With as many as four out of every ten employers using video interviews at some stage of the recruitment process, the necessity for graduates and other jobseekers to have the ability to project themselves confidently is increasingly important. Video interviews are a core part of the process of getting hired online, a trend which is only going to increase given the current global situation.
Navigating Video Interviews: What to Expect
There are two primary types of video interviews. Both present their challenges but one allows some level of personal interaction while the other is a purely automated process. Let’s have a look at what they involve.
One-to-one interviews (Skype or Zoom)
These days, Zoom or Skype are some of our most commonly accessed platforms, so we should all be well used to operating them and knowing what to expect right? Well, an interview on either platform, increasingly likely to be Zoom, is still very different. On a practical level, one to one video interviews can be great. You don’t have to worry about a commute or travel and you can often be more comfortable in your own environment. Having a sense of familiarity and, to varying levels, control over your surroundings can be a real boost when you’re looking to make the most of your interview opportunity. However, it’s not all plain sailing.
You need to be sure that you have a very good internet connection and make sure you use headphones and a microphone as opposed to your computer’s sound system. Pixelation and poor sound quality will start your interview off on the worst possible footing. ‘Can you hear me now?’ is not the sort of thing that the employer wants to be hearing from you in the early stages of an interview. Make sure you wear something simple in terms of colours, no stripes or dense patterns, and choose a simple background. This can’t always be as easy as it sounds, but any plain surface with a neutral colour will do, try to obviously make sure there is no clutter, posters or distractions in the background.
Employers will often use video interviews both to get to know you and also to test you on various aspects relating to your knowledge of the role. Using screen sharing technology they could get you to modify or compile a spreadsheet, do a presentation or perhaps finish a line of code. These elements can of course be stressful but try and remain calm and remember that your CV has already put you in the employer’s mind, so draw upon the skills you have and you will be in the right road to making a strong impression. When ending the interview, let the interviewer/interviewers draw it to a close and leave the meeting or end the call.
Automated Video Interviews
These are an increasingly important part of the online hiring process, and are often the first step that a student, graduate or jobseeker will take on this road, prior to online assessments. Automated video interviews basically consist of a virtual environment where you supply answers and give information to an automated platform. Sounds impersonal right? Yes it is, but like anything else, once you read the briefing notes that should come with the invitation to do the interview, and do your research,then there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to perform during automated interviews. Despite the setting, you will still be asked many of the standard interview questions regarding motivation, knowledge of the company and the sector and also your skills and experiences.
In terms of preparation, practise talking into a blank screen while focusing on your camera or even test out your responses by recording them and playing them back to yourself. Are you happy with them? Maybe also get the opinion of a partner, friend or family member. Make sure you use the practise facility at the start of almost all video interviews, where you can get your tone of voice and speech right before the questions begin in earnest. Like in a personal interview environment, body language can affect performance, so prepare for this like you’re facing your interviewer and you’ll be primed to give it your best shot.
Following on from the video interview process, candidates will frequently be asked to complete an online assessment. This would normally indicate that you have successfully navigated the video element of the interview, so well done! Although online assessments are increasingly automated it is expected, and normal, that you ask for some feedback on your performance during this part of the process. Like any part of the selection process, the interviewer is trying to gauge you as a person as well as your skills and experience, so where possible try and let your personality shine through.
Online hiring can be daunting, both for candidates and recruiters, so try to be yourself. In these challenging times, the personal touch is at a premium so try and let it shine through wherever possible.