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How to ace your Video Interview and bloopers to avoid

Senior Managers recount situations where video interviews were less than perfect - heads up, don't pick up the cat while filming!

Video interviews are becoming more and more popular in the recruitment process.  However, not everyone understands that even though you are just talking to a camera, it should still be viewed as a ‘first impression’ to your prospective employer.  Independent research firm, Robert Half, recently surveyed more than 600 Senior Managers across the US and Canada and recounted situations in with video interviews were less than perfect.

Some of their most awkward and funny moments include:

  • The candidate’s dog walked in front of the camera.
  • One applicant picked up and showed off the family cat.
  • A job seeker took his girlfriend’s phone call during the interview.
  • The candidate was eating breakfast during the interview.
  • A child stepped into the frame and asked, “What are you doing, Mommy?”
  • The job seeker and his wife were arguing during the interview.
  • The applicant asked the interviewer for a date.
  • The candidate was playing video games in the background during the interview.
  • One applicant wore a tank top and flip-flops.
  • The job seeker was getting dressed.
  • The doorbell rang mid-interview.
  • A package was delivered.
  • An interviewee’s house was being renovated, with banging and electric saw noises in the background.

Senior Director for Robert Half, Paul McDonald, said: “While technology has sped up the recruiting process and eased the burden of traveling to an interview, job applicants should treat video interviews with the same level of professionalism as in-person meetings.  Putting your best foot forward doesn’t mean just looking and acting the part, but also ensuring that your environment is free of distractions.”

He added, “Hiring managers can help the candidate feel at ease and show their company is a desirable place to work by conducting the interview from an uncluttered, noise-free setting, such as a conference room. And, just as with candidates, they should make sure they’re comfortable with the technology.”

Robert Half offers the following advice to ensure a successful video interview:

  • Test your technology. Download the video platform being used for your interview well in advance. Test your webcam, microphone and speaker to ensure they are working properly.
  • Do a trial run. Ask a friend to conduct a mock video interview and provide you with an honest critique. You may find you need to practice pausing momentarily before responding to ensure the interviewer is done speaking. This can be especially important if the connection is slow.
  • Remember, location, location, location. Pick a quiet, well-lit space. Make sure pets and family members don’t interrupt the flow of the interview. Set your phone to silent, and disable any on-screen notifications.
  • Dress professionally. Look your professional best from head to toe, not just from the waist up. Choose an outfit that projects confidence. Also, avoid patterns that could be distracting on camera.
  • Look lively. Directing eye contact to the camera when speaking, nodding noticeably, smiling, maintaining good posture and making appropriate hand gestures a bit more than you typically would can help you appear more engaged on screen.
  • Send a thank-you. Extend the same politeness you would after an in-person interview. Before the discussion concludes, ask for the office mailing address or email address of the hiring manager and follow up with a thank-you note.

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