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Getting the PR Gig: Part 3
By: Mike Bush
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This is the third installment in a five-part series about how to get hired in PR, and will look at perhaps the most intimidating of the interviews: the interview performed via video conferencing. While there is no assurance that a video interview will happen for every role, the reality is that this type of interview is becoming far more common, as technologies like Skype and Google Hangouts become more prevalent.

For this article, I went looking for a particular type of expertise, and I’m thrilled to have found it in the person of Cameron Craig*, who is the head of global corporate comms for Polycom (which makes, among its offerings, amazing video conferencing technology).

I asked Cameron for any tips he could share about how to succeed in a video conferencing interview, and he had a ton of or great advice.
  • Test your technology in advance! Most software will provide a test link so you can check your system before the interview. Dial in early to make sure you’ve downloaded any required plug-ins and that everything is working.
  • Make a great first impression with good video etiquette: good lighting (not backlit), a clean background (not dirty dishes in the sink), camera at eye level, solid color top (not stripes or polka dots), quiet location.
  • Don’t be scared of “awkward silences” – give your interviewer a minute to respond, and feel free to take a minute to respond. This helps avoid speaking over each other or missing out on what someone has to say.
  • Eye contact is key. Make sure you are looking at the camera, it shows focus and makes you look better to the far end.
  • Make sure your surroundings are clean and professional. This may be the interviewer's first impression of you, don’t make them think you are a disorganized slob, party animal, or unable to present yourself professionally.
  • Body language. Just because it’s a video interview doesn’t mean the interviewer should only see your face. Try making slight gestures, but nothing over the top.
  • Check the volume of your voice. Try to find a level that’s comfortable for you and your computer’s microphone. This goes back to testing your hardware and connection.
On an anecdotal level, video conferences via Hangouts or Skype seem to be becoming more common as way to communicate with clients, so Cameron’s advice is really great for PR pros who are happy in their gig, but who start to receive this type of communication request.

ICYMI: Part 1 of the series covered how to ace the call screening, and part 2 looked at how to survive group interviews. Also, this isn’t the first time we’ve addressed video interviewing here on Flack Me; here is a piece that talks about how Skype can affect media training.

*Cameron is a PR Pro's PR Pro. If you haven’t already, check out his recent piece in The Harvard Business Review about his time in PR for Apple. It’s an amazing story that talks about how Apple is so good to controlling their message.


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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