How to Kill it on a Video Job Interview

This is a post written senior copywriter Karen Friesen

Job seekers, step right up and meet your new career search compadre, more widely known as…

(drum roll, please)

...your webcam.

If you've not encountered the video interview yet, buckle up. You very well may as you roll forward through your current or next career transition. Just as it has with every other industry on Earth, technology is shaking up job search.

More specifically, it’s changing the process many companies follow in searching for and hiring new talent. Welcome to video interviewing, a recruiting tool that allows employers to efficiently screen job contenders, sort out the most qualified candidates and introduce them to hiring managers, all without having an applicant so much as brush their teeth or get out of their pajama pants.

It’s an appealing (if not necessary) option for many employers, particularly larger companies who typically have hundreds or thousands of positions to fill each year, and and exponentially more applicants. But for those among us who are not proud owners of a selfie stick and still don’t have a YouTube channel, getting front and center with a video camera and pressing “record” can be more than a bit intimidating.  

Now might be a good time to limber up and get comfortable with your video self, however. This technology appears to not only be here to stay, but becoming prevalent in companies of all sizes, not just the whopper corporations.

To get the scoop on this growing force in the hiring world, we talked with Montage, a provider of “voice and video interviewing technology” services to companies. Serving up a full-scale interviewing platform, Montage helps companies move contenders from initial application through the hiring process while offering the flexibility to customize each step.

We chatted with the company's marketing team recently to discuss the benefits of video interviewing, along with the best ways job seekers can prepare for the process. 

Here's what they had to say:

Q. How are companies currently using video interviewing technology?
A. Companies like software that helps them show off their brand and communicate fully with job seekers. You might see videos from the hiring company or hiring manager. Some companies ask a variety of questions within an on-demand interview or have hiring managers appear on video to ask questions. This allows candidates to see and meet them early in the process, learn more about the company and make an informed decision about working there. 

Questions asked of candidates might require video or audio responses, answers to multiple choice questions or a short essay response. Companies can custom-build questions specific to each job.

Q. What are the most important things for applicants to know in preparing for video interviewing? 
A.  Embrace it! This is an opportunity to really shine through. If it’s a live interview, we highly recommend getting onto the technology early and getting comfortable with it, before the actual interview. Practice with a friend if you can, so when the time comes, you can focus on the interview and not the technology.

If it’s an on-demand or pre-recorded interview, get yourself situated in a quiet, well-lit place and tackle the questions one by one. Get to the point quickly. Look at the camera and smile. It will help show the recruiter that you’re both tech savvy and confident.

Q. For job seekers, what are the advantages to video interviewing vs. following a traditional interviewing process?
A. This format offers the perfect opportunity to bring life to your resume and express your enthusiasm for the company and the role. You have a chance to showcase your communication skills, clearly articulate your ideas or share an anecdote. We’ve also learned from our analysis that companies tend to speed up their decision making when this technology is in place. That’s a huge advantage in the sense that the job seeker often knows the conclusion – positive or not – quicker.
Q. Is this technology the future of job search and hiring?
The trends point toward more and more employers adding technology into the hiring process, and video interviewing is certainly an important aspect of this. Technology that just focuses on efficiency is not enough, however. That’s not what employers want or need. But technology that focuses on efficiency while also giving candidates a great experience will win because it caters to both simultaneously. 

Q. How can applicants put their best foot (and face) forward in a video interview?
A. The best advice is to embrace the technology and yet ignore it. What that means is: talk to the camera (not your computer screen) as if the person is sitting three feet away from you. If this is a “live” encounter, the experience is not much different than sitting across a table from one another. But if it’s an on-demand interview, remember that the recruiter will be reviewing your responses alongside dozens (sometimes hundreds) of others. So get to the point quickly and come alive during the interview. Show that you’re confident and comfortable with both your answers and the technology. That’s what employers are looking for. 

Photo: Creative Commons (David Burillo)