It is becoming more and more common that employers will use video responses or video interviews in the candidate selection process. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of that onscreen opportunity.
Why are so many employers using video interviews?
The short answer is that they can cut a lot of time out of the employment process. Once the candidate list for a position is short enough to move to first interview stage, the practicalities of arranging those meeting can slow things down quite a lot. Video is faster, easier and doesn’t require making time in a lot of different diaries. So, here are a few thoughts and tips on how to prepare for and then make the most of video screening.
Employers will use video in two ways. Either as a screening ‘video response’ exercise where you will be asked to answer some set questions on video or in a more face-to-face ‘live’ scenario. Most of these tips relate to the video response screening process, but many are applicable to both.
1. Check your tech and test it twice
You would be amazed how often candidates try to record their responses and find the microphone isn’t working or their broadband is playing up. Trying to fix the tech on the go and respond to the questions at the same time is not going to do anything for those interview nerves. Do a test recording first to make sure everything is in working order, then check it again before you start.
2. What questions will you be asked?
Often these are actually not that different from the initial parts of a face-to-face interview. The purpose of these video response questions is usually to replicate the ‘getting to know about you’ bit of an interview, so you are likely to be asked questions such as:
- Tell us about your experience?
- What do you value most in an employer?
- Give us an example of when you were faced with a difficult work situation and how you resolved it.
- What are your strengths, weaknesses, areas for development and so on?
- Where do you see your career heading?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Tell us about yourself.
There may well still be the odd curve ball thrown at you, but again this is nothing you wouldn’t expect in a standard interview. Which brings us to the next tip…
3. Prepare as you would for any interview
Research the company, know the job, check the social feeds, and review your CV just as you would if you were going to an interview. This is a good time to think about your own skills, ambitions, and experience. Confidence comes through on a screen just as it does in real life, so take a moment to reflect on who you are and what you can bring to the role.
4. Take advantage of being on video
If you are video aware, you will perform better. We suggest that candidates spend time recording themselves, playing it back to see where they could improve and then putting that into action. I know the idea of seeing yourself on video probably fills you with horror, but it is worth it in the long run. Try to be impartial when you view it back. Perhaps think of watching your practice video not as seeing yourself but as someone trying to help the friend on screen. Think about things like:
- How you position yourself on screen
- Optimal distance from the camera
- Making ‘eye contact’ with the lens, so the viewer feels you are responding to them directly
- Speaking clearly
- Where your hands are positioned
If you accept that you are on camera and think about how to make that work for you, you will be amazed at how much difference it makes.
5. Video feels casual… but interviews rarely are
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a video response interview process is less formal than a face-to-face. It’s much safer not to think of them that way. Prepare, dress appropriately, be confident and most of all, behave as if you are at an interview. As an extra thought on being casual, the same applies to your surroundings. A plain or neutral background is best, oh and lock the cat out of the room.
You don’t need to be a professional presenter to really smash those interview videos, but there is still a lot you can do to be ready for when you need to make them. In the end, much of the actual content of your interview is going to be the same as a face-to-face one. The camera and recording are where it is different, so if you recognise and make the most of that, then you will be just fine.
If we can help you with any aspect of video interviewing, please contact us.