Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Are you ready for your video interview?
We can all remember going for our first job interviews – all smartly dressed, waiting nervously in the company’s reception area waiting for our names to be called, and then shown in to the interview room.
As technology has moved on, so have the tools used in the interview process. For many years companies and recruitment agencies have incorporated telephone interviews into the process, but Skype, Google Hangouts and video interviews are now becoming more commonplace as well- with some companies using video apps in smart-phones as part of their selection process as well as inviting candidates for interviews at premises with video conferencing facilities.
Video interviews and the jobseeker
So what implications do video interviews have for the jobseeker?
Firstly you need to ensure that you are video ready. Do you have a skype address registered ( and does it sound professional?) Do you have a smartphone where you can engage in video calls ? If using your PC or laptop do you need to upgrade your camera – it might be worth investing £50 or so to present the interviewer with a clear image of you rather than a grainy screen!
Be comfortable in front of the camera
How comfortable are you in front of the camera. Do you tend to look like a deer caught in the headlights? If so, practice. Get used to looking into the camera as though you are speaking to the other person face to face. Video yourself talking to camera and watch it back with somebody who will offer a constructive, honest opinion. It can be tempting if on skype to talk to the ‘box’ in the corner showing the image of the other party on the call – remember- this is not the camera! Look into the camera when speaking- ensure you have the camera placed at eye level. If you are looking down at the camera you give the impression of looking down at the interviewer.
Do you come across as somebody who is professional and sincere, or is your failure to make eye contact making you come across as ‘shifty’? Practice until you get it right and talking to camera seems like second nature. If you have the skills for the job the last thing you want is the fact that you may be camera shy project anything less than a confident impression.
Preparing for video interviews
Essentially a video interview requires the same preparation and carries the same weight as a face to face interview. You need to present yourself in the same professional manner as you would if you were attending an interview in the hiring manager’s office. Read my tips on preparing for job interviews beforehand. Don’t waste the opportunity by not doing your research and preparation.
Don’t be tempted to think like a newsreader and assume that as long you are well presented on your top half you can wear jeans or pyjama bottoms on the bottom half – dress the part! Dressing as though you are attending a face to face interview will also help get you into ‘interview mindset’ Also don’t wear anything that’s too busy. Check beforehand to see what you look like on screen- no garish prints or loud ties. Fine stripes on shirts or tops can also create a strobing effect on screen and be distracting!
Check the technology!
- Is your microphone working?
- Is your broadband connection up and running?
- Is the lighting in the room good enough? Place a lamp facing you so that your face is well lit or sit facing a window for natural light.
- Headphones. When on video calls it is a good idea to use discreet headphones – often there can be feedback or a ‘whistling’ noise as your mic picks up the sound from the other party, using small earphones ( the ones that you use with a mobile phone are fine and not intrusive) will eliminate this problem and ensure you come across crystal clear!
- Camera – it might sound obvious but make sure you have not muted the camera and can accept the call in video mode.
Have the right information to hand
Have a printed copy of your CV, the job spec and any written notes to hand. If there are key points or questions you know you will want to raise, or numbers you anticipate being asked, print them clearly in large text and have them placed ahead of you at eye level just to the side or above your screen so you can refer to them easily. Create your own personal autocue!
Make the sure there are no distractions and that the desk and space around you are clean and tidy. Think about what is placed on the wall behind you – does anything need to be moved?
Have a glass of water to hand .
Switch off any phones or equipment that are not in use that may ring, ping or generally distract. Also close down any applications on your laptop/pc that introduce noise if they are set up with audio alerts.
Don’t be put off by any delays in the transmission between the image and the sound – guage early on and relax .
Otherwise prepare for your video interview in exactly the same way as you would prepare for a telephone interview or face to face interview.
Remember you need to come across as somebody who is comfortable working with technology in the workplace, and that you are happy to embrace new business tools – including video.
The recruitment landscape is being transformed in respect to the technology we use in our working lives and as part of the selection process. We will all need to embrace this if we are to remain employable beyond 50 and into our 60s.
Good luck with your job search.
Until next time