Webcam improves interview skills

Aug 20: Employers told Susan Story her students needed to work on their interview skills.

She found her answer with InterviewStream, a computer-based program that simulates an interview with the help of a webcam.

"This was a way for us to do the videotaping in a much more advanced way," said Story, the director of Virginia Commonwealth University's Career Center.

The school started using the program about two years ago.

"We're buying right into the technology of this generation, and it serves a purpose. We have had people say they've gotten their job offer because of the practice they had over here," she said.

VCU students sit in front of the InterviewStream computer and camera and then respond to questions. The computer records the interview so students can e-mail it to themselves or to professors to evaluate.

Recording mock interviews allows people to analyze their own body language -- something they typically wouldn't notice in an interview setting, said Susan Sharp, a Richmond-area résumé writer.

"The most important part of the interview is the nonverbal aspect," Sharp said. "Certainly your skill set is critical, but everything comes down to the relationship you build [with the interviewer] and the nonverbal cues you send."

InterviewStream has been used by colleges and universities, but the Pennsylvania-based company that owns it recently began targeting businesses.

Since June, employers nationwide have been able to use a program called InterviewScreen online. The program lets employers view job candidates' video responses to specific questions.

About 30 employers are registered with InterviewScreen, but none are from Richmond.

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