How to interview for a job online - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How to interview for a job online

WATERLOO (KWWL) - With today's economy forcing companies to cut corners, flying people in for job interviews is a luxury many can no longer afford.  But now, new technology is allowing candidates to meet hiring managers face to face - without ever leaving their living rooms!

Liz Markman knew she wanted to move, but she needed a new job first.  Going back and forth for job interviews was becoming a real pain.

"Traveling every single weekend, going on interviews, making all these phone calls," said Markman.

So she was excited when a high-tech PR firm asked her to do something a little different - an online interview using a webcam!!  The hiring manager says she loves the cyber connection.

"You're having social cues, you're making eye contact, you're laughing, you're interacting with the person in the same way that you would face-to-face," said Meghan Cavanaugh, LaunchSquad HR Manager.

More and more companies are seeing webcam interviews as fast, cost-effective ways to screen potential job candidates. has been conducting webcam interviews for the last year.

"For people that don't have a webcam, we actually will send them out a webcam with a return label so we're not requiring them to go out and buy anything to do it," said recruiting manager Christa Foley.

Merchandising assistant Kristin Colbert was hired at Zappos after her webcam interview.

"I was a little nervous with the technology aspect of using a webcam for the interview," said Colbert.

There are pitfalls to watch for.  Jeff Garber is founder and CEO of, a firm that specializes in training people for webcam interviews.  His advice?  Practice with a friend, and figure out the best camera position, lighting and background beforehand.

"Make sure that the background is clear, uncluttered. Don't have a messy bookcase in the background or a kitchen that is full of pots and pans," said Garber.

Take care of any potential noise distractions.

"From barking dogs to children running in and asking their parents if they could have an ice cream," said Garber.

And make sure to dress appropriately.

"There was one case where someone had to stand up in the interview to reach for something off a bookshelf and believe it or not, all they had was boxers on," said Garber.

Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera.  And if the technology breaks down - don't panic.  You'll be judged on how you recover.  As for Markman, the webcam interview went great.  And soon after the PR interview, she got an offer!!!

"You don't necessarily get the opportunity to shake the person's hand or get that experience of sitting right across from them. But in terms of experiences and getting a chance to interact with the person you're interviewing with, it did a pretty fantastic job," said Markman.

Most important?  Prepare your answers, just like you would an in-person you're not caught online ...and unprepared.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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