About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Get Ready for Your Close-Up: Interviewing in the Video Age

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.......
                                                        Lyrics from "Revolution" by John Lennon

When it comes to interviewing, the future has arrived. Technologically advanced organizations and some others that would surprise you are already using video interviewing, Skype and video conferencing technology to source candidates. What began as a recruitment tool used by Silicon Valley
companies is now being used in organizations as diverse as the VA Hospitals and non-profit organizations. As the technology becomes more accessible and recruiters become more comfortable with the camera, you can expect to interview via video at some point in your career.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to be part of the selection panel for a non-profit agency seeking a high-level member of their leadership team. Three candidates were in the final round after telephone interviews and the online application process. Of these three potential candidates the final two would come to Indiana for a face-to-face interview that would cost the organization airfare, hotel, meals and ground transportation. In the past few years, I’ve had an opportunity to advise blog readers preparing for their first video interview and participate in additional selection panels.

Here are a few tips from what I experienced:

1.      If you are not going to the company’s local office for the video interview with a remote office—manage your environment. If you are using Skype from home, make sure your surroundings are quiet, lighting is adequate and the background is professional. Don’t set up your laptop in your bedroom! I’m not joking, I heard of someone that did. No crying babies, no barking dogs and no ringing telephones. Hopefully you will be at your recruiter’s office using their professional video conference equipment and they will prepare you, but I’ve known others who have interviewed from home.

2.      Reduce the shine—I’m being a little picky here (and you may say superficial), but image matters. Shiny faces, dirty smeared glasses lens and men with light reflecting off a bald head comes across poorly in an HD video environment. I asked a friend in the television business how to combat this and they suggested you do what the stars do and apply a little powder if your image is gleaming. If you wear glasses, like I do, clean them before the camera starts rolling. Since I’m being superficial—avoid highly patterned dresses or ties. Go with solid colors that make you feel great.

3.      Appear relaxed—the best way to look natural knowing that you’re on camera with people interviewing you from various locations for a great job, you really want is PRACTICE. Ensure your technology works by using your webcam with a relative or friend first. Have your silenced cell phone nearby in case their equipment fails and it becomes a conference call interview. Become comfortable with the microphone, know its range, so you don’t appear to lean forward and speak into it. Also, insure the camera is at eye level so you don’t appear to be looking up at the interviewers or with the desk mounted camera, you don’t want to look down. Looking down gives all of us a double chin (I am being superficial again, sorry).  Remember to smile when appropriate especially during the initial introductions and the sign-off, the interviewers will remember your smile.

4.      Know your Interviewers Names—this is important because video interviews have their limitations. When one interviewer is at the corporate office in Boston and two others are at a field office in San Antonio, you cannot make eye contact with one person specifically. I was particularly impressed with a candidate who occasionally called us by name when answering a question. If it were done too much, it would be annoying, but it is a great way to acknowledge a specific interviewers question and serves as giving them eye contact.

For experienced job candidates, don’t let this technology throw you off your “A” game. This is one area where younger workers and more mature workers are on close to equal footing because video interviewing is new for everyone even the hiring managers. Yes, they are going to see how old you are (even before they ask your birth date to book your flight to come for the face-to-face interview) and the interviewers will also see your maturity, your self-confidence and adaptability to technology.
Get ready for your close-up and your new job!


  1. I think video interviewing would discriminate against older workers. I'm not looking forward to this being 61 years young.

  2. This video interviewing sounds scary to me and I agree with the previous comment, it is ripe for age discrimination. I have enjoyed reading your website and often agree with the information here and forward it to my friends. Hoever, in the post, I must disagree! We do not have "equal footing" with younger workers in this instance. My grandchildren rew up with webcams on computers. My younger coworkers grew up with YouTube and I still don't own a camcorder. Working at an event planning company at 63, I feel the pressure of my employer to retire in two years. Maybe I can hang on parttime, but I can't imagine doing a video interview at my age.

  3. Thanks Brenda, as usual great tips to keep us "mature" workers competitive. Never heard of this, then last week my brother had a video interview at a recruiter's office in Chicago. I forwarded your post to help him prep & now he's headed to Portland for a face-to-face!

  4. Great tips! I haven't try to have an close-up interview before. Glad that you've shared you're experience. I've learned a lot. Thanks for sharing, it really help!

  5. Interesting concept of interviewing a candidate through the Video Conferencing Software. One can easily attend the interview without any stress of travelling long distances and it is very good solution to judge the student completely by recording the session. This really shows the future trend which is already started. Good to know this.