The Video Interview: Where The Most Mistakes Are Made

Video interviews are quite often where the rubber meets the road. While this step in the employment journey might feel equally paramount to an in-person dialogue, what can happen is quite different because of where it happens. There isn’t a great deal of room for technical error when you are sitting across the table from one another, but that changes when eye contact occurs via web cams and your best answers are overshadowed by poor lighting. Even in Silicon Valley, virtually anything can and has happened. These are our top tips to ensure that your video interview is a strategic step to success and not a regrettable roadblock.

Tackle the tech.

A distracting camera angle or inaudible audio can wreak havoc in how professional and prepared you appear. Familiarize yourself with your webcam and microphone ahead of time and adjust the angle at eye level, not looking down or up.  Conduct a trial run or two with a peer ahead of time to trouble shoot any technical difficulties before they become organizational obstacles. Don’t forget to consider the time of day and applicable lighting needs.

Dress for success (yourself and your scenery).

Select a complete, professional look from head to toe just as you would if you were heading into a conference room. In addition, sit at the exact desk where you will reside during the interview and remove any background distractions. Busy wallpaper, kitchen counter clutter or any type of disorder can create an impression of inexperience or irresponsibility.

See it as a skills opportunity.

What you do to prepare for the video interview can speak volumes in terms of how you approach any professional engagement. Do you know what software will be used (such as GoTo Meeting, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Cisco Jabber, etc.)? Did you ask how many participants would be on the call? Have you sent any relevant or requested documentation ahead of time?A little due diligence goes a long way in how you approach professional communications and engagements. No matter what job you hope to do, chances are you won’t be doing it in a bubble.

Important Note:

There is a difference between a traditional video interview and a one-way or on-demand video interview. While the former was discussed above, the latter is a time-saving method for recruiters in which candidates record answers to questions and then submit them for review. This format runs much more like a speech than a conversation and can feel rather awkward at first. There are specific software solutions for on-demand video interviews that can improve the user experience (Montage, Hirevue, Interview Stream & more), so be sure you know what you are getting into before you get a surprise.

Just as in any interview opportunity, expect the unexpected. How you react to challenges, decipher ambiguity and create connection is what will be remembered. The only thing more important than how you enter a room (even via a webcam!) is the impact you made while you were there. We can’t wait to hear all about it!


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