Top tips: How to ace your pre-recorded job interview
Tips And Advice
Always at the forefront of recruitment, we at Beringer Tame have been coaching and reviewing candidates’ pre-recorded video interviews within the digital and ecommerce sectors for many years. With all the changes happening in the current climate, recruitment is set to change, and online interviewing will likely become the norm...at least for the time being. So ready yourselves!
Top tips: How to ace your pre-recorded job interview
- Physically & mentally warm up - do your research, get into the right headspace, dress appropriately
- Create the right visual impression - use your environment to your advantage
- Sort out your tech - make sure it's reliable and positioned correctly
- Practice, practice, practice - perfect your answers and your delivery (but be natural)
- Follow up - show your enthusiasm for the job
"Whenever I have a candidate participating in pre-recorded interviews, I try to avoid a scenario in which a candidate is talking to a camera independently as it becomes very false and wooden. I always encourage pre-recorded interviews where I am interviewing the candidate in order to give hiring managers visibility of how that person communicates and how they interact in social situations."
How badly do you want the job?
A good candidate will shine no matter the format of the interview. The effort you go to with a pre-recorded interview is really indicative of how badly you want the job and there are a whole host of ways you can get your passion and personality across. As you aren’t under pressure to get it right first time, there is the opportunity to perfect responses to questions, ensure there are no technical issues and create the right setting.
"There is generally less leniency from hiring managers [if you are unprepared] as there was the opportunity to really perfect the interview."
Patrick's Top Tip: Treat the room that you’re in like a movie set.
"I once conducted an online video interview with a candidate – who had no previous experience in sport – for a role as a Marketing Director for a health club. To subtly convey his passion for the industry he strategically lent a squash racket behind him and a couple of famous sports biographies. A very neat and effective way of a candidate exploiting the use of background in an interview setting and using it to their advantage."
What is important to note with a pre-recorded video interview is there is a high chance that a hiring manager may watch your interview a number of times over. As a result, pre-recorded interviews open you up to a deeper level of analysis than a face-to-face interview would, and hiring managers are likely to pick up on the intricate details. Therefore, background and grooming are key factors I recommend you really bear in mind prior to a pre-recorded interview as they are fundamental elements that are likely to trigger an emotive response from the hiring manager, albeit positive or negative.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE AN ONLINE INTERVIEW
- Physically warm up.
- It may sound silly, but you remember that teacher at school that got you to stand up, stretch and get the blood moving before you sat down to do a test? That applies here.
- Mentally warm up.
- Get focussed. Everyone has different ways of getting in the zone, but clear your mind, like an actor going onto a stage, get into your role.
- Create the right visual impression.
- This is more than your outfit and hair. Think background, lighting, camera angle. All of these really matter and you’d be amazed how few people actually give this any thought.
- If you get it right, you can really get your personality across. If your background is untidy, it is likely an assumption will be made that you are also untidy and unorganised. In the same vein, if you are going for a creative job and the background is dull and boring, a question may then be raised around the your own creativity. Simple considerations like this will make a major difference.
- The bookshelf is a classic component that can be used strategically to convey your passion for a particular industry. It’s important to think about who you are and what message you want to project.
- If you are unsure of what to do in a certain situation, I would recommend a plain white background - however, if possible, I would always encourage you to treat the background of you pre-recorded interview as a canvas and use it to showcase your strengths.
- Camera alignment
- Another really important factor is to ensure the camera is either above or aligned at eye level. Just like you wouldn’t take a selfie with the camera below your face, it is important the hiring manager doesn’t have a view of your nostrils because frankly, it’s not the most flattering angle. It’s also important to remember that there will be an emotional response from a hiring manager if you happen to be looking down at them.
- If you're looking up at the hiring manager, it makes them feel more powerful. It’s like a dog, you never let a dog sit at the top of the stairs and look down at you. It’s the same with a video interview, you will come across subservient (which is never a bad thing in an interview).
- Video quality
- There is no excuse for poor WIFI connection in this day and age, particularly as the interview is pre-recorded. Aim for the best video resolution you can.
WHAT TO DO DURING THE ONLINE INTERVIEW
The issue here is building rapport with the viewer and making your self appear engaging. Some people have a natural talent with a camera, others don’t. There are some tricks that will help:
- Remember that you are talking to a human being, not a camera.
- Don’t think about the camera, think about the person watching the video.
- Have someone sit on the other side of the camera and speak to them.
- This will improve your body language and you will be more engaging and human.
- Not all the time, but get some smiles somewhere in your video.
- Humans smile at each other to build rapport so do the same with the camera. This makes you more engaging and likeable.
- Be authentic.
- Too much stumbling, correcting or pausing for thought is probably a bad thing but small amount here are okay, it can make you more likeable and authenticity is a good thing.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE ONLINE INTERVIEW
- Follow up.
- If you know who the decision makers might be, send a personal email or linkedin follow up message to say that you hope your enthusiasm and passion for the company came across in the video and you hope you did enough to get a face to face interview.
"It’s the simple factors that can be a real decider as to whether a candidate is successful with a pre-recorded video interview as there is a real opportunity to make an effort, and those that don’t are easy to identify."
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