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Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Would you buy a car without seeing or test-driving it?

Probably not, and employers feel the same way about job candidates.

But how do employers “test drive” candidates before making a job offer without being too time consuming or expensive?

One solution has been video interviewing. Companies such as HireArt weed through job applicants and send short videos of good fits to potential employers.

To make a good impression on your video interview, experts say you should:

• Be enthusiastic.Channeling energy when you're staring at a computer screen may be difficult, it's important you appear upbeat, HireArt's co-founder Elli Sharef says.

• Dress professionally.Wearing your fraternity T-shirt or having messy hair hanging in your face won't make a good impression. You'll convey the message you don't care enough about the job.

• Check your background. Beer bottles, dirty laundry and your 12 cats shouldn't be visible. Clean up the area as much as possible, and make sure your face is lit clearly. Lighting from above can cast shadows on your face and make you look tired. Noisy children or pets need to be out of the area.

• Sit tall. You may not even realize how much you slump before a computer until you see yourself on video. Keep your eyes on the video camera “eye” so it appears you're looking directly at the viewer. Don't swivel in your chair, and avoid nervous gestures such as jiggling your leg, which can cause your whole body to move.

• Be a bit spontaneous.It's OK to practice what you want to say so you come across as articulate and confident in the video, but Sharef says one successful candidate notes he only used a couple of “takes” so he would come across as genuine.

• Do your homework. When crafting your video pitch, find ways to note that you understand the industry and the company. For example, you may want to talk about the company's commitment to sustainability as a reason you would like to work there.

• Get feedback. Ask a friend to watch your video interview, or practice before a mirror and record your pitch so you can work to eliminate indecisive words such as “kind of” or “maybe.”

Anita Bruzzese is author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy ... and How to Avoid Them.”

Write her in care of USA Today/Gannett, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108. For a reply, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Twitter: @AnitaBruzzese.

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