I am seeing a surge in the number of requests for Mock Interviews in the Careers Service. Therefore I thought this week I would focus on preparing for interviews. The use of Skype or telephone interviews is fairly common; I have however noticed an increase in the use of Video Interviews. UK graduate recruiters using Video Interviews include Accenture, Hill Dickinson, John Lewis, Capco, Microsoft and Schroders.
How is a Video Interview Different?
Rather than a live connection with an interviewer, a set of questions are prepared in advance and put to candidates using specialist software. This in turn records the candidate’s answers and stores it for review at a later date by the recruiter. The questions are recorded by a human interviewer or can be delivered by an avatar. Crucially once your interview starts, you are not able to rewind or re-record; a specific length of time is also allocated for each answer. Graduate recruiters use this medium as it cuts costs and can support international recruitment. It also ensures consistency in the interview process as each candidate is asked the same questions with the same time allocation. From a candidate’s perspective you have flexibility to do the interview when it suits you.
Video Interviews can be daunting and below are our tips on how to prepare and ensure you come across at your best:
- Get the tech sorted: if like me you’re a technophobe make sure you do a dry run at least the day before! Practice accessing the video interview software and make sure your microphone and camera works! Remember to switch your phone off and any apps that make a noise.
- Looks matter: de-clutter the space around you and make sure you have adequate lighting. The camera doesn’t just see you but also captures the space you’re in. Make sure you dress smart - as you would in a face-to-face interview.
- Use your imagination: it is easy to come across quite stilted on video, therefore imagine you are talking to a real person. Create a focal point directly in-front of the camera and ensure you maintain eye contact. Be careful of your body language, for example you may want to minimise hand and body movement which can be quite distracting on video.
- Manage time: you will be allocated set time to answer each question so you don’t want to waffle. Make sure you have a clock visible in front of you (but behind the camera).
- Use notes carefully: the joy of a video interview is you can have notes to hand to help you trigger key points in your mind. The trick is to use notes as a prompt and not to hide behind then. You also want to keep the rustling of paper to a minimum.
As with all types of interviews, practice helps. You may want to consider using The Interviewer software which allows you to record yourself answering interview questions – you can play back the recordings and review your performance. Just pop into the Careers Service and we will provide you with all the relevant information.
Update February 2016: The Interviewer software is now out of date but check back soon for an even better software package you will be able to use from your own computer.