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Video Interview Tips….. Keep Up with the Times

David Law

Sat, 11 Jan, 2020


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 5 minutes

Gone are the days of sitting in a room full of other nervous job applicants, waiting for your turn to go into the conference room. Your CV and cover letter are, of course, still necessary’ but, now, they take the back seat. Nowadays, most up-to-date companies conduct their interview and hiring process online.

Hand in hand with location, independent work, digital freelancing, influencing, and online masterclasses, video interviews are the zeitgeist of our era. This means that, whether we like them or not, we’ve got to learn to roll with the punches: video interviews are here to stay.

Is this good? Is it a setback? It mostly depends on you, and on what you make of the unique possibilities that digital hiring offers. If you’ve already gone through the process of a video interview, you know that it’s not as simple as sitting in front of your computer’s camera and hoping for the best.

Video interviews are different from traditional interviews in more than just channel. The format, the speed, and what companies expect from you as a candidate are a whole new world.

What is a Video Interview’ Insider Information

As the name implies, video interviews consist of you talking and recording yourself on camera. The leap from the traditional process to this is equivalent to the gap between an everyday conversation and on-screen acting. Of course, you don’t need to be a professional thespian to ace your interview’ you only need to understand what it is, and how to play up your strengths in this new format.

A video interview can belong to one of two types: ‘selfie-interview’ and software-prompted interview.

The first kind is pretty self-explanatory’ it requires you to record yourself talking (monologuing, if you will) in response to a predefined list of questions sent to you by the hiring company beforehand. This has a clear advantage: you can edit and re-record as much as you like before sending the final cut.

The second type of interview (software-prompted) is a little trickier. In this case, you will log onto a platform or interviewing app’ specialised software that will quiz you in real-time.

When a question pops up on your screen, you will have a few seconds to gather your thoughts before the software starts recording your answer. Then, you will be able to talk for an allotted time period (usually, one to two minutes). You have to make the most of it!

The Real Deal: What to Expect

The truth is that, for most people, transitioning from conventional interviews to their video counterparts is not as easy as pressing a camera button and smiling. The process itself has some inherent pros and cons that you need to keep in mind.

What are the advantages of video interviews?

  • If looking an interviewer in the face makes you nervous, the fact that there is no one there on the other side (big difference from Skype, for example) can help put you at ease.
  • You will have some time (unlimited in selfie-interviews, restricted in the software-prompted kind) to prepare your answers.
  • Choosing the space you’re in can be less nerve-racking.
  • In the case of selfie-interviews, you get to edit and practice.
  • There are no interruptions or disapproving glances to get you off track.

Unlike resumes and cover letters, video interviews allow for your personality to shine through.

Some disadvantages of video interviews are:

  • No context: without voice or physical cues from an interviewer, it can be hard to gauge how you’re doing and adjust your performance.
  • You set the tone’ be extra mindful of space and presentation.
  • There is no one to guide your answer, so you need to be clear on what the company wants to hear beforehand.

Video Interview Tips’ How to Ace It

So how do you maximise the advantages and minimize the pitfalls of video interviews? In order to make the best of your opportunity, there are some professional video interview tips you need to follow.

1. Perfect the setting

While you don’t have to tune the details of your video interview setting as if it were at a West End play, there are some items you need to check off. The focus of the video must be on you, your communication, and skills.

To avoid any distractions, keep visual and audio noise to the minimum. If you’re recording from your home, make sure there are no TVs or radios on, and take a moment to lock the door. Otherwise, choose a quiet spot (for example, in the library or an empty classroom) with a neutral backdrop. All eyes will be on you.

2. Dress the part

Even if the video interview format seems casual, don’t let it fool you. In professional settings, it’s always better to be overdressed than to come across as too informal. If you’re unsure of the company’s dress code, you can’t go wrong with conservative business clothing’ aka, a blazer and shirt. Wear neutral colours and keep accessories in check. Essentially, think of what you’d wear to a conventional interview.

3. Go on a scavenger hunt

No, not literally’ you just need to find out as much information on the company as you can. Because you might not have a lot of time to think your answers through, it’s best if you already know about the company’s goals, values, and culture. You can even write it down to memorize it.

This is key to quickly tailoring your answers to the needs of the company and staying relevant at all times.

4. Muscle memory is crucial

Talking in front of a camera, without any feedback, can make anyone nervous. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice recording yourself, in the same attire and setting, while you talk about your experience.

Watching the video a couple of times will let you spot any weaknesses, rambling, or mannerisms and correct them. You can also get a friend to check it out. Even in those cases in which you don’t know the questions beforehand, practising will take the edge off a stressful situation.

5. Be concrete

In any interview, your goal is to offer tangible anecdotes or examples from your own experience to illustrate your skills. In a video interview, this is even more pivotal to your success.

Having limited answering time means you need to deliver your point across as clearly and swiftly as possible. Before the interview, think of concrete examples that will show the hiring company just how you’ve behaved and succeeded in specific situations in the past. This way, you will be quick on your feet when it’s your turn to talk.

6. Don’t worry about expressions

The truth is that most of us are not trained actors. Of course, you will be nervous about how you look on camera, and whether you are smiling enough, or frowning too much. It’s easy to overthink it’ especially with selfie-interviews that leave you time to edit.

Instead of fretting about your smile and other facial expressions, focus on communicating your skills and experience effectively: what you say has more impact than how you look. The company probably doesn’t care about your teeth that much anyway.

7. Mistakes are normal

On the same note, don’t worry too much if you stumble or blank out under pressure. It’s perfectly normal, just forget it, keep calm, and carry on. If you find that the ticking of the clock gets you panicking, simply pause, take a deep breath, and continue your answer.

8. Be confidently you

The biggest asset that video interviews offer is the possibility to showcase your personality and bring an otherwise lifeless resume to life. It’s your unique chance to be a face and voice that hiring managers will not forget, so don’t mask who you are.

You have more to offer than a list of qualifications: let your true colours shine through. With the right preparation, a professional mindset, and a healthy dose of confidence, you will certainly ace your video interview!

Good luck!

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