Video Interviews: 5 Tricks For A Great Performance
Video interviews are usually something that most people loathe, but for talent sourcers (read: recruiters), they serve a purpose, especially if candidates are located outside of the area where the job is sited.
Video interviews give the recruiters or hiring managers an opportunity to further screen candidates to determine if there is a fit before time and expense are made to bring them in to a face-to-face discussion.
So don’t be unnerved.
Here are some tips to follow to have a great performance during video interviews:
Create a set.
What the other person sees makes an impact of how they perceive you. During video interviews while you are busy talking about your career background, the person interviewing you is busy scanning what’s going on in the background. Was that the cat that just walked by? What’s going on outside that window? Is that dirty laundry on the floor?
You need to create a minimally-distracting view. Remove anything that could raise questions, look junky, provide insights to protected information (i.e. political stickers, etc.), or otherwise serve to take the interviewer’s attention away from you and the conversation that you are having with them.
Too many times, people on video interviews come across as dark and under-lit shapeless forms, or even blue, thanks to the color coming off their computer screen. Or conversely, job applicants put so much light on their faces that everything becomes washed out.
Think soft lighting. If you have a lamp, place it near the computer to add some warmer tones to the lighting, and also consider even taping a white piece of paper over the lamp edge to diffuse the light. This can even out skin tones, remove glaring oily patches or blemishes, and remove awkward shadows to create a more pleasing appearance on-camera.
Barking dogs, flushing toilets, dishwashers… you name it. Hiring managers or recruiters have likely heard everything going on in the background in video interviews.
Sounds can be distracting for both you and the interviewer, so your goal is to remove any potential noisemakers. This includes turning cell phones onto airplane mode, turning off email services (they will still ding when you get mail since you have the computer speakers on), and closing the door to the room from where you will be interviewing on camera.
If you have to, tell other household members to please be quiet so you don’t get interrupted or distracted during video interviews.
Have a script.
In interviews that are face-to-face, you can’t really have your background notes available to refer to, but if you are in video interviews, the good news is that this doesn’t mean you can’t have some handy reference material just off-screen as a helper.
You can even create some key bullet points on a separate sheet that help remind you of key topics to cover in your answers to provide more thorough responses.
But be careful… you can’t look like you are only reading from a list – this will make you look very unprepared.
Instead, when answering a question, you can take a breath and then look over to your short list to quickly reacquaint yourself with all the top things you want to say in response.
Look at the camera, not the computer screen.
While our natural instinct is to look at the computer screen because the other party is on there, you aren’t making eye contact from their perspective.
Connecting means looking directly into the camera during video interviews, which transitions your involvement with the viewer from looking to the side to looking directly at them. This type of eye contact is powerful as it shows confidence, respect, and engagement.
These tips will help you gain confidence and also earn respect from the interviewer… which can lead to the next step by impressing your audiences.
Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.