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Interviewing via video recordings: stress or success?

Would you feel more comfortable presenting yourself to an interview panel or to a recording device?

Studies place job interviews amongst the most nerve-racking life experiences we encounter, but how would you feel if your next interview was not in a boardroom but in your bedroom?

The rise in the number of employers screening potential candidates via video recordings proves that this scenario is fast becoming a reality for many jobseekers. The logic behind it is that it is a quicker and more convenient method of interviewing that allows large corporations with many applicants to reduce the numbers before proceeding to the next stage.

It also gives companies the capacity to screen higher volumes of candidates; however, with Skype interviews and telephone interviews also increasing in popularity, it could still be a while before candidates who make it past the video stage get to meet their prospective employers face to face.

Video interviewing makes sense theoretically; as we live in an age of YouTubers, FaceTimers and Snapchatters, this is hardly a surprising development. If anything, it could go in the applicants’ favour, as they can rehearse and edit their video until they are happy with it – there are no second chances if you mess up in a ‘real life’ interview.

In the absence of physical contact, however, many are struggling with the concept. Science proves that humans respond best to physical interaction and without cues, body language and direct contact, some feel unable to completely project their personality.

Cue a range of university courses that are honing in on this new trend and schooling students in the art of presenting themselves via video. This can include everything from how to dress, where to look and how to arrange their surroundings to sneaky tricks such as placing prompts off-camera to help them stay on track. The more technologically savvy can even add music to their two- to three-minute video to really help them stand out.

With a reported 28% rise in video interviews over the past year, it certainly appears that a trend is taking off, particularly in entry-level or retail jobs where resumes tend to look the same but personality matters. The more technical the job, the less value a video interview may have.

In any case, young job applicants should expect to see this trend as they progress through the job-seeking process. While some may thrive on camera, others may feel awkward and anxious about putting their personality out there to be judged with no immediate feedback – and sometimes no feedback at all. For this reason, recruitment companies advise that despite the increase in video interviewing, a simple email would be prudent so that applicants do not feel as if they are completely talking to themselves.

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