Video Interviewing: Dos and Don’ts Direct from a Hiring Manager

video interviewingIn my recent search for a new assistant for our marketing department, my Human Resources contact asked if I’d be interested in trying out a new (to us) screening process done via video interviewing.

I was told that 10-20 percent of candidates decided not to follow through with their applications when faced with this option, but the benefit was getting a much clearer idea of a candidate before bringing him or her in for an in-person interview. In the end I felt it would save everyone a lot of time, so I agreed to try it.

As a job seeker, you already know what to do before for a video interview. Now here’s the 101 of a video interview: Candidates are given a link to the video service and asked to go through a fairly simple set-up process. The questions appear one at a time. After seeing a question, candidates have one minute to prepare an answer. Then the camera turns on.

Judging from some of the mistakes I saw on-camera, I’m guessing this is new to a lot of job searchers. Here is what I learned during my first take with video interviewing and my advice to future interviewees.

Video Interviewing Dos

Dress like you’re going to an interview | at least from the shoulders up. Show that you’re prepared to work in an office environment. Your goal at this point is to keep getting to the next stage. You don’t want to give the hiring manager any excuse to pass you over for the competition.

Think about your set-up and location | Try to find a level surface for your computer or device so you’re looking straight into the camera as though you were facing your interviewer. You look more professional and make it easier for the interviewer to imagine you in the type of setting you’ll be working in together. Now look around you. What will the viewer be seeing? I found I liked a solid blank wall behind the candidate. There was nothing to distract me from what he or she was saying.

Keep it short | Unless it’s a complex question requiring a complex answer, if your answers go over a minute and a half, they’re too long. For the written responses a paragraph or two is plenty. It’s always best to assume the hiring manager is busy and will get easily bored. You need to wow quickly.

Video Interviewing Don’ts

Worry about messing up | I understand the technology might not be familiar to everyone. I understand people get nervous. I’m not going to hold these things against you. Have you ever watched The Voice? If your mic goes out, keep singing, if you trip going down the stage’s stairs, get back up and keep singing, and if you forget the lyrics, make something up and keep singing.

Let the technology stand in your way | My industry, like most, is constantly changing and adapting to the digital landscape. Even if you’re camera-shy or don’t own a device with a camera in it, your ability to get the video screen done is the first step in showing me that you are someone who can adapt to new challenges and that you really are interested in the job.

Ramble on | The service we use allows up to three minutes to answer each question. Don’t use it all up! What is the most succinct and clear way you can answer the question? Do you really need more than two minutes to say it? More than a minute and a half? Yes, I said this above. I’m repeating it because it’s the most important. Don’t even think about babbling. Say what you have to say and get out.

Video interviewing is just like any other interview. Be prepared, present your best self, exude confidence, and above all… smile!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Come Recommended.


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