Video interview tips: most recruiters now use video interviews

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Have you got a smartphone in your pocket, a tablet in your hands or a laptop in front of you? Well guess what, so have the employers looking through your placement and internship applications.

Why is this important and why should you care? It’s important because the increased availability and use of technology means that, sooner or later, you will be asked to get stuck into a video interview.

Welcome to the era of the digital interview

Recruiters are noticing the advantages that come with speaking to potential placement students and interns like you face-to-face, even if it’s on a flat screen and over an internet connection.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag on this one, the increasing trend of video interviews is unlikely to be shown the door anytime soon. In other words, digital video interviews are here to stay.

So, as if you didn’t have enough to know already about assessment centres, interviews in person and over the phone, you now have to know all about these video interviews too!

Video (interviews) killed the radio star

While we can understand that it might seem quite annoying to have yet another element thrown into the hiring process when all you want is a placement job or student internship, our advice is to start preparing for video interviews now and become used to the format.

After all, being ill prepared could cost you your dream job – so it’s a risk simply not worth taking!

Being prepared now can also help you steal a march on the competition, because if you’re an expert at video interviews but other candidates aren’t, you’re already at a huge advantage.

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The statistics don’t lie

Statistics from US-based company Software Advice suggest that more than half (60%) of hiring managers and recruiters have turned to using video technology when they need to carry out remote job interviews, so it’s becoming increasingly likely that you’ll be asked to complete a video interview instead a phone interview.

What’s more, it’s a fair to assume that this will only increase as more and more people come to own mobile devices and the technology and online connections become even better.

After all, think about the technology many of us already use on a regular basis, like Skype and Gmail (meaning you have access to Google Hangouts, Google’s video call service).

Are you ready for video interviews?

And, even though it’s a generalisation, typical university students around the ages of 18-21 will probably be thought of as being more tech savvy (whether this is actually true or not!).

This means student and graduate recruiters may be more inclined to ask you for a video interview because it’ll be assumed that you’re fully up to speed with technology. So in our opinion, it really is worth getting used to this style of interviewing now!

Of course, as with all walks of life, there are still things you need to be wary of, along with potential drawbacks. And as we all know, technology doesn’t always play ball and can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Technology issues: have you tried turning it off and on again?

For example, Software Advice’s study found that connectivity issues impacted more than a quarter (27%) of respondents, while one-fifth (21%) felt uneasiness in front of a camera (which could realistically have an impact on how well you perform).

Another issue that impacted 18% of respondents was the poor quality of the video or audio feed. So video interviewing is far from a perfect art. But then again what is?

There are reasons to be cheerful though, as indicated by the research. The findings suggest that once candidates have actually been involved in a video interview and experienced one, they are likely to prefer this format to phone interviews (47% favoured video interviews compared to 36% preferring phone interviews).

What you can do to alleviate these issues?

With research backing up the feeling that video interviews are becoming more and more common, what can you do to prepare yourself for the day when you’re asked to speak to a recruiter via Skype or some other video call service?

Well, apart from doing all the usual things you’d do to get ready for an important interview (knowing your application, researching the company etc), there are other considerations to take into account. Your pre-interview checklist should include the following:

Check that your system works and take a trial run: have you ever used your webcam or microphone? If you haven’t, don’t just leave it to chance and assume that they work. Test them before the interview takes place or you could totally blow your chances due to dodgy tech!

Make sure there’s nothing weird behind you: crazy wallpaper, offensive posters and your favourite bear probably aren’t things a graduate recruiter from an accountancy or law firm want to see behind you. Hide anything weird odd that you wouldn’t be happy to take to a face-to-face interview.

Lights, camera, action: sort out your lighting: if you’re lighting’s not good the employer won’t even be able to see you properly! Nothing beats natural light, so try and find a well-lit place with windows.

Dress the part: you’re still in an interview: you’re not travelling so you can get away with not wearing proper interview attire right? Wrong! For a start the interviewer can still see your top half, so this needs to look professional. If you dress the part you’ll be more mentally prepared, so we recommend going the whole hog. At least you can change after!

Find somewhere to go: think of somewhere that’d be good to sit before the day of the interview. You don’t want to be rushing around at the last minute.

Make eye contact: easy when you meet someone in person, but trickier than you might think on a video call, especially when the screen’s split and there are other potential distractions. So make a mental note not to keep looking at your image in the corner, but to stay focused on the interviewer. If you think you’re going to trouble doing this why not stick a Post-it behind the screen somewhere where you can see it!

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