One of the most dramatic changes in the recruiting process over the last few years has been the shift to digital interviews. The financial and time management benefits are apparent, and in my role working with top HR professionals from all over the U.S., I have watched this format steadily continue to gain traction. Live internet interviewing via programs like Skype and systems like HireVue, where candidates respond via webcam to questions appearing on their screen, are both commonly used, particularly for first round interviews.

The most important rules of interviewing stay the same because digital interview questions are generally no different than those you would be asked in person. But there are several factors to control for in a digital interview, and it’s critical you think plan for these differences in your interview prep. Stand out from the crowd during a digital interview with these five important tips.

Control Your Environment: You don’t want anything to distract your interviewer during a digital interview so control all the variables. Set up your computer somewhere with a clean, simple backdrop (like a wall) where no one will walk behind you and always conduct interviews in a quiet, private space without distractions.

Light and Position Yourself Properly: The key to a quality image on a web cam is the position of the camera and the lighting. Make sure the camera is at eye level, elevating the computer if you are using a laptop. Then place a light source like a desk lamp behind the computer aimed at your face while reducing light sources coming from other direction that might cause glare.

Look Professional: Even though you are interviewing remotely, dress like you would for any other information. Do your hair and make-up; put on a suit (at least from the waist up). Sit up straight. There’s a propensity to want to dress down, especially if you are interviewing from home, but a digital interview should be approached with the same level of professionalism as any face-to-face meeting.

Make “Eye” Contact: In an interview, eye contact is essential but this is tricky with a web cam. Your natural inclination is to look your interviewer in the “eye” where their face is on your screen. However, to make the viewer feel you are genuinely making eye contact, you actually have to look at the camera. This takes a bit of practice but is well worth the effort.

Test Your Technology: Finally, make sure you minimize the chance of a technology failure. Check the strength of your wi-fi connection, make a test call to check on your microphone, and ensure your volume and screen brightness are at comfortable levels. This is also a great time to test your lighting set-up, experiment with how far you should sit from the camera, and get a little bit of extra practice in looking at the camera while speaking.

Of course, don’t neglect all of your other preparation like researching the company, reviewing your answers to common questions, and preparing insightful questions to ask. The biggest mistake candidates make is not taking digital interviews as seriously as live interviews. Prepare thoroughly and professionally and you’ll knock ‘em out of the park.

What tips and tricks have helped you succeed in digital interviews? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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