As innovations insert themselves into the hiring process we’ve grown to know and love (or hate), we must adapt by learning new ways to prepare for their nuances. One-way video interviews bring a new set of challenges to today’s hiring process that can affect your interview performance if you don’t prepare.
Isn’t an interview supposed to be a conversation between two people? As introverts, you would think we would jump up and down at the idea. “We don’t have to talk to a real person!?” But one-way video interviews can make even the most introverted candidate feel uncomfortable.
Below, I’ve highlighted six tips that you can use to go from unprepared to confident, then ace your one-way video interviews and move on to the next, more personal, round.
1. Practice maintaining eye contact with the camera
Eye contact tells the other person that you are listening, that you are confident enough to focus on them as you speak, and shows them respect.
Although, maintaining eye contact with another person can be challenging, especially during the pressure of an interview while you’re attempting to articulate complex thoughts from your background. That challenge is amplified when you’re alone at home talking to a camera.
The best way to get comfortable talking to a camera is by preparing your interview answers and practicing delivery in front of a camera lens to build your articulation and confidence.
One easy way to practice maintaining eye contact with the camera is by talking about a comfortable topic with a close friend.
Call up a good friend or someone you know really well and have an easy, stress free conversation with them while trying to maintain eye contact with the camera. What should you talk about? Start off talking about the plans for the upcoming weekend or something funny that happened to you recently. This will help you practice maintaining eye contact with the camera and articulate your thoughts while doing so. Once you feel comfortable, you can transition topics that are geared more towards your video interview.
2. Don’t look at the countdown timer
How would you feel if you walked into a live in-person interview, you sit down, then your interviewer plops a digital timer on the desk and says, “You have 60 seconds to answer every question I ask you?” That would be absurd, right?
The length of your interview answers is important and tells the interviewer how prepared you are and how well you can communicate.
Although, having a countdown timer staring back at you as you talk is a distraction. Looking at it while you’re interviewing can affect your performance. It can give you an unneeded sense of urgency and anxiety that you’re going to run out of time!
Therefore, covering the timer with tape or moving it off screen can help limit this distraction and help you focus on your message.
3. If you mess up, keep going!
An interview is a conversation, not a perfected speech. Although, one-way interviews can sometimes feel like the latter.
Some companies allow multiple attempts to answer each video interview question. Feeling like you have unlimited attempts can give you the urge to stop and start over after every verbal mistake you make, instead of just rolling with it like you would in person. This can put you on an endless re-record hamster-wheel that will quickly burn you out.
Therefore, it’s important to have a “one-take” mindset when recording your one-way video interview answers. Try to imagine that you’re sitting across the table from your interviewer and if you fumble your words, freeze, or mess up in any way, just keep going!
4. Imagine that you are talking to a real person
When you’re in an in-person interview, you naturally speak loud enough for your interviewer to hear you. Although, when you’re speaking into your laptop, it can feel awkward speaking with the same volume as you would to a person sitting across the table.
Talking to a camera can also affect the energy you bring to the interview. When you’re talking to a real person in an interview, you can be more easily be energized by the back and forth engagement a conversation inherently has. But when you’re just talking into the camera, it’s hard to imagine another person at the other end of that device being engaged by your interview. Therefore, your energy can easily dwindle if your mindset is focused just on the camera and not on the real person that will eventually be watching your video interview.
Therefore, imagine that you’re talking to the real person that will be watching your interview recordings. Try to bring the same amount of energy into the interview and project your voice as if you were sitting in an office talking to your interviewer. This will help you sound more natural and confident.
You can also test your audio by taking a short video of yourself before your interview and listening to the recording. Try to remember the voice projection that sounds best to you, as that will likely sound the best to your interviewer as well.
5. Don’t look at the live recording
With the rise of social media and smart devices, we are getting more and more used to looking at ourselves in pictures and video. Although most of the time we’re recording ourselves in short 20 second clips, with crazy filters, and in non-stress environments where money and jobs aren’t on the line.
What we are unfamiliar with is seeing how we look and sound in a video interview, answering unknown questions about our past for minutes at a time with money and jobs on the line. Quite different!
This is something we don’t have to worry about when we walk into an in-person interview because we can’t see ourselves. Although, some one-way video interview platforms show you a live feed of your recording.
Watching yourself as you’re being recorded can heavily impact your interview performance because it distracts you from thinking on-the-spot and articulating those thoughts into words.
Therefore, move any live recordings of yourself off the screen or cover them up. Removing this distraction can keep you focused on your answers and boost your interview performance.
6. Immerse yourself in the interview
The definition of immersion is to involve yourself deeply in a particular activity. When you are immersed in an activity it’s easier to focus and perform.
When you go to the gym to work out, you are immersing yourself in that activity. All around you, there’s nothing but workout equipment. There are people working out and talking about it. There is music that makes you feel energized. There are no outside distractions. On the contrary, working out at home can be very challenging because of the many distractions not present in a gym.
For the same reasons, a one-way interview at home can be very challenging. You don’t have the benefits of being immersed in an interview like you would in an office setting, where everyone is dressed professionally, you’re in a clean environment, there might be people working around you, there isn’t any music or outside distractions, etc.
Therefore, mentally put yourself in an office setting before starting your one-way video interviews so that you can perform at your best. Imagine that you are sitting in a clean, private office, sitting across the table from your interviewer. You should also remove all distractions from your environment such as your phone, people, white noise, and cats.
Use these 6 tips to boost your confidence and performance with one-way video interviews.
Your Turn. What do you struggle with most in one-way video interviews?