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Mastering Video Interviews in the Modern Professional World

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Video Interview Guide: Everything You Need to Know before your Next Job Interview!

In today's dynamic professional arena, traditional job interviews have undergone a significant transformation. The emergence of video interviews, conducted on platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and specialized tools like Blue Jeans or Hirevue, has become the new norm. While these video interviews may appear daunting at first, they come with a host of advantages, offering convenience, expanding job prospects, and giving you full control over your interview surroundings. This comprehensive guide, tailored for professional candidates, covers all aspects of mastering video interviews.

It's crucial to note that video interviews have become a pivotal stage in hiring, particularly for senior candidates. Large corporations use this method to efficiently sift through applicants, identifying top talents from a vast applicant pool. As organizations seek cost-effective interview solutions, mastering video interviews has become a vital skill for senior professionals aiming to excel in a competitive job market.

Cracking the Code of Video Interviews

Deciphering Pre-Recorded Interviews: Before we dive into the technical aspects, let's first understand the structure of pre-recorded interviews. These are a preferred choice for employers to efficiently screen applicants. Here's how they typically work:

  1. Receiving the Link: You'll be provided with a link that leads to pre-recorded interview questions.

  2. Answering Questions: Each question comes with a set time limit for your response, allowing multiple attempts. This means you have the chance to practice your answers before you submit them.

  3. Submission: After recording your answers, you'll then submit them, marking the initial hiring process phase.

  4. Next Steps: Successful candidates progress to subsequent rounds, which may include live video interviews or in-person interviews.

Mastering Technical Aspects

Technical Preparation: Now, let's delve into the technical aspects that can significantly impact your performance in a video interview:

  1. Webcam: Ensure your webcam works well, whether built-in or external. Clear visuals and sound are essential.

  2. Webcam Placement: Proper positioning is crucial, capturing your face, head, and shoulders without cropping or awkward angles.

  3. Lighting: Aim for balanced, natural lighting and make adjustments if necessary. If you are recording in an area where there is a window behind you, use a ring light or side lamp to accentuate your face against the backlight.

  4. Microphone or Headset: Test your audio for clear communication before you start recording.

  5. Video Background: Maintain a neat background, and use background blur if needed but be careful of pre-set backgrounds that distort your head and shoulders.

  6. Internet Connection: Ensure a stable connection and minimize disruptions before you start recording.

  7. Documents: Keep essential documents and notes accessible. This includes your CV and any information that you may need to refer to.

  8. Devices: Prefer computers over tablets or phones for reliability. If you have to use a tablet or phone, place it in a clamp or stand and use the "landscape" mode.

Crafting Outstanding Interview Responses

Nailing Interview Questions: Competency-based questions are standard, focusing on your skills and problem-solving ability. Use the STARL method to structure your responses:

  1. Situation: Provide context for the scenario.

  2. Task: Explain your objectives.

  3. Action: Detail the steps taken and skills used.

  4. Result: Describe outcomes and lessons learned.

  5. Learn: Tell them what you learnt from the experience.

Another structure to consider is the DFSAR method when the question asks how you manage a particular task or "what steps you would take":

  1. Detail: Start by providing a detailed description of the task or goal you were faced with. Be concise but clear in explaining what the challenge or objective was.

  2. First: Describe the initial step you took to address the task or goal. This is where you explain the first action you initiated to tackle the problem. Second: Next, explain the second step in your process. This should demonstrate a logical progression from the first step and show that you thought through your approach.

  3. Also: Discuss any additional actions or strategies you employed. This could include tools you used, communication methods, or adjustments to your approach.

  4. Result: Finally, share the positive outcomes or results achieved as a result of your efforts. Be specific about how your actions made a difference and benefited the team or organization.

Presentation Matters

The Art of Presentation: Dress professionally and confidently, even if you don't expect to stand during the interview. Additional tips for on-camera presence:

  1. Attire: Avoid loud prints and opt for balanced colors- Blues, peach, pale green are safe options.

  2. Footwear: Studies suggest wearing shoes enhances overall presentation. It completes the outfit and makes you feel more serious and polished.

  3. Makeup: Remember you are very close to the screen and makeup that is too dark or heavy, is exaggerated on camera. Subtle makeup comes across much better, and far more professional.

Mastering Language and Body

Effective Communication and Non-Verbal Cues: Non-verbal cues are crucial in video interviews, accounting for up to 70% of communication. Maintain strong body language:

  1. Smile: This conveys positivity and confidence when the recordings are played back.

  2. Eye Contact: Focus on the webcam for a natural gaze. (place a small mirror next to your webcam to help you look at the camera as opposed to the entire screen)

  3. Avoid Fidgeting: Maintain composure by sitting up in your chair.

The Upsides for Candidates

Pros of Recorded Video Interviews: Recorded video interviews offer several advantages for candidates:

  1. Convenience: Eliminate the need for travel and participate from your own space.

  2. Expanded Opportunities: Access job opportunities beyond geographical boundaries.

  3. Control: Take charge of your interview environment, presenting yourself in the best light.

The Downsides for Candidates

Cons of Recorded Video Interviews: While recorded video interviews have benefits, they also present challenges:

  1. Lack of Human Interaction: Absence of immediate human connection can be disconcerting.

  2. Limited Non-Verbal Feedback: Real-time non-verbal cues are missing.

  3. Technical Challenges: Connectivity issues and technical glitches can disrupt the process.

  4. Time-Consuming: Preparing for recorded video interviews may require extra effort.

  5. Lack of Clarification: No opportunity for question clarification.

  6. Nerve-Wracking: The absence of immediate feedback can make it nerve-wracking.

Navigating the Challenges

Overcoming the Downsides: To navigate these challenges effectively, consider the tips and strategies outlined in the earlier sections of this guide. With preparation, confidence, and the right mindset, you can make the most of recorded video interviews and use them as a valuable tool to advance in your career.

Video Interviews for a Brighter Future:

Embracing video interviews is essential in today's professional world. With preparation, confidence, and technical readiness, you can excel in this evolving landscape, expanding your career horizons and securing exciting opportunities.

Communications and Job Interview Coach
Camilla vander M

Greetings, I'm Camilla Vander M, a top communications and interview coach with a track record of guiding 3000+ candidates to interview success. With a Drama and Production background and extensive experience in government and private sectors across Africa and the Middle East, I offer a distinct approach to enhancing professional communication.

Based in Abu Dhabi, I'm dedicated to empowering individuals to excel in job interviews and presentations. My personalized coaching builds confidence, showcases strengths, and targets improvement areas. I'm a firm believer in everyone having the skills to convey qualifications with confidence. My adaptable methods suit all accents and cultures, fostering a unique communication style aligned with individual skills and experiences.

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