Video interviews are an increasingly common part of the recruitment process, but they’re also fraught with danger.
Interviews of all varieties can go badly wrong. A favourite story involves a candidate arriving a day early and then, somehow, managing to drive through the foyer after the office had closed. At least that can’t happen on a video interview, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a perilous part of the modern recruitment process.
For example, I recently video interviewed a candidate who decided to eat a peppermint halfway through. They threw the sweet into their mouth, inhaled it and started choking. I could do nothing but watch, and the candidate was visibly distressed. Fortunately they regurgitated it before it was too late; unfortunately they couldn’t talk so we had to stop. It was a disaster and begs the question: why eat during an interview?
Video interview preparation is more important than ever
Too many candidates view them – whether they’re two-way and interactive, one-way or pre-recorded – as casual affairs. They often have them in places where they can be disturbed. I’ve also heard stories of candidates rocking up in their pyjamas or with a child on their lap.
But if you wouldn’t do something during a face-to-face interview you shouldn’t in a video interview. And as more and more companies embrace video interviewing and video resumes – to reduce recruitment costs, speed up the process, find the best candidates in a global marketplace and attract millennial candidates – now is a good time to start taking them seriously.
Preparation is the key. In many respects it’s more important to be in the right frame of mind for a video interview because it’s harder to convey your message with non-verbal cues. You need to be ready to articulately make your case and if staring into a camera makes you anxious or your technology doesn’t work properly, you aren’t going to perform at your best.
Our top tips to ace your next video interview
Taking these steps can help your video interview go smoothly:
- Familiarise yourself with the technology you’re using. Test it out and give yourself plenty of time beforehand to deal with any technical difficulties you come across as you set up.
- Choose a quiet uncluttered area where you won’t be disturbed. If your internet connection is patchy, consider doing the interview somewhere else. The confusion created by a connection lag and the need to repeat questions over and over again, make for a frustrating experience on all sides.
- Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview by getting to know the company, its values, the role and your interviewer.
- Act as you would in a face-to-face interview. Be aware of your body language and look down the camera, so that you are making eye contact with the interviewer, rather than staring at your face on the screen.
If you think the interview went badly, contacting the interviewer afterwards to explain your performance isn’t usually a good idea. It will only highlight any issues and probably make matters worse. If you really feel you didn’t have the opportunity to fully sell yourself, consider sending a ‘thank you for your time’ email. You can add a casual statement explaining what went wrong or expanding on your experience.
The most important thing to do is work out why the video interview didn’t go to plan. Turn the experience into a positive and use it to prepare for next time, because one thing’s for sure: they’re here to stay.
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