By Neha Saboo
Take a minute to notice how much technology has incorporated itself into our daily lives today. The first thing we look at in the morning is not the window but our notifications. Face-timing or calling our families happens in the elevator or while walking to class. The new app, Houseparty – a group video chat where “the party is always on” is the easiest place for all of us to reunite with our friends and catch up on their day. Today, camera’s and video have a more and more ubiquitous impact on our lives not just personally but also professionally.
Recorded video interviews are increasingly useful to companies due to great time-savings and flexibility for recruiters – it’s another way for employers to learn about how you move and behave easier. And when every device you own seems to have a built-in camera, there is no longer the need for any high cost video software and storage. The video interview is not new, but it’s likely we’ll be seeing more of it as both businesses and job-seekers take advantage of the tremendous advances in social, mobile and cloud technologies.
While it’s true that we’re in constant contact with cameras and video today – be it having a meeting, talking to a friend or posting film content online, the thought of doing a video interview where every word, every grimace, every “um” that comes out of your mouth is to be projected onto a big screen and re-watched multiple times – is a situation where most people are uncomfortable about. So until you become an extreme extrovert and love being in front of the camera, how do you make the best possible virtual impression? Here are 5 tips on how to capture your best self in front of the camera.
- Preparation, Preparation, Preparation – Even if you get multiple times to record your answers, nothing is more off-putting to a recruiter than lack of groundwork. Look up the company, what it’s about, what they specialize in and be ready to have an in-depth conversation about why you want work in this specific firm, and what you can give to them. Know the CEO, managers and other potential team members to learn more about their experience – something you can possibly relate to in a question and show your knowledge of their business. Try to think of questions you would like to ask your interviewer and preferably specific to him/her – not generic questions you can easily find the answer too, this shows a genuine and keen interest.
- Dress for success – 65% of recruiters look at clothes as a deciding factor between two similar candidates. In this case, you don’t want to think a video interview is synonymous with By all means, leave the worn out pajama pants on if it isn’t in the frame, but the rest of you needs to look as if you’ve dressed for an in-person interview. You can search the company website for employee or team pictures to see if they dress in a trendier or conservative manner for more insight but if you’re unsure, conservative is always the safe way to go. Even via video, the interviewer can tell if you put in the effort to give that look of elegance in your attire.
- Location matters! – Walk around the area you’re going to be in and find the least distracting place to take a video call. If you’re at home, be mindful of any posters, unfolded laundry or bright decorations that will distract the interviewer from what you’re saying. The TV should be off, your puppy should be in different, locked room and the sound of a washing machine or dishwasher far from your laptop. If you’re in public space, look in corners or relatively less busy places to find a quieter area where less people pass by from and use earphones with a microphone if necessary.
- Test run – It doesn’t exactly look good if your video recording has footage of you scrambling around getting everything in order or if your laptop runs out of battery in the middle of your interview. Therefore, check all of your tech and make sure everything is working. Make sure your computer is charged and/or plugged in. Check your video camera to check the angel is natural and correct, rather than you looking down on it. Maximize your internet connection by removing all other devices currently using it so that your video doesn’t include unclear sound or pixelated images. Test all sound systems, making sure your microphone and speakers are working loud and clear. If anything does go wrong, make sure you have the email address and phone number of the recruitment team in order to inform them immediately – another preparation technique that could be appreciated in a situation like this.
- Smile – attitude is everything! – Gaby Natale once said “Believe in your potential even if you haven’t seen the results.” Confidence is key in any interview, whether its in-person, video or pre-recorded. They want you to not just express enthusiasm for the position but be confident in your own abilities to get it. Remember that the recruitment team will be focusing on you, your expressions and movements and many times, a person’s initial behavior changes when they talk to a camera instead of a person. In this case –
– Don’t stare at yourself on the screen but look at the camera.
– Talk to the camera as you would talk to a person. Don’t keep staring at it and become stiff.
– Stay hydrated. Nervousness could make your throat dry, resulting in an awkward exchange.
– Aim to speak a little slower than normal. People tend to speed up their speech in nervous situations, something you definitely see in public speaking. Take it slow, and you should be great!
These 5 steps may seem basic knowledge to you right now, but you would be surprised how often people forget and make these same exact mistakes under the mindset that video interviews are much easier to do. Following these tips and taking the time to prepare just as you would for an in-person interview will greatly increase our chances of landing the job – interviewers always notice the effort and will behind an interviewee’s actions and words so sit down at-least 10-15 minutes before to make sure everything is in place, your notes are next to you and you’re aware of what you look and sound like. Be confident knowing that you’ve done everything you can to give the best possible virtual impression of yourself.