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Firms turn to video job interviews

Time constraints, costs lead to widespread use of 'face-to-face' technology

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The next time you snag that job interview, you may be asked to do it via video.

Video conference job interviewing is increasingly becoming a popular option for companies crunched for time, looking to save costs and quickly get "face time" with far-away candidates, according to recruiters.

"It's not surprising because employers do video conferencing with colleagues and clients around the globe," says Clay Parcells, a Baltimore area regional managing principal at Right Management, a consulting and outplacement firm. "It has caught on in the last year and a half as more employers are using them as they qualify candidates for open jobs."

Increased familiarity of the technology is partly fueling its usage, but don't expect video interviews to replace face-to-face evaluations. Recruiters liken video meetings to phone interviews, meaning companies are only making an early assessment.

Kim Bishop, who specializes in recruiting senior executives in financial services, technology and banking industries at talent management firm Korn/Ferry International, uses video interviews to assess candidates.

"I don't think it'll replace people wanting to meet with candidates or employers face to face," she says. "It's a vehicle and tool for companies and candidates to more quickly have initial conversations."

Besides potential equipment glitches that can pop up, recruiters say video interviews are essentially like in-person job meetings.

"People need to remember that it's just like going into a face-to-face meeting," she says. "Whatever your attire would be should be the same. I once had someone who stood up at the end of the video conference and the camera was still on and he had jeans on."

Regardless of how you're interviewed, do your homework.

"Anytime a candidate is doing a phone interview or a video conference or one-on-one or group interview, be well prepared," Parcells says.

And if you're a video conference newbie, Bishop suggests arriving early at the location where the interview will take place to take care of any technical issues.

Speak clearly and slowly into the microphone, and look at the camera. Remember: there is someone on the other side, so maintain eye contact.

Have you been interviewed via video? Tell me your experience. Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun.com. Please include your first name and your city.

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