As a baby boomer, you might feel at a particular disadvantage in this tough job market. While it is illegal to discriminate against job candidates based on age, many of you might worry the date on your birth certificate will count against you in the race for a good job.
One of the reasons boomers fear the job market is because of the mistaken impression some employers have about boomer’s technical know-how. Some employers believe older candidates aren’t tech savvy, which is pretty far from the truth.
In fact, 20 percent of boomers aged 55 and older visit social media networks every day. And the number of boomers using social media in general has jumped more than 50 percent in the last two years. The boomer generation is increasingly embracing new technology and understanding the importance of using these tools in the job hunt.
One great tool you can use to show employers and hiring managers how comfortable you are with technology is the video interview. After a career’s worth of experience, many baby boomers are even more impressive in person than they are on paper. And by utilizing the video interview, you can connect with hiring managers on a personal level earlier in the hiring process.
Whether answering written questions posed by employers in a one-way video interview or connecting in real time with a live video interview, here are some simple tips to help you impress:
1. Professional attire required
Just because you might be interviewing from your living room doesn’t mean you should be dressed for a day of watching soap operas. Put on your best professional suit and appear exactly as you would for an in-person meeting.
This means pants are necessary as well, even if they won’t be seen in the video frame. You never know if you’ll have to get up to fetch a work sample or other relevant document, and wearing a full suit (down to your shoes!) will impress hiring managers.
2. Think about your background
In a traditional interview, you’re meeting the employer on their home turf and therefore the background of your interview doesn’t say anything about you. In fact, the office might actually give you some insight into the company or the organizational culture. In a video interview, however, your own background might be undercutting your message or distracting from your words.
For instance, you can’t spend a few minutes outlining what an organized and efficient worker you are if your background looks like an episode of Hoarders. Likewise, if you choose a cluttered background your interviewer might spend more time looking at your knickknacks then at you.
Make sure to choose a clean, sparse, and professional setting to record your interview answers or conduct your live video interview. You want to be the star of the show, not your backdrop.
3. Let them see you
Tying into picking an appropriate background, make sure you can be clearly seen on camera before you turn on your webcam. This means choosing a location with adequate and flattering lighting.
If you don’t have a well lit location, you might even want to set up a 3-point lighting system with lamps to mimic good lighting. This will require a backlight behind you, a key light to one side and a fill light on the opposite side. This lighting system will ensure employers can see you on camera and not just a dark outline.
4. Test your technology
It’s essential before you show up dressed and prepared for your video interview to ensure your technology is working properly. It’s a bad idea to have technical difficulties during a video interview, but it’s even worse if you’re a baby boomer candidate trying to dispel the technophobic myth.
Make sure to take a test run with your webcam and microphone before the actual interview. Record a snippet of conversation or use this opportunity to get in some extra interview practice. Once recorded, play back to make sure you can be clearly seen and heard. If you’re connecting with employers using a live video interview, always check your connection before turning on your webcam.
5. Don’t be afraid to show off your passion
Many job seekers are afraid to show how passionate they are about a job because they’re afraid this passion will be mistaken for desperation. Passion, however, is always a positive in the workplace. Employers want to see candidates who are truly passionate about the job and in the industry.
One of the common misconceptions about baby boomer candidates is the idea they are going to retire at any minute. But as a boomer candidate you know you’re looking forward to many more years working in an industry you enjoy. Don’t be afraid of using the video interview to show off your passion for the job. Explain what it is you love about your career sector and how this position will help you fulfill your career goals.
The video interview is a great tool to help employers connect more personally with candidates, sometimes earlier than in the traditional hiring process. So don’t be afraid to be a little personal and show just how excited you are about this great opportunity!
A video interview is a great way for baby boomers to show off personality, communication skills, and comfort level with technology. Following these simple tips, you can use the interview to make yourself more appealing to employers and maybe even land your dream job!
What are some video interviewing tips for Baby Boomer candidates? Share in the comments!
About the Author: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.