Video interviewing isn’t new. Far from it, in fact. Hiring managers and recruitment agents alike have been using tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom and any one of the myriad of tools like them for years now.
Some of you will already have experienced video interview software, while others may only be familiar with the more traditional face to face set up. In terms of feedback from the candidate side, it’s fair to say it’s a mixed bag. Some of you love it, while others find it a bit uncomfortable. What is for certain though, is that video interviewing is here to stay. Not only that, it’s set to become more and more common place as time goes on. So, we thought we’d put together a quick guide to help ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when the time comes.
The Rise of Video Interviewing
First off, it’s worth understanding why video interviewing has become so popular. The reason is more straightforward than you might think – it’s all about time efficiency. Which benefits the recruiter, who will be working on several placements at any one time, the client who’s looking to fill the position as quickly as possible and often can’t find time in the diary for all the relevant parties to be free, and you, the candidate, who will no longer have to take as much time off for face to face meetings and whose suitability can be assessed much more quickly and with less investment.
Types of Video Interviewing
The most common type of video interview is a live, two-way scenario. This is where you’ll receive a link from the recruiter or the hiring manager and – assuming they’re using one of the more modern platforms – you’ll simply click on that to enter the online ‘interview room’ where you’ll come face to face with the interviewer(s) via a split screen, without the hassle of having to sign-up, register or login. The process of a live interview thereafter is exactly the same as it would be in person, only you are face to face, in the cloud instead.
Another less common but increasingly popular method of video interview is known as a solo or pre-recorded interview. In this case, again you’ll receive a link which you simply click to access the interview. The difference this time is that instead of coming face to face with the interviewer(s), you’ll click to play a video and questions will appear on screen for you to answer. In this case, it’s only you that’s online at the time the interview is taking place. Typically, once you get to the end, you can start over if you feel you didn’t give your best answers and your original video will be recorded over. In these cases, it’s likely that the interviewer won’t have access to watch your failed attempts. Although ideally you want to nail it on your first attempt, or second at the most, as this will be a more natural version of yourself. Avoid the temptation of writing all your answers out and reading them off as this will come across at the other end.
In both of these cases, the video interview is used to make the screening process much faster for everyone involved. The benefit to you, as the candidate, is clear. The only downside is if you feel extra nerves as a result of the medium. But hopefully this next section will help you overcome that.
Preparing for a Video Interview
Hopefully this goes without saying but in general terms you should prepare for a video interview in exactly the same way you would for a face to face interview – prepare answers for any and all eventualities, do background research on the company, compile some questions to ask the interviewer; all the usual stuff, which we won’t go into here. Although, please do familiarise yourself with the STAR technique if it’s new to you.
On top, there are few additional considerations to factor in when it comes to video interviews:
- Set up – test that your microphone and camera are working – be mindful of your surroundings in terms of what’s in the frame. Test this before you begin.
- Connection – check your internet connection, close down unnecessary programs and web pages and make sure you aren’t downloading, installing or about to run updates.
- Do not disturb – unlike in a face to face interview, you’ll likely be at home or even on your lunch break at work. It seems an obviously one but make sure people around you know that you are not to be disturbed.
- Appearance – Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you don’t need to look the part. You should dress exactly as you would for an in-person interview.
- Stay focused – Because you are not face to face, it can be easier to become distracted and do things you wouldn’t do in a face to face situation. Be mindful of this. And definitely do not try to Google during the interview, not matter how subtle you think you are being. It’s okay to look at notes, as you might do this when face to face too. But don’t try to be sneaky with what you’re doing as it will more than likely be noticeable.
- Personality – a tendency on video versus face to face is that candidates are less focused on being engaging and less aware of ensuring their personality come across. Avoid falling into this trap and bring as much to the video as you would if you were sitting across from the interviewer.
That’s a Wrap
Video interviews should be treated in the same way as any other interview, with a few additional considerations taken into account. You may find yourself to be a natural or it might be out of your comfort zone at first. But even if that is the case, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. The best advice we can give is to practice because video interview technology is here to stay. You can do this with friends or family and can even record yourself using your phone to give yourself some critique. As with anything else, the usual combination of research and practice will go a long way.