3-2-1 Action! – Mastering the video interview









Foto: © Tony Hegewald/pixelio.de



More and more companies are using video interviewing as a low-cost tool to screen job applicants. There are valid questions about whether this tool preselects for traits like extroversion and self-presentation, but market research indicates that its use is trending upwards.


There are two types of video interview: synchronous, where the interview takes place live via communications software like Skype or FaceTime; and asynchronous, where applicants record a video of themselves answering a series of questions. Most applicants find asynchronous video interviewing to be the greater challenge, so this blog entry will give you tips on mastering this format.


Tip: Many online resources provide detailed information about video interviewing and competency-based interviewing. Spend some time browsing these.



Setting the scene


·       Location, location, location – Select a quiet place with a good, fast internet connection and room for note-taking and reference materials.


·       Technology – Most video interview services will take you through a series of steps to test the speed of your connection and the quality of your audio and video. Do this as soon as possible, so that you have time to fix any technical problems that may arise.


·       Practice – Record a few practice videos and watch the result. These practice videos will not go to the recruiter.


·       Adjust – Refine the environment as needed.





·       Study the job description – Try to anticipate what a recruiter might ask you. The first question will usually be to describe your qualifications for the position and the last question will ask if there is anything you would like to add.


·       Prepare answers to sample questions – To come across as professional and organized, break down your answers into three parts, summarize the three parts, then elaborate on each one. You will usually have 3-5 minutes for each question, so plan accordingly!


·       Record more practice videos – The video interview services often provide you with sample questions, so you can practice answering with a timer running on-screen. Here’s a tip: Ignore the question on the screen and practice answering the questions you came up with instead.


·       Review the result – Watch your practice videos. Assess yourself, don’t criticize.





You will be given a deadline for completing your video. Once you press ‘Record’, the video usually must be recorded without interruption. Some last minute considerations:


·       Nerves – Before you start, record a few more practice videos to make sure everything is working as it should. Then take a bath, walk around the block, meditate or do whatever relaxes you.


·       Water – Keep a glass of water nearby. Place it where it won’t accidentally spill onto your computer.


·       Voice – To steady your voice, breathe or sing during the preparation time prior to recording.


·       Internet – Remember, you can use the internet during your preparation time to quickly look up a word or an aspect of a question you don’t know.


·       Notes – Jot down the three key areas you want to cover for each question.


Tip: Have the technical support information for the video interview service nearby, just in case there’s a technical glitsch.





Here are few tips that can make a big difference in video interviews:


·       Lighting: Select a location where the lighting is flattering. To create optimal lighting, tape a sheet of white paper to a lampshade and place the lamp near your computer.


·       Background: A neutral, uncluttered background is best. You don’t want people to see your dirty dishes at home or read confidential information off of a whiteboard at work.


·       Style: Pick a flattering professional outfit and make sure your grooming is in order.


·       Projection: Video interviews can come across as flat if you are answering questions in your normal speaking voice, so add a dose of extra volume, energy and animation when you speak.





When recruiters were asked what mistakes they see when reviewing video interviews, here’s what they shared:


·       Not looking into the camera – Solution: Glance down at the screen to keep an eye on the timer, but keep your focus on the camera. Tip: Tape a big arrow pointing to the camera lens to your computer!


·       Forgetting that the camera is running – Recruiters shared that applicants made faces or even stuck out their tongue or blew raspberries! Solution: Keep your game face on until the camera is off!


·       Not being professional – Recruiters shared that they have received videos recorded in bars! Solution: Treat the video interview with the same professionalism as a live interview.


Remember: The video interview is an audition to make it to the next step of the interviewing process, not become a movie star, so keep your expectations realistic.



Coaching can help!


Here’s what a recent coaching client had to say:


“I asked Anné-Marie to coach me for my upcoming video interview. I thought I was quite well prepared, but I was amazed at what she noticed. Subtle facial expressions that revealed my nervousness and annoyance at the video interview. Lack of smiling. Not conveying my personality or sense of humour. Anné-Marie didn’t let me get away with any of my avoidance techniques or other nonsense. Together we practiced answering questions – first without a camera, then we recorded some practice videos that we reviewed together. It was gruelling.


Anné-Marie even analysed my time planning prior to recording the video and I realized I would need to take the afternoon off if I wanted to record the video in daylight.


My video interview was due the next day and I finally recorded it around 5 p.m. It went really well. While I’m not a big fan of the format, I found it almost enjoyable to put my best foot forward!”


—Eva C.



Have a video interview coming up? Write me – I’ll be glad to coach you!







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