Editor's note: Katie Dunn is founder of the Back to Business Women's Conference, which provides resources for women who want to reenter the workforce after time away. The next conference is Friday, March 6, in Raleigh. (It was postponed from Feb. 21 because of the winter weather.) This article originally appeared on the Back to Business blog.
As employers look to speed up their hiring processes, more are turning to video interviewing in order to screen candidates. Video interviewing can take many different forms and, for the purposes of this article, I’m referring to an interview in which a candidate uses a video interviewing tool to respond to questions asked of them on screen.
Since interviewing with a machine is different than interviewing with an actual human, here are a few things you need to know to ace your video interview:
Be good – fast! Video interview platforms promise recruiters the ability to quickly scan through large numbers of video interviews. Translation: If they don’t like your video immediately, they’ll skip to the next candidate. It’s not only critical for you to make a positive first impression but to do so quickly. Don’t save your best stuff for later in the interview. Have an introduction that you have practiced and can deliver skillfully to grab the recruiter’s attention and ensure they keep watching.
Questions will be very specific and easy to understand since you have no way to ask for clarification during a video interview. The good news is that you should expect the usual interview questions such as “Tell me about your work experience," “Why are you interested in this job/this company” and “What do you know about our company/our products?” Since you can anticipate the questions, there is no reason to not be 100% prepared.
Recruiters are looking for the same qualities in candidates whether the interview is conducted in person or over a video interview platform. Video Recruit is one such platform and they promise recruiters “you get an immediate and accurate insight into their character, competencies and communication skills.”
Speaking of communication skills, yours are on full display during a video interview. Again, practice is essential for you to shine in this environment. Record yourself answering interview questions with your phone and then evaluate your performance. Although you may not enjoy hearing your own recorded voice, this will give you the chance to notice any communication quirks you have. Did you say “um” or “like” more than you should? Cutting out these filler words from your speech goes a long way toward helping you make a great impression as a polished communicator. Did you ramble on too long? Not address the question that was asked? The only way to find out is to video yourself and then watch.
Keep it brief! You are likely to get as many as six questions during a video interview and will have a predetermined time period to answer each one, which may be as long as five minutes. Ever heard someone talk for five full minutes about themselves? BORING! Even if you are allowed five minutes, I suggest you do not take it all. Two to three minutes should be plenty of time to answer a question, especially if you are prepared with a concise answer. Be aware of how much time you have to respond to the question and wrap it up before you run out of time. Your awareness of and ability to manage time is something recruiters will take notice of.
It’s a level playing field. The good news is that in a video interview all candidates for a given position will receive the same questions and have the same amount of time to answer them. This removes some of the potential bias that can be present in the interview process, but also removes your ability to connect on a personal level with your interviewer. Your challenge thus becomes demonstrating your human side in your recorded answers. Be sure to inject some warmth into your responses and don’t forget to smile!
You choose the setting of your interview – choose wisely! Make sure you’re in a quiet place and pay attention to what’s behind you as a busy background will be distracting. I suggest being seated at a desk or table that replicates a professional setting. Have a glass of water nearby in case you need a sip between questions. And, naturally, dress appropriately for a professional interview.
Pay attention to the rate of your speech – don’t talk too fast! Interview nerves can cause you to speed up but take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down so you can be understood. Also, be sure you’re speaking loud enough to be heard and don’t mumble!
Remember, the three keys to acing a video interview are practice, practice and practice. Your preparation should help you start strong, which is key in this format. A recruiter won’t watch your whole interview if you don’t make a great first impression.
Video interviewing is a speedy way for recruiters to see lots of candidates. Let your personality shine through and focus your answers on what you can do for the company so they can quickly and easily evaluate your fit for the position.