How To Succeed In a Video Interview

video interviews

If you work in the automotive industry and are looking for your next role, video interviews are something you should be preparing for. In this article we will show you how candidates can make a big impact in Video Interviews. We’ll look at how to prepare and how to perform on the day of your video interview.

Introduction to Video Interviews

Put simply, video interviews are job interviews that takes place remotely using video technology as the communication medium. With increasing quality and reliability of affordable video conferencing software, as well as improved hardware (microphones, headsets etc) it is a method that’s becoming much more commonly used for candidate assessment. In this article we will show you how to prepare and succeed at Video Interviews.

Whilst you may have previous experience of taking part in video interviews its worth taking time to prepare to give yourself the best chance of success. To help you do this we wanted to share some tips and advice learned over the many years the Copeland Automotive Recruitment team have held and prepared candidates for video interviews.

What Types of Video Interviews Are There?

There are two main types of video interview: One way and Live video interviews.

ONE WAY VIDEO INTERVIEWS

A one-way, or asynchronous, video interview is when an employer sends text-based interview questions to candidates, who then record video answers and submit them back to the employer.

These pre-recorded interviews can work in a variety of ways. A question will be delivered as audio, video and/or text. You will then be given a certain amount of time to answer the question. This may be straight away and within a certain time period (eg two minutes) or you might be given time to prepare and then record a response (eg half an hour). Depending on the setup, you may be allowed more than one go at each question.

This type of interview can often feel much less like an interview and a more like a video exercise. As you are not actually interacting with another human, you will not get the benefits of any follow up questions, responses or acknowledgement. An example of this type of interview software is LAUNCHPAD

LIVE VIDEO INTERVIEWING

A live interview is where a candidate and employer connect face-to-face over webcam. The employer will ask you questions in real time and you’ll answer; the interview will continue like a conversation. It’s this type of video interview that we are currently finding to be most popular with the automotive industry employers we work with.

This type of live video interview might be conducted via an application such as Skype or Zoom, or it could be conducted using business software that has more candidate tracking tools for the employer. These are provided by companies like HireVue and SparkHire. Aware that individuals are likely to have less experience using these methods, they are designed to be simple for candidates to use.

Set-Up, Equipment and Preparation for Video Interviews

There is a clear link between the level of preparation undertaken and the overall outcome achieved. Therefore is vital that you are well prepared.

TEST YOUR EQUIPMENT

Before starting the video interviewing process, make sure you have practiced using the equipment. Check that your software is in working order and that you understand all of the functions and controls. Do this well in advance, allowing time to solve any problems before the interview is due to take place. Do a dry-run with someone well in advance to ensure you are confident and comfortable with the the equipment.

WEBCAM – PLACEMENT AND LIGHTING

In a video interview, your webcam is your greatest asset. A clear, sharp, well-positioned image will make you look professional and presentable, whilst something that is lopsided or out of focus will give the opposite effect.

When deciding where to place your camera, bear in mind that the webcam should be positioned a little above your eye level, looking slightly down towards you. Consider using something to raise up your laptop if the right angle cannot be achieved.

Also, consider the lighting. If the main light source is behind you, you’ll look like a silhouette; directly in front of you and beaming onto your face, you will look incredibly pale (not to mention blinded). Natural light is the most flattering.

TIP: Give yourself adequate time to experiment with different set ups.

ENVIRONMENT / BACKGROUND

Always be mindful about your surroundings and what can be seen in the camera frame. The best environment is neat, neutral and inoffensive as possible:

  • Remove any clutter or general mess – nobody wants to see your dirty washing etc
  • Make sure there is nothing potentially embarrassing on the wall behind you (photos, posters etc)
  • Look out for any reflective surfaces that may show something you don’t wish to be seen.
  • Check that there is nothing that may become a distraction, such as anything with a flashing light.

TIP: Be cautious if deciding to use a background that is provided by the video software. Beach scenes are not professional and often result in you blurring in and out of the background during the chat.

LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF NOISE

The ideal place to conduct a video interview would be in a low-traffic room that has a door you can close. If this is not possible, you should opt for an area of your home where others are less likely to be. Make sure you put any pets in a separate room and turn of notifications on your device.

TIP: Your device’s built-in speakers can pick up and magnify notification noises, which makes for a very unpleasant interruption. Check the room you are in to make sure there is nothing that could go off unexpectedly and turn off anything on your device.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY

The way you dress can give an insight into your level of professionalism and your attitude towards the interview itself – being interviewed from your home is no excuse for a poor first impression.

Dress exactly as you would for an in-person interview. If you’re unsure how that should be, email or call the company’s HR department and ask. If in doubt, go with a suit or other smart, business-like attire.

TIP: Whilst only the top half of your clothing is visible to the interviewer, it is still advisable to fully dress for your interview. There are many situations where you my may have to stand up unexpectedly.

ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B

Software problems, visual or audio malfunctions or internet connectivity issue can happen so ensure you have an option to take should there be a technical hitch: make sure you have the employer’s telephone number or details to communicate via a different method. Keep your phone charged in case you need to switch to mobile data or face time etc

How to Behave in a Video Interview

When you’re ready to start the conversation, use the following tips to ensure the video interview is professional and productive. 

NOT ALL LANGUAGE IS VERBAL

55% of communication is non verbal, with another 38% conveyed through your tone of voice. This means that the way you present yourself in a video interview is just as important as it is face-to-face. Make eye contact and show your interested in what the employer is saying.

  • ELIMINATE ANY TICS OR FIDGETING – It makes you look nervous and won’t display the confidence you want them to see.
  • WORK ON YOUR POSTURE – Do not slouch or hunch over in your chair. Sit up straight, but also make sure you look relaxed and natural, rather than stiff and uptight.

SPEAK CLEARLY AND SLOWLY

The quality of home internet connection and the reliability of devices can vary significantly making it important to speak slowly and enunciate your words.

Its always important to note that when we are nervous, we speak faster. Make a conscious effort to slow down when you are speaking. Take measures to calm yourself down and avoid some of the nerves that come with these pressured situations.

TIP: Keep in mind that there’s often a minor delay when someone talks, so pause after asking a question or listening to someone’s response.

KEEP EYE CONTACT

There’s a lot to see on your screen during video interviews: images of yourself and the employer, the main presentation or an ongoing transcript of the conversation between participants. Off-screen, you might have other people in the home with you. Make “eye contact” with others in the meeting by looking at the camera when you’re talking and listening. 

HAVE NOTES & QUESTIONS

Have all the information you need ready on the desk in front of you including your CV, covering letter and any basic notes about your examples and achievements – but try not to rely on them too much. You also need to prepare questions for your interviews – well prepared candidates will have done their research on the company and the job and have questions ready to ask.

ANSWER THE QUESTION

The key to giving a good interview is to be confident, concise, direct and of course, answer the question. The best way to do this is to prepare yourself to answer COMPETENCY BASED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Final Thoughts

Video interviews are like any other part of the application process – they are meant to be challenging and there are no shortcuts and naturally some people will better at them than others, but with practice and preparation you can improve your performance considerably.

Finally, when following all this advice, try not to lose your unique personality. Above all, you’re trying to convince the employer to hire you because only you can provide what you’re offering. When you use examples (and you should be using as many as you can to back up your points), try to pick your most memorable, interesting and unique examples – think about what all your experiences have taught you.

Further Reading

Video Conferencing Etiquette

How to write a Great Presentation

Mentally Bounce Back After Loosing Your Job

Copeland help automotive employees progress their careers. Learn more about HOW WE HELP CANDIDATES or If you’re ready for your next career move start by registering with us HERE.

Get in touch: E: [email protected]   T: 07973 286342

Kick-start your next career move

Sign up for our salary guide, advice, jobs & more Sign up now