Pants Required: A Beginner’s Guide to Video Interviews

A video interview means you don’t have to wear pants, right? Unfortunately, that is incorrect; even if your video interview will only show from the torso up, it is still advised to come to a video interview as prepared and professionally dressed as possible. Your interviewer may not be able to see your pants but they can tell how much effort you put into your appearance for this appointment, and they will take note of it!

Why Video Interviews?

It is becoming much more common in hiring processes to include a video interview. Why? Well, for one, time! Time is one of our most precious commodities. We can get more food, we can earn more money (ironically one of the reasons that we would be interviewing in the first place), but we can never, no matter how hard we try, get more time. (I have been working on getting 36 hours in a day for years now, still no progress made.) When employers interview a candidate, they want to ensure that they have the most qualified, best fit for the position. In today’s marketplace, there could be a lot of people vying for the same position. Employers want to interview as many people as they can to ensure that they have found the best possible candidate for the position to be filled. They can initially interview more people in less time, through video interviews. They also want to ensure that they are not wasting a candidate’s time if it is not truly something that they would enjoy.

Next, commitment. Employers want the best fit for the position, but they want to ensure that the position is the best fit for the individual, too. By conducting an initial interview through a service like Skype, Interview Stream or Interview4, they can gauge someone’s interest with very little coordination effort to make sure that the in-person interview is necessary.

It can also weed out “serial job applicants” that are not serious about completing the process. Sometimes a video interview could seem like just a formality, and often times it is, but most employers have to ensure that all candidates are required to go through the same process in order to maintain a certain level of equal opportunity. If other candidates are undergoing the same video interview, do you really want to treat it differently than they do?

Another reason why video interviews are becoming more and more prevalent in the interview process is this simple: It is 2016. We have the technology, so why not use it? But while the idea of a video interview may seem informal, in reality, it should be treated as a traditional face-to-face interview. How you present yourself will set you apart from your competition. Give yourself the edge; be on time, look professional and be focused.

Be Prepared!

headphones
Use earbuds or headphones as opposed to external speakers, this will limit the feedback and provide better video quality.

Unfortunately, your “stuck in traffic” excuse will not work here. Ensure you are ready and logged in to your interview at least a couple minutes early. Your microphone, webcam, and speakers should be ready and tested to make sure all are working properly to minimize hold-ups and forcing your interviewer to wait. This will show you are respectful of their time and probably earn you a few brownie points.

Use earbuds or headphones as opposed to external speakers, this will limit the feedback and provide better video quality. Most cell phones these days are packaged with earbuds with a mic. If you can’t find your headphone/mic combo, think back to where you left the box your cell phone came in to see if you left the earbuds there for safe keeping.

park-bench
Be in a brightly lit room, a quiet bench in a park, or another place where you would find it pleasant to view this video.

Your surroundings could make or break this opportunity. Be aware, your interviewer will be able to see what is behind you. Video quality should be in the back of your mind all the time. Be in a brightly lit room, a quiet bench in a park, or another place where you would find it pleasant to view this video.  Make it as simple as possible, they want to focus on you. Along with what the interviewer can see, they can also hear anything going on in the background. Try to keep the distractions for yourself as well as your interviewer to a minimum.

Be Inquisitive

My last advice for you in a video interview is absolutely no different than the advice I would give to someone about a phone interview or in-person interview: ask questions! Think of some intelligent questions regarding the company, the role, or the interviewer’s perspective on the role or responsibilities. This may take some research and thought on your part, but that is exactly the point. Someone who has thought of some questions that they cannot find the answers to on the company website or elsewhere, shows how prepared you are and how interested in the position you may be to do some extensive digging. If you can stump the interviewer on the question, even better, they will remember you that much more.

So there you have it. Video interviews aren’t so different after all. And remember, if you’re thinking about not wearing pants…stop.

Article Contributions By Rachael Langry and Alex Smith

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