It’s quite common now for employers to use a recorded video interview to conduct screening interviews with prospective job candidates, followed by one-to-one video interviews with short-listed ones.
Candidates benefit from recorded video interviews by taking them at their own convenience without having to travel or take time off from other commitments.
Understanding the type of interview and preparing thoroughly wil help avoid technical glitches and the common mistakes which can derail your chances of success.
Video interview vs. video screening
Bigger organisations, especially when screening large number of candidates, will use a recorded video i.e. a set of standard questions recorded by the interviewer. Unlike a one-to-one video interview there is no real-time feedback and you are normally given a fixed amount of time to answer each question with an on-screen timer indicating how long you have left.
If the technology allows, some employers will give you the option to re-record an answer but don’t assume this is always the case. Employers want to ensure all candidates get the same experience within a standard process. Once the interview has finished the employer reviews, and usually scores, each candidate’s video.
Candidate’s that successfully pass this screening phase have often have their videos shared with colleagues involved in the recruitment process. This helps the hiring managers get to see and know more about candidates before the next stage and helps prepare specific interview questions.
In the case of one-to-one interviews there is a live connection with the interviewer, more interaction, conversation and opportunities to ask questions and delve deeper. Again, there are video platforms for this but it’s quite common for managers to use Skype, Google Hangout or Facetime. You should check with the interviewer if they are recording these interviews.
Set-up for a video interview
Regardless of the interview type and the software being used you are still going to need the following to make sure your technology not only works but is optimised.
- Video and audio – the image quality of modern devices such as smart phones and tablets are more than adequate, however without a headset the standard mic audio probably wont be good enough, and without a tripod or stand they are too shaky. So either go for a desktop or laptop with a video camera and check the audio quality for the environment where you’ll be taking the interview; if needed invest in a USB headset for the best quality and convenience.
- Location – ideally you’ll want to set-up an environment with a plain background where you can control the lighting and shut out distractions, noises and interruptions. Position yourself so the interviewer can see you from the waist up, not just your face, to allow greater flexibility when it comes to communicating non-verbally, e.g. hand gestures.
- Lighting – avoid direct ‘hard’ light as it will create unflattering shadows and glare. Instead move yourself or the light source to create a diffused or soft light.
- Internet connection – probably seems obvious, but is your connection fast enough. The only way to know is to test, test, test.
Schedule a mock interview
These types of interviews can be doubly stressful – you have to be accomplished at both interviewing and speaking to a camera. There is definitely a learning curve, and the more practice you get, the more natural you’ll feel in the interview.
Find a friend with whom can test all of the above and go through a few ‘standard’ interview questions so you get use to responding in a clear, confident manner.
- Dress professionally, plain is better than loud colours, patterns and flashy jewellery that can be distracting on camera.
- Make sure you wont be interrupted and turn off all other devices that might beep or ring during the interview.
- Look directly into the camera when speaking so that you can maintain eye contact and smile when appropriate. A pause, nod and a smile before answering a question can really build credibility and confidence in these situations.
- Don’t use scripted answers but do have some well rehearsed responses with a few off-camera notes with the key points you want to make.
In the case of one-to-one interviews:
- Talk conversationally and establish a rapport with your interviewer.
- Have your own questions prepared too as often the interviewer will ask “do you have any questions for me?” The questions you ask can be more impactful than your answers to the interviewer’s questions!
- Toward the end of the interview ask about next steps in the process, including receiving feedback.