The Art of Handling Video Interviews

Quick tips for getting past Skype and video interviews.
The gradsingapore Team

Video interviews are a new trend in the graduate job process.

They help employers to filter candidates at an early stage, and may also be used if the job involves video conferencing as it allows recruiters to assess how applicants perform on-screen. 

On the one hand, video interviews are a handy tool that help recruiters and organisations filter candidates at an early stage. But because they’re so different, they tend to intimidate graduate job-seekers.

Don't get nervous, though – read on to find out how you can crack them!

Live or recorded?

You may come across two different types of video interviews: recorded or live.

Recorded interview

Your responses are recorded for the recruiter to inspect in detail later on.

While it may seem intimidating to think of your face being paused on full-screen so recruiters can analyse your facial expressions, you may sometimes (but not always) get some indication of what you will be asked before the recording session begins.

Live interview

You hold an interview with a recruiter over Skype or other video-conferencing software just like you would with a phone interview, only with an added visual dimension.

You have to think on your feet as you would in any other type of interview, but this also means you get the chance to ask your interviewer questions in return.

While these interview types have their differences, much of what you can do to improve your performance is true over both types!

Practice makes perfect

Start by getting used to appearing on-screen. Switch on your computer's webcam and record yourself as though you're running through a practice interview.

It may feel strange talking to no one in particular, but shelve your qualms and just talk your talk.

Once you're done, review the recording to analyse how you look and sound over video. Do you wave your hands in the air, pull faces like Jim Carrey, or seem abnormally intrigued by the wall when you talk?

Do you slouch in your chair or fidget too much? Now’s the time to get a grip! It helps to have a friend, a parent, or a career advisor critique your performance as well.

Remember that the camera is in a different place from the screen, so to ensure maximum eye contact with your interviewer, learn to look directly at the camera – not the screen – while you're speaking.

You should also consider how you'll prepare for the interview.

Looking down to read from a long script won't be good, so consider making a short list of key points that you can tack or hold up out of view from the camera.

You can use this to help jog your memory.

Setting the scene

First impressions count, so you should always dress smartly. However, it's not just your personal appearance that needs attention – look around at the area where you'll be carrying out the interview.

Clean the area and try to make it look like a professional workspace. No books, beer bottles, or dirty laundry lying around, and no posters on the walls!

If you share the house with others, warn them in advance so they don't interrupt.

Secure the area to reduce unwanted noise – or to keep your cat from coming in to sit and nap on the keyboard!

If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, make sure you have a good signal strength so that the video conference doesn't drop.

If you're taking the call on a laptop, remember to plug it in – you may be online for longer than you think.

The upsides of video interviews

  • You can arrange a convenient time to conduct the interview after ensuring your set-up works.
  • You can do the interview from home without having to suit up and traipse across the island.
  • You don't have to factor travel time, stresses, and costs into the process.

The downsides of video interviews

  • You will need a reliable, speedy broadband connection to ensure nothing goes wrong.
  • You will need considerable practice to come across in a relaxed, natural way on camera.
  • Sudden, unplanned technical errors can be detrimental to your application bid.

It’s worth noting, however, that this type of interview is a trend. It may pass or it may be here to stay — there are differing opinions on its future in the assessment process.

Though some graduates dislike the thought of being judged on-screen instead of in person, you may have to overcome your objections or lose out on a potential job.

However, if you're lucky enough to have other interview offers elsewhere, then it’s ultimately up to you whether or not to participate.

On the plus side, remember that most companies do not see video interviews as a substitute for face-to-face second interviews and final selection.

Most companies will offer the opportunity to view their premises and meet other employees at a later stage in the process, if you get through this first.