Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 6, no. 1
Three Things Job Seekers Need
to Know Before A Video Interview
On 23 April, 2015, YouTube marked it’s tenth anniversary.
The first video to be uploaded was an 18-second clip by co-founder Jawed Karim. Footage of his visit to San Diego zoo.
Today video is everywhere. YouTube alone has more than a billion users, uploading 300 hours of video per minute. There’s no doubt that video is popular. But what has video to do with your career?
If you’re a job seeker, you shouldn’t ignore video.
Because video is an easy way for companies to evaluate prospective employees. Now, the technology is widely available and easy to use. Lower costs to use, mean higher savings over in-person interviews.
Some providers are reporting company savings of $800-$1500 per hire by using their video interview systems. If companies can still hire the right candidates and spend less, the use of video interviews will only grow.
So what does this mean for job-seekers?
The good news is that much of what you already know about how to prepare for in-person interviews also applies to video interviews. But there are some differences that you need to be aware of.
Being interviewed on camera is not the same.
In this article, we will cover how to avoid common video interview mistakes.
Here are three things you should understand to be sure that you are not allowing the camera get in the way of your interview success.
1 What to avoid when choosing your clothing
2 How to prepare your environment
3 The most important thing to remember when you’re “on camera”
Let’s begin with what’s easy.
You know from previous interview experience that how you dress has an impact. You already know how to present a professional image that supports your interview success. So what’s different about a video interview?
This time you are dressing for the camera.
If you watch the evening news, you’ve probably already seen some dress disasters on camera. Even highly trained media presenters, with a team to support them, sometimes make mistakes.
How can you avoid making the same mistakes?
You can if you keep one principle in mind.
It’s said that the camera doesn’t lie. It may not lie, but it does exaggerate. What does this mean for how you dress?
Here are a few examples.
If your favorite interview outfit includes bold patterns and stripes, you may need to go shopping. Patterns that are attractive to the naked eye become a distraction through the lens.
What else? Your favorite large piece of jewelry that people always admire, can “blind” your interviewers on the other side of the camera if it reflects the light.
It’s not enough to rely on what worked in the past.
Looking in the mirror is not enough. You need to see yourself through the camera. Video-call a friend. Get feedback. That way you can be more relaxed on the day. You can feel confident that what you are wearing is supporting your performance, not distracting from it.
Now we’ve covered the first step –to focus on how you look. It’s easy to eliminate one source of video interview mistakes. Let’s move to the second possible source.
Prepare your environment.
During the interview, you’ll be sitting in front of your computer’s webcam. What else is there to worry about? What do you need to do to be sure your space is not a distraction?
Unless you’re planning to relocate within your own company, it’s likely that you’ll be interviewed from home. This makes it easy. No worrying about getting there on time. You feel more comfortable in a familiar environment.
But, this familiarity can trip you up.
How? Because you’re used to your environment, you may not notice things that catch the attention of your interviewers.
Take a critical look at the space you intend to use. Does it present the professional image you want to convey?
You will be on camera. But so will your background.
What’s in the space around your computer? What’s on the walls? Yes, your home is where you relax.
But during this interview it’s also your office.
Your environment is not just visual.
There are also sounds to think about.
You may be doing your interview out of hours. Who else is in your house? Family members. Children. Pets. You need to take steps to prevent interruptions.
Microphones magnify background noise, that you may not even hear. They disrupt the flow of your interview. You lose your focus and the interviewers get irritated.
Don’t let small things derail your interview.
Attending to small details to prepare yourself and your environment will make a big difference. If you do this, you will avoid two of three mistakes that are easy to make, but easy to fix. So what’s the third?
The third thing you need to do is even more important.
You already know that the importance of eye contact during in-person interviews. As you’d expect, eye contact is just as important during video interviews.
Simple? Yes. But maintaining eye contact may be more demanding than you think.Why?
Because you will naturally be drawn to look at the faces on your screen. On camera, you will need to go against this natural tendency. You need to look directly into the camera to maintain eye contact.
Look at the camera so that your interviewers see your face, not the top of your head. Put a reminder beside your screen. Eye contact will help you establish the strong professional presence that is even more important when you are meeting virtually.
If you’re don’t regularly communicate by video, practice is essential.
Even if you are experienced, practice. Record yourself and view the recording. Interview nerves may change your behavior in ways that you are not aware of.
Technology will continue to affect how companies select employees. Job seekers need to adapt. Even if you’ve only ever done in-person interviews in the past, the chances are video interviewing will be part of your future.
Unlike the hundreds of hours uploaded to YouTube each minute, your job interview won’t be broadcast publicly. But for interview success, you do need to pay attention to how you will be perceived. You need to make a good impression. Whether in-person. Or on-camera.
You will be more effective if you understand these three things:
– how to dress for the camera
– how create a distraction-free environment, and
– how to maximize your impact through good eye contact
Interviews put you in the spotlight.
Small details matter. They matter even more through the camera lens.
If you pay attention to these three things, you’ll be more prepared to perform at your best.
|Jennifer Bradley helps professionals lead their own careers, empowered with the information, tools, and resources that they need.She offers individual coaching and consulting, teaches classes, and publishes articles on career development and career transition.
If you’re new to the Career & Work Life Matters Blog, and would like to discover more about your personal career management skills, request a Free copy of the Career Scorecard.