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How to Survive Video Interviews and The Future of Recruiting

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The Increasing Importance of Technology for Recruiting
Types of Video Interviews
Essential Video-Interview Tips
Video Interview Resources

The Increasing Importance of Technology for Recruiting

Technology is beginning to play a huge part in the recruiting process. If you haven’t experienced a video interview yet, you will undoubtedly be invited to complete one before you graduate. Software like HireVue is changing the way that companies hire talent. It’s common to see internships and jobs for new graduates receive hundreds of applications. With video interview technology, recruiters can narrow this list in a much more efficient and cost-effective way, and ensure that only the best candidates move forward. Some companies are even using artificial intelligence to analyze facial features and voice levels during interviews to really dive deep into how well a candidate will fit into their culture.

Types of Video Interviews

Let’s break down the two main types of video interviews, live and on demand.

Live video interview

A live video interview is much like a FaceTime or Skype chat. You are typically invited by a recruiter to chat live with the company’s hiring team during a set time and date that works for everyone.

On-demand video interview

An on-demand video interview occurs when organizations ask the candidate to record their answers to a set of pre-recorded questions. You will receive an invitation from the company to complete an on-demand video interview. Since it’s “on demand,” you can complete the interview anytime you wish.

A few things to note:

  1. When you start the interview, you are given a practice question to test the software and learn how it works. Many times, the software provides multiple opportunities to record your answer.
  2. Next is the real interview. Once you start, you may not be able to stop it, so move forward only when you are ready.
  3. A question will appear on your screen, and a timer will display a short amount of time to think about your answer. When that time is up, your webcam will turn on, and you will begin to record your answer.
  4. Often, the counter allows a few minutes to complete your answer. Try not to use the full amount of time at your disposal unless it is necessary, or you were asked to do so. I’ll talk more about that below. Once you complete the question, you move on to the next one, and the process repeats.
  5. If you make a mistake, you might not have a chance to redo your answer, so keep going and do your best to get back on track.
  6. When you complete the full interview, the software uploads your answers to the recruiting team.

Keep in mind that this process can change depending on the company and the software it is using to interview you. Now that we’ve talked about the differences between live and on-demand video interviews, let’s go over some best practices.

Essential Video-Interview Tips

  1. Test your technology to ensure everything is working correctly. Contact the help desk of the software company being used and try your best to solve the problems before your interview.
  2. The company has opted for a video interview, so people there want to see your face. Make sure the lighting in your video is adequate, so there are no dark shadows or blurry areas. If you have to, sit in front of a window so the natural light can brighten up your video.
  3. If possible, set your camera up, so it is eye level. Try to avoid looking down or up at the camera.
  4. Some video interview technologies will allow you to complete an interview with your smartphone. I recommend against this since it can appear shaky or blurry. Use a laptop or high-quality camera attached to a PC for the best results.
  5. The background should not be distracting. Anything happening behind you can add or take away from the professionalism of your video. If you have children or pets, make sure they do not interfere with your interview. Ensure the background is as neutral/neat/organized as possible.
  6. Dress to impress. It is important to be comfortable during your interview, but don’t take shortcuts. Your whole appearance is crucial; so sit up straight, speak clearly and smile! Remember that this may be the first time they see you, so show them you understand what a strong first impression is!
  7. Use the S.T.A.R. method to answer behavioral interview questions when possible. This approach will allow your answers to be strong and relevant in regard to the job description.
    I often speak with recruiters after they finish interviewing students in the Career Management Center. one common piece of feedback I receive is that students talk too much. The S.T.A.R. method will help you stay on track. A strong interview answer can be 60 seconds to 90 seconds long. If you have five minutes to record your answer, there is no need to use the full amount of time.
  8. Natural eye contact is important! Some software allows you to watch yourself as you speak, and that creates an easy distraction during your interview. If you’ve ever talked with a friend over video, you’ll notice there is a difference when they’re looking at themselves, and when they’re looking at the camera. That eye contact with the camera is fundamental to establish a stronger connection between you and whoever is watching your interview. You don’t have to stare awkwardly at the camera. Still, the camera is where your eyes should always end up. Regardless if it’s live or on demand, eye contact will give the impression that you are confident, well prepared and professional.
  9. After a live video interview, you’ll be allowed to ask questions. Always ask at least one question about the job itself, and never leave an interview without asking about the next steps. You will want to know what is next in the process. This is your opportunity to get clarification on it.

Video interviews, whether they’re live or on demand, can be awkward and uncomfortable. It’s harder to stand out from the competition since it’s such an impersonal process. That’s why it’s crucial to implement the best practices I listed above. These ideas will let the hiring team see the absolute best of you and everything you have to offer to their company. Continue to practice and prepare, especially if you’re actively applying to jobs. An invitation to interview over video is coming your way soon!

Video Interview Resources

Be sure to check out the JSOM Career Management Center Resources for Video Interviewing.

Interviewstream is a simple-to-use program offering simulated video interview scenarios to help you practice. To get started, register for an account using your UT Dallas email address.

Jason Cirilo

Jason Cirilo

Jason Cirilo is a career development specialist and lecturer in the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. He serves students through classroom instruction, workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions in order to share his knowledge of corporate recruiting strategy and professional development.

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