Virtual media interviews have risen since the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, the country is moving towards re-opening the economy but, some organizations and media outlets are adhering to safety protocol and are continuing to communicate virtually. They also realize that face-to-face interviews are not always necessary.
Securing a virtual media interview is great however nailing it is another animal. With virtual interviews becoming increasingly common, there are specific things to know.
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING
The pandemic has gotten us unusually comfortable at home. The trend is to only dress from the waist up but, that does not mean your favorite pajama top should be your choice. Image is everything, especially if you are a newbie trying to make a name for yourself and your business. Look the part. Go with a comfortable- professional look or a neat v-neck T, and avoid wearing white, busy patterns for shirts with logos.
PREPARE YOUR INTERVIEW SPACE
Wherever you choose to do the interview, make sure your background is neat and appropriate. If you are interviewing from home, choose a quiet space with good lighting and a neutral background. The last thing you want is your background to be more appealing than you.
Some people make the mistake of taking the interview from their bed. Bed interviews scream unprofessional, and it is too much information for the audience.
Also, do not allow pets, roommates, or family members in the room during the interview. And by all means, turn off your cell phone and computer notifications.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO PLATFORM
You can never be too prepared. Download the interview link, and make sure your version of Safari, Chrome, or Firefox supports the software platform. Days before the interview, check out the assigned interview platform. Zoom, StreamYard, and Skype are popular choices. If you need to download or install anything, do it in advance.
DO NOT DISTURB
To ensure there are no interruptions, make sure you alert everyone in the house, and as a backup, hang a “Do not disturb” sign on your door. If your parents, roommate, or spouse bursts into the room or calls your name, it can be a disaster, especially during a live interview. It screams unprofessional.
LIGHT IT UP!
To create a visually pleasing setup, lighting facing you is best. Using a ring light will instantly improve your video calls, vlogs, Zoom meetings, and virtual interviews. If you want a bright, clear, and crisp look, keep the light about two feet in front of you.
If you do not have a ring light and the interview is in the day, sit facing a window. If you do not have a window or if the interview is in the evening, use a desk lamp and place it directly behind your laptop.
Avoid placing your lighting directly above you because it may cause dark shadows that draw attention away from your face.
BODY LANGUAGE SAYS MORE THAN WORDS
Body language is important in virtual interviews. Part of understanding people is through their nonverbal communication. Studies show that words are only 7% of the message you convey. The other 93% is non-verbal.
â€¢ Sit up straight, smile, and keep the camera at eye level to avoid looking up or down. Looking down can cast a shadow on your neck and will appear that you have a double chin.
â€¢ Aim for showing your upper body and keep your hands visible.
â€¢ Avoid shaking your legs because this will slightly shake your shoulders.
â€¢ Maintain eye contact and make sure to keep your eyes focused on the cameraâ€”not the screen image of the interviewerâ€”as you converse.
Ultimately, the key to nailing a virtual interview is proper preparation. Taking heed of the above tips will help you get the most out of your special moment.
About the author
Phyllis Caddell is the CEO and Founder of PCPR Communications (www.pcpr.co) located in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of Do-It-Yourself Publicity for Those Too Cheap or Too Broke to Hire A Publicist and an adjunct college instructor. She can be reached at pcpr.co.