Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Spark a Conversation: Video Interview Backgrounds

Here at Spark Hire, we want to help candidates find their dream jobs using the power of online video. We get a lot of questions from readers about how to use online video in their search for a great job. These posts will address those questions about how to find success in your job search.

Question: How do I stage my background for a video interview? –Jeffrey from Atlanta

Thanks for your question, Jeffrey! It’s really a great one. Video interviews have become very popular as of late and job seekers certainly need to know the ins and outs of them if they want to succeed. When you participate in a video interview with an employer, you are letting them see your personality, communication skills and much more. What you are also letting them see is part of your home and your life through a webcam. You want what they see to be neat and tidy, and not distracting at all. If you’re not familiar with video interviews yet, then it may be difficult to know what works and what does not. Thankfully, we’re here to help you out. So let’s see what your background should look like in a video interview:

Background Color
When you are using webcams on your laptop, or a webcam you installed on your desktop, it’s likely that the other person on the video interview has a different webcam. That is why you need to pick your background carefully in order to avoid distracting the employer. The colors that show up on your webcam may look a bit different from what the employer is seeing on their screen. To avoid distracting backgrounds altogether, be sure to go with neutral colors. A gray, white or beige wall is best to use for the background of your video interview. You want to avoid bright colors such as yellows, oranges, bright greens, etc. These can be blinding through a webcam and can easily take the employer’s focus off of you and onto the bright wall behind you instead. Stick with neutrals and you should be good.

Keep a Neat Space
In a video interview, you are welcoming an employer into part of your personal space. Even if the majority of the screen is focused on your face, there is still a considerable amount of space behind you that is visible by the employer. You want to be sure that whatever is in your background is neat and organized. The worst thing you could do is start a video interview with an employer and have a terrible mess behind you. This gives off the wrong impression right from the start. The employer may take it as a sign that you are unorganized, messy or lazy. In order to avoid this, be sure to test your webcam out first and look at what is visible through the lens. If there is a mess in the background, clean it up and make it organized. Give off the impression that you are organized, mature and have your things together. Doing this will keep the employer’s focus on you and your qualifications.

Lighting
Lastly, you want to be sure that the lighting you have in the background is sufficient. If it’s too bright then you may be distracting the employer and it may hurt their eyes. If there is not enough light, they may be straining to see you. You want to avoid either of these situations, so be sure to test the lighting out before your video interview. Turn on your webcam and play with the lighting in your room. Can you see yourself clearly? If there is not enough light, try adding a desk lamp for extra lighting. If it is too bright, turn one of the lights off and see how it looks. You want to avoid bright lights behind you as well. If there is a lamp or light directly behind you, it may shine into the employer’s eyes and they will not be able to see you. On top of that, it’s very distracting. Test out your lighting before to be sure you are comfortably visible.

So there you have it. As you can see, much of what goes into a video interview is preparation. You need to test out your settings and background before your video interview to make sure everything is set up correctly and ready to go. Good luck with your video interview and remember- keep the background simple!

Do you have a question you need answered? Spark a conversation with the Spark Hire team by submitting your question to blog@sparkhire.com or in the comments below.

Spark Hire Team