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How to survive a video interview

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These days, Skype interviews are regarded as a fairly regular part of a recruitment process, particularly for big graduate schemes. Recently, however, I stumbled across a recruitment technique I had never heard of before: the video interview.

Not to be confused with a Skype interview, in a video interview, you don’t get to talk to a real life person. The concept is that you record yourself answering their pre-set questions, on a timer, sitting talking to your computer rather than an interviewer. The benefit of this is that you can do it whenever suits you; the downside is that it can be very tricky not to get incredibly stressed.

So, here’s a few tips from someone who has some experience in the area, and has established exactly how not to do it.

  1. Dress smartly and look professional

Just because you’re in your own house does not mean that you can do this interview in your PJs. Wear what you would wear for an in-person interview. Make sure your background looks professional: preferably a plain wall, but really just make sure it’s not your unmade bed or massive pile of dirty washing. Oh, and make sure you won’t be disturbed.

  1. Prepare yourself

As with any regular interview, once you start recording, you can’t stop. So, there’s no time to sneakily pause the recording and look up an answer. Research the company, the job role, and think up lots of good examples of your skills. You could have some notes, as long as you don’t look at them while recording.

  1. Breathe

My video interview experience was stressful, to say the least. I got one minute to read the question, and then two and a half minutes that were recorded to answer. The ticking clock just adds another layer of pressure. Keep a glass of water beside you, and if you need to hyperventilate for a bit, wait for the recording to stop. Force yourself to talk slowly and measuredly, and take deep breaths between your sentences; you’ll appear a lot calmer than you probably are.

  1. Don’t feel forced to fill the time

In my experience, there is an option to switch off the recording before the timer is done. If you’ve run out of things to say, or if you can feel yourself starting to panic, just stop an move on to the next question. There is no point gabbling on, in a vain attempt to fill the time. Less is more.

The important thing with video interviews is that once you start, you can’t stop. So, make the most of the fact that you can do it whenever suits you: make sure you are prepared as you can possibly be, and don’t rush into it. It’s likely that these interviews are going to become more and more popular with employers as a way of sifting through their candidates, so as jobseekers we had better get used to them. My most important piece of advice? Whatever you do, don’t do what I did: don’t panic.

Do you have any more tips on how to survive a video interview? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Lars Lundqvist – riksant / Flickr

Fran LoweHow to survive a video interview

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  • Career Camel - February 3, 2015 reply

    Fran – thanks for such a good insight into the world of video interviewing. I could imagine the nerves beforehand and in that situation I always find it helpful to realise that everyone else is in the same boat so just go for it!

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