Candidates: Don’t Let Video Kill the Interview Star

August 6th, 2018 by ifi-admin

Photo of a job candidate having a successful video interview.

Video interviews continue to gain popularity among hiring managers in order to meet the rising demand for qualified candidates in a cost-efficient, streamlined manner. With more companies hiring for multiple locations across America (and globally), many HR departments are integrating video interview technology into their process, either as a supplement or an alternative to in-person interviews. What does that mean for a candidate like you?

Maybe you’re a seasoned professional who presents well in person and exudes an aura of competency. The last time you interviewed, you landed the job. Alternately, maybe you’re a bit shy and nervous in person, and even more so on camera. In either case, it’s worth preparing for a video interview like you’re auditioning for a part in a blockbuster show because, well, technically, you are.

Look the Part

Kay Durkin, founder of Phoenix Partners, coaches her candidates to remember that while video interviews don’t typically give viewers access to the full picture, it’s preferable not to interview in boxer shorts or cutoff jeans.

“Business casual is the minimum. In short, dress as you would for an interview,” she said. Dressing the part will subtly influence your speech and mannerisms as well.

Check Your Tech

Nothing is worse than technical difficulties during an interview. It will fluster you and distract or detract from the impression you give. Thus, it is vitally important to take care in checking your sound set-up and camera and also testing whatever software the interviewer will be using. Next, think like a sound person, a light person, a camera person and an IT specialist while you’re doing practice run-throughs. For lighting, try to create a lighting “triangle” surrounding you. Record a test run and check for even, clear lighting. Ensure that the location you’re interviewing from has a strong and reliable internet connection. Always perform a final check of your sound, camera and software right before the interview as well if you’d like to avoid Murphy’s Law.

Set the Stage

Do you remember the viral video where a professor’s toddler stole the show during a webcast? It was cute, but is not the best way to your interviewer’s heart. Ensure that you have clear, clean, well-lit space behind you to optimally frame the interview, and ensure that NO ONE, however cute, is able to interrupt. That includes barking dogs and show-stopping toddlers. Other distractions, such as unusual artworks, book clutter, or colorful objects should be cleared from the view too. Enact the rule of Less Is More here. You want the interviewer to be focused on you, not your exotic Venus Fly Trap plant or Hajime Sorayama print.

Take the Right Angle

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, interviewing by video can feel soulless. It’s hard to know where to look to “connect” with the person interviewing you. For this reason, camera angle and framing take on extra importance. Ensure that your set-up allows the camera to record at eye-level, not above or below. You may need to adjust your seat height to accomplish this. Psychologically, looking “up” or “down” at the camera can send unintended subliminal messages, or at the very least does not compliment your image. In addition, adjust the framing to capture from your waist up. Otherwise the interviewer will have a screen full of your face.

Watch Your Body Language

Body language is important during in-person interviews, so it should come as no surprise that it is equally, if not more important in a video interview. In addition to maintaining an “open,” friendly posture and expression, you want to avoid gesticulating wildly with your hands on and off screen. Practice makes perfect.

Give Yourself Cues

Keep a copy of your resume nearby for a surreptitious glance if needed, and if there are important phrases or questions you want to remember, leave yourself a cue card off-screen, available for a quick glance. You can turn a video interview into a walk down the red carpet if you give the task adequate preparation and attention.

Are you looking for a Recruiter who will coach you through your next video interview? Contact Phoenix Partners.

Phoenix Partners, Inc. • 638 Overhill Road • Suite 200 • Ardmore, PA 19003 • Phone: (610) 649-1909
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