5 Tips for Successful Video Interviews

Published: 17 July 2014

It’s old news; 93% of all communication is non-verbal. Laying eyes on one another is an integral part of being human.  With the prevalence of smart mobile devices, ubiquitous Wi-Fi and more recently 4G networks, the ability to make high quality video calls has become an everyday part of life. While voice is far from dead, video is on the rise as a means for regular formal and informal business communications.

It is no surprise that it is becoming more widely utilised within a recruitment process.  Be it Skype, Facetime, WebEx or any other facility it can’t replace the authenticity and human connection gained by actually meeting someone, but it can help accelerate earlier stages of the recruitment process, to get to the people with the very best fit faster. To this end, it is important too that candidates adapt. The following are a few useful tips to get the most out of your video interviews:

  1. Find a good spot, and be comfortable in your surroundings - Holding a 45 minute video ‘selfie’ will give you a sore arm and do no favours for your credibility. Remember, what’s on screen speaks for you.
  2. Dress appropriately - This is a business conversation. Don’t let your appearance on screen take away from what you are saying. Sitting in a converted shed home office fully suited & booted you will look as incongruous as being slumped on your sofa in pyjamas!
  3. Get the camera ready – Volume, focus, brightness and showing a decent head & shoulder shot of you. Doing this ahead of time allows you to really focus upon actively listening, and selling yourself to your interviewer. If the tech fails, stay calm and pick up the phone.
  4. Get yourself ready and be prepared in the same way as for a 1:1 interview - Have any reference documents in line of sight and easy to access. Open any relevant browser windows ahead of the call. Surfing the web and shuffling papers is easy on a phone call, it’s painfully distracting on a video call.
  5. Be yourself, not a sterile headshot - Technology changes nothing. Speak clearly, measure your body language and gestures for the camera, be succinct, take your time, read the conversation as you would in person and own your interview performance.

Invariably there are some roles to which a video interview is a simple great answer. Where leadership, influence, ownership and accountability are key parts of a senior appointment, nothing will ever beat time spent breathing the same air as one another. As video is increasingly a native part of business allowing us to conveniently span the globe instantly, the video interview becomes a test on several levels. As with every other part of commercial life those who adapt and evolve, thrive. Those that don’t… don’t.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner and Head of Technology and Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practices for Berwick Partners.

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