Video Interview Tips For Graduates: Mistakes to Avoid

The video interview, the early stage cost-effective alternate to face-to-face interviewing. With video becoming more and more prevalent in the recruitment and selection process, especially early on in multiple hurdle systems, it’s important to know what the interviewer might be looking for, as it’s not just the merits of your CV.

Have you already been invited to the video interview? Great. Here are tips on how to get invited to the next stage and ace your interview.

1) Camera level eye-contact

Please take the time to adjust your camera height. The easiest is to conduct a video interview on a desktop computer or laptop with elevated platform (stack of books). If you are on mobile, hold or set the camera lens level with your eyes. It feels unnatural, but try to look into and through the camera lens when listening and answering questions.

I understand if the camera lens on most devices resembles the eye of Sauron, but staring constantly at the screen (wherever you have the feed open) looks clumsy and doesn’t feel like you are making the effort with making the all important “eye contact”.

Search and study popular vloggers on YouTube that engage with their viewers such as CaseyNeistat, pewdiepie and Jenna Marbles. They make it look easy and make you feel engaged directly with their message. Imagine this situation during the interview with the recruiters being the YouTube viewing community and you the star vlogger.

2) Don’t read pre-script

I know, it’s tempting. I mean you can phrase the perfect elegant response to common questions and already know exactly how to tie in your experiences and key achievements and the recruiter won’t even notice!

Spoiler alert, we do, unless of course you have a teleprompter right above your camera.

Many candidates still feel uncomfortable on camera and your awkward eye flickering across the screen and pausing while remaining fixed on a certain spot for a few seconds or more are obvious tell tale signs.

I also like to occasionally ask curve balls follow up questions. On many occasions where applicants are script reading, they will acknowledge the new question, but continue to ignore answering the question because they feel their pre-response will be better, (it usually does), but it’s not the answer I was waiting for.

Great applicants listen, adapt and follow instructions.

3) Understand dress code

Please take at least a few minutes to browse through the company careers website before the video interview. Great candidates will take notes on keywords listed on the page and will make use of available information on the company culture and values.

If a company lists casual dress and all the corporate pictures involve t-shirts, then it’s a bit awkward when you wear a three piece suit and tie for the video interview.

If applying to a company where casual Friday is a listed benefit and the corporate pictures are all shirt and blazers, then you may over-dress for the interview. Know your audience and show the interviewer you took the time to understand their corporate culture by dressing appropriately, (even if it is just from the waist up).

4) Location of the interview

When scheduling the video interview, be sure to recommend a time that works for you. This is important so that the location setting and environment does not interrupt or disturb the interview. A quiet and reserved place such as a bedroom inside an empty household is ideal.

Be sure to adjust the frame and proximity so that your face is well lit and there is nothing “out of the ordinary” that can be seen on video regarding the room that you wouldn’t want to be shared.

Recruiters expect the interview to start on time, but please don’t call from the bathroom. We can understand a few minute delay.

5) Body language

In my experience, top graduates have already spent hours doing personality assessments and studying up on the importance of body language during the interview. Tips such as mimicking the body language of the interviewer and nodding when listening. Yet, candidates still make these simple body language mistakes.

Simply avoid touching yourself anywhere on your body during the video interview and remember to remain calm. If you feel stressed, take a breath, it’s not an interrogation.

A video interview can be a stressful experience, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s a slightly awkward experience at first, but you gain confidence at it the more you practice and do it.

Image: Shutterstock

By Thomas Koponen

Thomas is the HR and Business Development Manager at Saleduck in Amsterdam. He is also on the board of M2Talent and Osaka Oy.