Video Interview Tips: How to Get the JobVideo Interview Tips: Talking to the screen

Imagine an interview where you record your responses into a camera with no one watching.  You’re given a question to respond to and a countdown to start talking.  You give your best response to your webcam and then hit stop.  You might see your face on the screen as you are recording or the question you’re expected to answer.  If you’re lucky, the software will give you the chance to re-record, but that’s not always the case.   Then you’re on to the next question.  You might never hear back from the company, or you could be invited in for a face to face interview.  If you haven’t noticed the video interview trend, get ready, they’re becoming much more common as a tool to screen applicants. We’ve got our best video interview tips to help you get ready.

Why Video Interviews

Companies like SparkHire and HireVue provide technology that allows employers to use video interviews as a way to both screen and interview candidates.  These technologies claim that they make it easier for employers to hire higher performers and streamline the hiring process.  More and more companies are starting to use these tools in their hiring process; GE, Honda, Ikea and even USPS are listed as clients.  Conducting a video interview is much easier than a phone screen since applicants can do it on their own time and the recruiter can just review the tape later.

Video Interview Challenges

Lighting, sound, internet connectivity and even the lack of feedback are all things you have to be aware of in a video interview.  There’s no space for you to ask questions or ensure that you answered the question they’re asking.  Without an encouraging nod or even eye contact from another human being, it can be pretty hard to make sure you’ve hit the mark with these types of interviews.

As an HR person, I wonder about accessibility and fairness of a video interview.  I’m curious if it creates additional opportunities for bias to enter into the hiring process.  However, I can see the benefits from the employer’s side.  It allows them to quickly move through a large number of applicants without having to worry about scheduling around time zones and meetings.  It lets them narrow down the candidate pool much quicker and hopefully, helps the hiring process move along faster.

Video Interview Tips: Getting Ready

Congratulations, you’ve been invited to record your answers for a “virtual interview.”   The company sends you an interview invite with a link to the site and some instructions on how to get started.  Spend some time preparing before you sit down to record and treat this just like you would a regular job interview.  Research the organization and the position so you’re ready to talk about why you want to work there and what skills you’ll bring to the job.  In the initial screening, the questions are most likely going to be traditional or behavioral interview questions.  If you are lucky, they’ll give you the questions are ahead of time so you can think through and prepare your answers



Find a Quiet Space & Prepare

The benefit of video interviews and screenings is that they happen on your own time and in a place you’re comfortable. There are a lot of stuff to consider when getting set up for your video interview. Choose a time when you’re not likely to be interrupted and mute your cell phone.  Set aside about an hour to record and turn in your responses.  Some of the companies require a software download to use their tools, so make sure you’re not waiting until the last minute to turn in your responses in case you run into any technical difficulties.

Set the Scene

Do a test run with the lighting and volume on your webcam.  You want to make sure they can see and hear you clearly.  Your light source should be in front of your camera, not behind you for a clear image.  Be sure to check that your background is professional and not distracting.  A blank wall works fine, but if you can use an office setting it will send a more professional message.  Also, remember to plug in your charger since recording video can drain your batteries quickly.


Video Interview Tips: Dress the partDress for Success

It can be easy to get a little lax when it comes to video interviews since you may not be leaving your house.  It’s still critical to dress as if you were going to the office for an interview.  Dressing professionally tells the hiring manager your serious about the job.  It will also help you feel more confident and polished.  Wear solid colors since patterns can come across as fuzzy and distracting.  It’s a good idea to keep the jewelry to a minimum to avoid reflections into the camera.


Answer the Questions

Chances are you’ll need to record answers to between 3 and five questions for an interview screening.  As you are answering, do your best to look at the camera and speak clearly.  If you make a mistake, do your best to move on and don’t dwell on it.  It might help to imagine that the hiring manager is in the room with you.  One nice thing about the recordings is that you usually have the chance to collect your thoughts before starting on the next question.  Once you’ve finished answering, take a moment to collect your thoughts.  Have a drink of water and review your notes before getting started in your next response.

Having the ability to review and re-record your answers might be harder than just having one chance.  For the perfectionists out there, this can be a major pitfall.  Don’t spend hours trying to perfect an answer. Chances are it will be visible to the recruiter and come across as rehearsed or insincere.  Unless you’ve made a major mistake, it’s best to move on without recording multiple times.


Video Interview Tips: The waiting gameWaiting Game

Once you hit submit on the interview, the waiting begins.  Usually, you’ll get some notice that it has been received by the company, either via email or right after turning it in.  One downside is that it’s hard to follow up with anyone to see where you stand or even get an idea of what the next steps are in the process.   Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if or when you’ll hear something from the company after submitting your answers.  The best advice I can give is to keep applying to other positions while you wait to hear back from the video screen.

If you’re ready to build your interview skills in a virtual environment, we offer web-based interview coaching services that will help you prepare, either in person or over the web.  To learn more about our interview and resume coaching services get in touch via email or at (206) 289-0358.

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