty idea. When two people can connect in the early stages of the hiring process and figure out if they like one another — without a whole lot of time and investment from either party — I am on board.
And let me feed my ego: I was an early adopter of video interviewing and have been writing about it for years.
I also love Google Hangouts for company meetings. The technology makes sense, saves money and keeps everyone on the same page in a “remote” world.
But what I don’t like it when people use video much like they use the phone. So here are some techniques to optimize your mobile experience.
- Have the right equipment. The inherent value proposition behind video is simple: have a web camera and show up. Unfortunately, that’s a lie. It isn’t enough to have a webcam. You always need earphones to minimize the blow-back audio that sounds like a Japanese riot weapon. And buy an external webcam with a mic. That works the best.
- Have the right infrastructure. South Korea has lightning fast wifi. Your home office does not. Jack right into your internet source or your video will freeze and your audio will sound c
- Focus. Shut down other apps when you’re on video. Nothing slows down video like Tweetdeck and five open browser windows. And just like the phone, it’s easy to know when you are multitasking. We can see you, for goodness sake.
My final tip? Be ready for epic failure on video. I had a meeting with a client and we connected via Skype. He had an old PC running with (what I suspect was) a Mosaic browser and Windows NT. It was a hot mess. My computer flashed a warning screen that said OH HELL NO.
But my client insisted on video. We improvised. And it wasn't horrible. I told him to turn down the sound on his computer and call my home phone so he could watch me while we talk. (Yes, that's about as creepy as it sounds.) He called but forgot to mute his computer, and I spent the first 90 seconds explaining how I could still hear myself on a five second delay. Once he understood the whale-deafening experience that was happening in my ears, he got on board.
And this guy works in HR technology.
Folks, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Before you embrace video as a means to communicate more effectively or interview candidates, please get the basics right. Invest in decent equipment, have the right infrastructure and focus your time and attention on your video meetings.
I know you’ll do better than my client!
Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.