Interview Tips

Unless you are a massive extrovert and love being the centre of attention most people don’t particularly likes being filmed. The thought of having every word that comes out of your mouth and every grimace being caught on camera so that it can be watch over and over again, can make even the most confident of communicators come out in a cold sweat. But due to the increasing ability of people to film themselves, the reduction in costs of video platform software and cloud storage, and the time savings and flexibility it provides recruiters, the video interview is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

In our day-to-day lives we are interacting with cameras and video more and more. People regularly use smartphones to film content to post online and we increasingly use tools such as Skype and Facetime to speak to friends & family and conduct meetings. But until being filmed becomes second nature, how do you ensure that your video interviews are as polishing as possible? Here are 5 tips on how to record a successful video interview even though you may not feel entirely comfortable with the process.

1) Check the tech

It doesn’t exactly fill a recruiter with confidence regarding the competence of a candidate if they play a video recording, only to see the interviewee looking under their laptop, tapping on the microphone or scrambling around under the desk. Therefore, before you open up the video interview make sure everything is plugged in and all of the tech works. Information will usually be provided by the recruiter or the software provider regarding the requirements in terms of browsers, broadband speed and how to manage your privacy settings to ensure both your webcam and microphone are active. Read the information carefully and make sure your technology is sufficient before starting the interview.  If something goes wrong beyond your control technical support should be available from the recruiter or the software provider.

2) Dress to impress

A video interview allows the interviewee to conduct the process in their own time and where ever they feel comfortable. You may choose to engage with the process in your own living room, but just because this is your domain and you usually lounge around the house in a t-shirt and track suit bottoms doesn’t mean you should. It is still an interview, so all the rules regarding how to dress for an interview still apply…at least from the waist up!

3) The perfect surroundings

When preparing your surrounds for a video interview you should adopt the same approach as if you were trying to sell your house. To maximise your chances of success it is much better to keep it simple and neutral. Having no mess or clutter on view shouldn’t need to be stated, but also avoid weird paintings, bright wall paper and anything else that might distract the viewer.  You may think having your ‘Salesperson on the Year’ certificate hanging in the background may enhance your chances but its authenticity can’t be verified and it may actually distract the recruiter’s attention away from the answers you’re providing.

Also, as well as visual distractions, audio ones should be kept to a minimum.  Make sure all TVs and radios are off, the kids and pets are locked away in a different room and conduct the interview away from any noisy appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

4) Smile, you’re on camera

It is strange how some peoples’ behaviour changes when a camera is pointed at them. Some peoples’ initial reaction is to immediately run out of shot altogether. Unfortunately this isn’t an option during a video interview. However for those who do engage the following behaviours should also be avoided.

  • Don’t look around the camera lenses, look directly at it.
  • Don’t watch the image of yourself, look at the camera.
  • Don’t stare incessantly. Break your gaze on occasion.
  • Smile, but don’t over so it.

To avoid all of these scenarios the best practise is to imagine the camera is a person and behave exactly as you should in a face-to-face interview. Other circumstances that should be avoided are inadequate lighting so that you look like a silhouetted Bond villain, and having the camera too low giving the recruiter a view staring directly up into your nostrils.

5) Great Expectations

It will be up to the recruiter whether they allow you to retake the questions or not, but usually they will want it to be spontaneous so they get a good feel for your personality, experience and expertise just like in a real interview scenario. If this is the case they won’t be expecting a completely polished performance. So, don’t let the nerves get the better of you and try not to get increasingly stressed because the interview is being recorded. The recruiter will expect the odd pause, stumble and fidget just like in a face-to-face interview. Don’t be too self-conscious, but just as if it was a face-to-to face meeting try and keep them to a minimum. If you do make a mistake, don’t let it throw you. Just apologise, compose yourself and correct yourself just like you would in a real life scenario.

You would think most of the above would be common sense, but it is amazing how many people have made the above errors in the short term that we have introduced video interviewing as part of our service. By taking a little time to prepare before recording a video interview you will greatly increase your chances of landing the job which will take you to the next level in your career.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Newman Stewart

Newman Stewart is an Executive Search and Management Selection company who helps excellent businesses employ excellent people. We are experts in our field and proud of the results we achieve for our clients. With a vast proven track record of success, nationally and internationally, we are the retained, recruitment partner of choice to many national, multi-national and small businesses.

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