Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Good Impression

I attended a job fair for a teaching postion earlier this month. A week later I got a call from the district HR department asking me to come in for an interview. After setting up a date and time, the woman said, almost as an afterthought, that the interview would be videotaped. Today I went to a job interview that was videoed.

As if going on an interview wasn't stressful enough, I also had to worry about how I would look on tape! I did some research on the ins and outs of being onscreen. The most common tips seemed to be:
  • Don't wear clothing with tight patterns or pin stripes, because it causes an optical illusion and looks bad.
  • Avoid wearing black, white, or red, because they don't show up well.
  • Wear makeup (foundation and concealer) to improve your skin tone.
I was in a quandary. My go-to outfit is a black, grey, and white striped pantsuit that I wear with a white top. Every time I wear it I get tons of compliments. Also, I never wear makeup other than mascara. I was 0 for 3 on helpful tips.

I tried putting together other combinations of clothes, but in the end I went with my old reliable outfit. I figured that it was more important to feel good than to worry about what I looked like.
I bought the smallest (and cheapest) bottle of foundation I could find, hoping it would do the trick.

I was asked to arrive fifteen minutes before my appointment to complete some paperwork, which turned out to be reviewing and signing the application that I completed online and completing a child abuse screening permission form. It looked like there were multiple interviewers working today; the district must have a lot of applicants!

My interview was held in a room just big enough for a round table and two chairs. After the interviewer closed the door, she asked if I was aware she would be videotaping, then she began reading from her script. Before she started with the questions, she formally asked my permission for her to turn the camera (a small camcorder on a tripod next to the table) on. The interview itself contained a standard set of questions; each applicant answered the same things. I guess that will make it easy for the hiring manager to use the videos to compare all the job candidates.

When the session was over and the camera turned off, I was told I would hear within a few weeks if I would be called in for yet another interview.


  1. In my previous life [as a corporate headhunter] we used to conduct video conference interviews and I always had to explain to people what to wear. We would actually encourage people to wear either a darker colour or something with pop, like red or a bright blue. White was a no-no. We never told people to wear makeup or no pinstripes. Sometimes interviews would be videotaped and we always thought - how awful for our poor candidates...I can see how it would really set you on edge.

    Hope you get a callback!

  2. My, you're had quite an interesting past with a variety of jobs!

  3. Yes, I'm something of a Renaissance woman. Though many would say I'm just plain old flaky.

    I've done every crummy job imaginable [loads of retail and customer service, waitressing, bartending, barista], data entry and other office stuff, I worked with the executive search firm for three years. I am trained as a journalist and have a different undergraduate degree. And most recently I worked in development for an autism centre.

  4. I'm glad you went with something you were comfortable in. That seems far more important than how it would appear on the recording.