This article was written in collaboration with Capgemini Consulting. Find out more about roles and opportunities available at Capgemini Consulting by downloading the Debut app.
It’s the part of the recruitment process that takes most of us by surprise. “Video interviews?! We live in the world of Snapchat and Instagram Stories – I’ve got this in the bag”, many of us may think – but actually video interviews seem so much easier than they really are.
Unfortunately, video interviews aren’t for everyone; we can’t all be stars of the screen after all. Even in this age of social media and YouTube influencers, there are some fundamentals to bossing a video interview we all need to know.
Well, fear not, because we’ve searched high and low for somebody who can save video from killing the interview star, and his name is Christopher Baird – a Management Consultant at Capgemini. We asked him if he could reveal the mystic ways of the video interview, and he very kindly obliged.
Why do employers use video interviews?
Well, because bodies talk, as they say. “Body language, hand gestures and facial expressions are really important in communication, and you don’t get any of these with a telephone interview,” Christopher says.
And it’s true, video interviewing does give you that extra element of human contact with an employer you wouldn’t get without being there face-to-face. A video interview is your chance to really convey what you’re passionate about, at your own pace, and without the thousand-yard piercing stare of a recruiter on you.
Do a test run
The whole ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ mentality? Yeah, it doesn’t really fly for video interviews. There are a lot of different moving parts – your background, your lighting, your microphone and camera. It’s not as simple as it seems.
Christopher says: “This applies both to the technology and your general interview preparation. Make sure the technology (webcam, microphone etc.) works and that it all looks good in the final recording.”
Look at the camera, not the screen
If there was ever a golden rule for a video interview situation, it’s this: resist the temptation to look at yourself on the screen. You’ll look like you’re staring at the ground and that’s not a strong look. Looking directly into the webcam may feel weird, but it gives the illusion of eye contact, so make sure you keep it at eye-level.
“It might seem unnatural, so take the time to practice answering questions whilst looking at the camera, not the screen,” Christopher recommends.
They say in Hollywood you need to ‘fake it ’till you make it’. For video interviews, you should really keep it honest. Doing a video interview is not an excuse to put across a fake version of you just because you have rehearsal time. Present yourself honestly, warts and all.
Christopher notes: “Capgemini places a lot of importance on the people it recruits, and we want to get to know the real you. We’re generally pretty good at spotting where candidates are forcing themselves to come across in a certain way, and if you get through to the face-to-face interviews, we’ll definitely be able to spot any anomalies.”
Talking quietly or mumbling
Video interviewing is about content as much as it is about visuals. Make sure you’re speaking with clear diction and at a volume that people can actually hear you. It might be tough with your housemates still asleep at 11am, but don’t worry, you can handle it.
“In a telephone or face-to-face interview, the interviewer has the opportunity to ask the candidate to speak up or to clarify a point they have made, but video interviews don’t allow for this correction. If the person reviewing the video interview has difficulty hearing you, you’ll have less chance of a successful outcome”, Christopher points out.
Getting too comfortable
It’s your house, so your rules, right? Wrong. Laying back on your bed or getting dressed only above the waist can spell disaster in a video interview. Pick a professional looking setting and dress smart from head to toe. It’s all about having the right mindset, and this will help you get there.
Christopher’s advises: “Doing a video interview from your living room or bedroom might make it tempting to forget that you’re taking part in a formal interview process. If possible, I’d recommend that you sit at a table or a desk with a fairly neutral background and good lighting.”
We all saw what happened with this poor guy on the BBC. Don’t be the next victim; make sure everyone you live with is aware of what’s going on when you’re doing your video interview, lest one of your housemates appears half-dressed in the background…
Christopher concludes: “If you’re living with someone else, let them know in advance when you’re going to be doing the interview, and ask them if they can leave you undisturbed for the duration of the interview.”
And there you have it, you are red carpet-ready for your next interview. Now get out there, and make yourself a star, kid.
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