7 Essential Tips to Improve Your Video Interviewing Skills
By Lori DePace, Early Careers Program Manager, Publicis Health
I’ve interviewed lots of junior candidates through my six years of working in early career development, and no matter how confident or experienced the candidate, there’s always a bit of nervousness going into a first interview. After all, the initial conversation is a chance for an aspiring co-worker to make his or her first, best impression. For students making the transition from full-time school to full-time employment, nailing the preliminary interview with a company that could jumpstart their career is often a make or break moment. No pressure, right?
Like many agencies, Publicis Health sources talent from across the country (and, increasingly, from around the world), so scheduling in-person, one-on-one interviews with out-of-town job hopefuls has become a luxury that neither candidates nor hiring companies can afford these days. But thanks to a growing number of technologies that facilitate online video interview submissions, it’s no longer an absolute requirement to meet in-person for the all-important first interview.
But imagine having to make your first impression without the benefit of an in-the-flesh person on the other end of the conversation. With the growing popularity of online video interviewing platforms, anxious job seekers have a few more challenges to overcome, aside from first impressions. How can I gauge the interviewer’s reactions to my responses if I can’t see him or her? Am I making the right impression through video alone?
With more companies using new technologies such as HireVue, Wepow or Sparkhire (the platform used by Publicis Health) to speed up the recruiting process for high-volume roles like internships, candidates wonder how they can stand out and make it past the first round. Instead of winging it, here are seven tips that will help improve your video interviewing skills and, hopefully, help you land your next internship or first job:
1. Make sure all systems are go
Don’t dive into your video interview unprepared. First things first: Test the equipment you will be using to make sure everything is in working order. Minimally, you will need a laptop with a webcam and internet access. Is your Wi-Fi working? Do you have an Ethernet cable and the appropriate adapters if you need to be hardwired? How does your audio sound? Does your microphone work? What about your webcam? These all are things that you want to figure out well in advance of your interview, not at the last minute.
2. Plan to do your interview someplace that’s private and quiet
The last thing you want as you’re delivering a heartfelt response about your personal and professional passion points is for your roommate to start heating up leftovers in the microwave.
3. Be aware of your body language
Just because you’re doing an interview remotely (i.e., from the comfort of your dorm room) doesn’t mean you should be lounging on a couch as you answer the questions. You should have your computer placed on your desk, framed to show you from the chest up, and you should maintain a professional posture with open body language (no crossed arms!).
4. Try not to over-rehearse
Depending on the company, you may get the chance to see the interview questions ahead of time. You may have a few opportunities to record and re-record your answer. If you’re lucky enough for the company to allow you to do that, you should think about your answers and map out your responses in a way that is clear and concise — while still showing your passion and personality. However, don’t write a script. We always can tell when an interviewee is reading answers from a Word document. Despite the awkward circumstance, try to answer questions with spontaneity, just like you would if the conversation was happening in person.
5. Make eye contact with your web cam
Speaking of awkward, it’s easy to let your eyes wander to the screen as you’re answering the question during a recorded web interview: You’re looking at yourself onscreen, you’re monitoring the clock ticking down how much time you have left, etc. Instead of letting your eyes wander, pretend your web cam is the interviewer and maintain eye contact by looking directly into the webcam. This will help make your answers come across as confident and personal, the same way it would if you were interviewing with someone face to face.
6. Dress for success
You should dress for a video interview the same way you would dress for an in-person interview–professionally and polished. Sure, your favorite school sweatshirt is comfortable, but save it for after the interview is over.
7. Most importantly … show your personality and have fun with it!
Smile as you’re answering a question. Get excited to tell the story of that time you led a team in a difficult project and came out successful on the other end. Work in a fun, random fact about yourself into an answer. Answer each question in a different location. The recruiter who watches your video interview has more than likely been watching dozens — if not hundreds — of interviews on any given day, and even the smallest thing can help you stand out in the sea of hundreds of other videos.
Once you’ve submitted your interview, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You did it! That first step is finished! Now you wait to hear next steps from the company, and you can do so knowing that you submitted a really great video interview into consideration.
Shameless plug alert …
Publicis Health uses Sparkhire for video interviewing for our first round of interviews of our awesome summer internship program.
We host more than 80 interns each summer in multiple capabilities across our businesses in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Yardley, Bridgewater and Chicago. Internships are available in multiple capabilities at Digitas Health, Heartbeat, Maxcess Managed Markets, Publicis Health Media, Publicis Health Solutions, Razorfish Health, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, and Verilogue.
Our interns receive an insider’s view of the wide range of opportunities that exist in our field, with plenty of opportunities to network and learn from each other and leaders from many of our agencies. In addition to weekly learning and social activities, our interns are divided into cross-department, cross-region teams and assigned a group project, which they present to an agency committee at the end of the program.
Publicis Health internship applications are open now until March 16. You can find more information on the program and how to apply at the Publicis Health internship page.’
Lori DePace is the Program Manager of the Early Careers team at Publicis Health, in the New York City office. She has been working with students to help connect their purpose within the health advertising industry for over six years, and has helped grow the Publicis Health internship program into an intensive 9 week learning and development experience. In her spare time, she loves visiting Walt Disney World and planning vacations there for anyone who will let her! Connect with her on LinkedIn!