How to wow in a digital interview

01/17/2014 8:00 AM

01/15/2014 1:37 PM

If you attend virtual meetings or have digital job interviews, you need a polished presentation.

I recently spoke with Paul Bailo, a digital marketing and technology expert, who has written “The Essential Digital Interview Handbook.” His tips can help you look and sound better online. His advice, plus a bit from me:

Use a name-brand web camera and a name-brand microphone. Know how to properly use that equipment as well as your software, such as Skype, GoToMeeting or Google Hangouts.

Set up three natural, soft spotlights, two clipped to your tabletop off camera, one at your right and one at your left, both pointed toward you but not into your eyes. Try to remove shadows on your face. Put the third light on the floor behind you to light your backdrop. Have a neutral background, no photos or collectibles.

Sit the proper distance from the microphone and camera. The lens should be at eye level — and clean. Look directly into the lens. Do a test run with a friend or family member to check your audio and video clarity.

Try to stay still. Don’t sit in a swivel chair. Foot or finger tapping and leg shaking may show up on screen, even if you’re just doing headshots.

If you need time or script reminders, post a clock or cue cards directly behind the camera, but refer to them as sparingly as possible.

Beware of shiny skin. You don’t want to look sweaty or oily. Your face and hair should be clean. Men: Don’t be afraid of face powder. Women: Choose your lipstick and eye makeup carefully; subtle is better.

Wear solid colors. Avoid neon hues and plain white. Dress to impress — no sweats or T-shirts, no clothing with logos, words or illustrations. Men: Collared shirts are best. Women: No cleavage or heavy jewelry.

Don’t eat, drink or chew gum while on camera. And try not to cough or clear your throat.

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