COVID-19 has reshaped the college application this year. One of the biggest changes is that all interviews would be conducted virtually this year. This brings up a new problem, how people present themselves through a camera lens. Here are ten tips we can give you to up your game in at virtual college admission interview.
10. Check your tech in advance
When you’re in an interview, any type of fiddling is going to appear quite distracting for the interviewer. This is further intensified when it’s a tech problem, disrupting the flow of the interview. Therefore, you want to check all your technology in advance to make sure that everything is going to work smoothly.
9. Turn off other electronic devices
Any noises and disturbances are going to affect both you and the interviewer; therefore before you start the interview, make sure that any device that has notifications is turned off, for example phones, smart watches, etc. You are not going to want your phone beeping every few seconds or be tempted to take a look, which will divert your attention away from the camera and the conversation.
8. Flip to landscape mode
If you are on your phone or tablet, make sure you are putting the camera in landscape mode, i.e. long side of your phone facing downwards. Interviewers are going to be using landscape cameras, and if you use portrait mode you will appear a lot smaller on their screen. Since you want to be making eye contact as well as show your energy through the camera, a small screen will not be great.
7. Place your camera at eye level
As mentioned in the point above, you want to be making eye contact, so the conversation feels more natural. This means that you have to place the camera at your eye level so the camera lens is a stand-in for the eyes. If you place your camera too low, you will look too imperious as you will be looking downwards at your interviewers. If you place your camera too high, you will be looking upwards, and making yourself look small and lacking in confidence.
6. Control the lighting
Never take the interview in a dimly lit bedroom, or in an extremely bright backlit room. Both of these are going to completely shadow your face in darkness, and the interviewer won’t be able to tell your facial expressions which is crucial for a good interview. Lighting works the best when your place some light in front of your face. This is easily achieved with today’s technology, such as using a desk lamp facing towards you. Don’t forget to give your lighting a test run before the interview.
5. Sit squarely on your screen
You want to appear centered on your screen, and that means having around the same space between the screen and the top of your head as well as shoulders. If you skewed in any direction it will look uncomfortable for the interviewer.
4. Up your energy
On camera, people’s energies are mellowed out and don’t shine through as much. If you are nervous for the interview, that might be a good thing! Take those nerves and transfer them into energy, or if you’re not nervous, amplify the excitement within you. This way the interviewers can feel your emotions through the camera much better, rather than you looking dampened or lethargic.
3. Minimize background noise
By background noises we don’t just mean your phone anymore, but everything and everyone that might disturb your call in any way. For example, if your sister is home and she will be entering your room without permission, make sure she knows that you have an important call that cannot be interrupted. In other words, control everything that can be controlled by you, thus reducing distractions to a minimum.
2. Look straight into the camera lens as much as possible
As we mentioned before, you want to appear as natural as possible, and one of the many things that can help is eye contact. Since eye contact with the interviewer through the screen will appear as if you’re distracted, make sure to look into the camera lens while you’re talking. Behave as if the camera lens are the eyes of someone else, and then talk as naturally as possible. You can keep your eyes on the screen when the interviewer is talking, but it will appear more natural to the interviewer if you talk towards the camera lens.
1. Remember that you’re always on camera
There’s been multiple times where people thought that the video had stopped, but instead it was still rolling and this has led to unfortunate situations, putting both parties at an awkward moment. Therefore, you always have to remember that you’re on a camera. It is not until you’re 100% sure that the meeting is over and your camera and microphone is off where you can do a small victory dance and celebrate.