10 Simple ways to impress in a recorded video interview

01 May 2019
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Picture yourself at a job interview. Are you sitting at a desk, dressed all smart, opposite a couple of smartly-dressed strangers? Once upon a time, this was the only kind of job interview there was. But those days are over.

More than ever before, businesses are taking the recruitment process online to make it cheaper and more efficient. Recorded video interviews are part of that.

Recorded video interviews are becoming increasingly common.

So what are they?

What is a recorded video interview?

There are two basic types of video interview. One is a live conversation between you and your interviewer, over a video calling app such as Skype or FaceTime.

The other is where you log in to a platform such as HireVue to film yourself answering a set of pre-recorded questions. You get a few minutes to answer each question and, once you’ve completed the interview, your interviewer can watch your recording anytime.

Recorded video interviews are becoming increasingly common, so I asked a couple of experts for advice. What are we expected to do in a video interview?

What do employers look for in video interviews?

Geoff is our UX and Design Manager. He’s watched more video interviews than anybody else I know (possibly more than anybody else on Earth). And when our Editorial Manager, Alex, built a new team in 2017, video interviews were a vital part of the process.

So I asked these experienced folks what they want to see from video interviewees.

Here’s Alex and Geoff’s top five video interview tips.

1) Look at the camera to make eye contact

Geoff and Alex both said the most distracting thing a video interviewee can do is to keep looking down at their notes. It’s fine to prepare prompts for yourself, but stick them up near the camera so you don’t have to keep looking down.

2) Answer once, and well, then move on

Our managers often see people repeating themselves, trying to use up all the time for each question. They say don’t bother. Once you’re happy with your answer, move on. If you need to rephrase what you’ve said, that’s fine - just don’t say the same thing again.

3) Make yourself and your surroundings presentable

Dress for a video interview as if you were meeting face-to-face. Find out what the dress code is like in the industry, and choose something appropriate. But think about your background too. Avoid dimly lit rooms and make sure there’s no mess or clutter visible behind you.

4) Minimise the risk of an interruption

Recording your video interview, instead of having a live call, means you can choose when and where to do it. Pick a time when you know you won’t be disturbed. You don’t want to be halfway through an answer when your flatmate breezes into the room.

5) Show your enthusiasm for the subject and role

Geoff wants to see energy and enthusiasm, signs that you’re passionate and confident about what you do. Alex says that if you get the chance to ask questions or make a short statement at the end of the recording, you should take it - it’ll show that you’re keen.

So, that’s the top five. But here’s five more just for good measure:

  1. Be still - it’s fine to be expressive with your hands, but try not to fidget too much
  2. Fully-charge - make sure your device’s battery is on 100% before you start
  3. Take your time - speak at your normal pace so your interviewer can keep up
  4. Don’t chew gum - Geoff’s seen this one a few times, and says it’s far too casual
  5. Do some prep - research the company and be clear about why you want the role

Now you know what the people who watch your video interviews want to see. I asked Geoff to sum-up his feelings about recorded video interviews.

Said Geoff:

“I understand that video interviews can be weird, so I try to put people at ease when I’m recording my questions. A simple smile reminds them that they’re talking to a human being, and I like interviewees to show me their human side too.

“Yes, I want to hear about your technical ability but I’m also trying to decide if you’ll fit with the rest of the team. So show me who you are, show me a bit of your personality.”

Recorded video interviews are becoming increasingly common.
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Staff writer at The Common Room