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Facial Expressions in Your Video Interview

The only difference between a video interview and an in-person interview is that one is digital and one is face-to-face. Let that be your mantra as you prepare to use one of the many new age gadgets that are evolving the way we pick our way through life’s sea of opportunities.

Maybe you’ve participated in a video interview before and maybe you haven’t. Experiences vary from person to person; those who are better on their toes may prefer to go into the office because of the rapport you can develop with an interviewer through the back and forth. On the other hand, if you are not too confident with extemporaneous presentation you may be leaning more towards team video interview.

Whichever is your weapon of choice, the rules remain the same: exuding confidence through strong physical cues (such as facial expressions and body language) is the best way to leave a good impression. But when left alone for too long people begin displaying certain ticks they’ve developed over the course of their lives, like picking a finger nail or shaking a leg. You have to make sure these are not in your video interviews. Instead, you should replace them with facial expressions that portray confidence, comfort and likeability. Some say communication is 10 percent verbal, 90 percent body language, so although you may speak English, you might not be fluent.

While you can hide your hands and legs during your video interview, your face is always on camera. That is why you have to focus on what you say as much as what you look like while saying it. Facial expressions carry as much weight as strong body language, and so below I’ll talk about several facial expression cues you should employ as well as a few you should avoid in order to wow your interviewer.

The first is obvious: smile. Smile the whole time if you can but make sure to toe that line between confident and creepy. A smile, aside from hiding your insecurities, invites friendliness and makes you seem approachable. Psychologically speaking, a full face smile is the universal sign for ‘I’m someone you can talk to,’ the equivalent of a wave in body language. Be it at church or at work, a smile shows that you are not only friendly but confident enough to assume the other person wants to talk to you to, and this usually means that they will. But again, there is a fine line between confident and creepy so make sure you know the difference before you try it.

In a video interview, there will be an image of you on-screen so you can see how you look. Do not look at this picture unless you have the camera taped to your screen because it will make it look like you are talking to the interviewer’s neck. Writing a script beforehand to get your answers out on paper is a good training tool, but you should not be reading it off the screen while recording. It’s very easy to tell when someone is reading because the eyes will be moving side to side. Don’t even tape it behind your camera; the interviewer will not be fooled. Instead, rehearse your answers before you begin recording until you have them memorized.

Just like if you’re reading, looking around the room is sure to get noticed so don’t do it. You want facial expressions that make you seem focused, not distracted. When you’re in an in-person interview you aren’t looking at their keyboard when you are talking to them so make sure you are staring straight into the camera as you are talking in your video interview. Along with slumping your shoulders and rubbing your hands together, as far as body language goes looking down is a sign of submission. If you need to shift your glance to complement a gesture then go ahead, otherwise stay front and center. But be sure to blink and move your head from time to time- constant eye contact can get very unsettling after a while.

Treat the video interview as if you are talking to someone in person. Make eye contact as if you’re shaking someone’s hand, control your jitters and put on a smile to seem more sociable. Focused facial expressions will display confidence to the viewer and make you seem like a much stronger candidate than someone who spends the whole interview tapping a pen on their knee.

Do you pay attention to the facial expressions you give and the body language you exhibit in a video interview? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by stevendepolo

Written by

Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.

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