All About Video Interviews
How to handle a virtual interview
There are two types of video interviews — live interviews (using Skype, FaceTime, or LiveMessenger) and recorded Question-and-Answer interviews, also called “time-shifted” video interviews.
In a recorded interview, the jobseeker is directed to a website to answer questions on video, using their computer’s webcam. Video interviews provide an apples-to-apples approach to assessing candidates. All applicants are asked the same questions, and the hiring manager can review and rate the responses. These interviews can be easily set up by the company’s HR staff and the recording forwarded to the hiring manager for selection for the next round of interviews.
More common, however, are live video interviews.
In 2012, Robert Half reported in a press release that a survey by OfficeTeam found that 63 percent of HR managers use video technology to conduct job interviews. This was a significant increase from 14 percent who conducted Skype interviews in 2011.
Skype usage has increased dramatically in recent years: more than 300 million minutes of video calls are logged every day. An increasing number of those calls are job interviews.
In 2018, CNBC reported that job interviews are more commonly conducted by AI robots and included this video to show how AI is changing the way you apply for jobs:
On September 20th, 2018, The Wall Street Journal provided details in an episode of Moving Upstream and included this video to show "how new data science tools are determining who gets hired".
Video Interview Preparation
You can practice a video interview on a computer with a webcam, using the Skype app, or using traditional camera equipment .
Even though online interviews are being conducted by webcam, they are “real” live interviews, and you should be as prepared as if you were sitting across the desk from the interviewer. In fact, you may have to prepare more! After all, you do not have to clean your room before going off to an in-person job interview, but you do need to clear a space for your online interview.
In a 2017 article about "How to prepare for a job interview", CNBC reminds us to be carefull about our vocabulary and warns us against our use of "filler words".
Each job bord also offers its own advice about video interviews.
Be mindful of where you set up for your video interview. Be sure the area is free of visual distractions (clutter). Carefully consider what is in the background of your AI interview. Make the background interesting, but not distracting. Plain white walls are fine, but boring. Can you frame a desk or bookshelves behind you instead?
Check out your technology well in advance of the interview. Make sure you have Internet connectivity
Make sure your webcam and microphone are working and that your webcam is providing a decent picture. (High definition webcams are available for under $100, if yours is not providing a clear picture.)
You may also have to download the software if it is the first time you are using the application.
One of the best things you can do to prepare for a live video interview is practice. Practice filming a couple of interviews with friends or family members before your job interview. Check the lighting and your volume.
As with a phone interview, recording your practice video interview can help you identify areas to work on, or fix. Have your test partner take a few videos.
Be sure to account for any time zone differences before the interview.
Video Interview Do’s and Don’ts
Review the guidelines for phone interviews, but also keep these “do’s” and “don’ts” in mind.
Dress nicely — more than one jobseeker has scheduled a video interview, thinking it would be voice only — and then accidentally found himself or herself on a video call.
Dress from head-to-toe. You may think you do not need to wear dress pants with the shirt and tie since the interviewer is only going to see the top half of your outfit. But you should always expect the unexpected. You never know when you might need to stand during an interview. Pajama pants, jeans, or shorts with a dress shirt, tie, and jacket just do not work.
Keep your clothing color choice in mind. Check how the colors of your clothing appear on camera. Just like TV news anchors avoid some colors — and most small patterns, pick colors that will show up well on video. Jewel tones or pastel colors work best. Do not wear white or black.
Practice your video interview wearing the exact outfit you are planning to wear. This trial run will also allow you to test the volume of your system, see how the interview software works (if you are not familiar with it), and make sure your lighting is appropriate.
Lighting is important for virtual interviews. If the light source is behind you, you may appear as a dark silhouette on the screen. Position a lamp or other light source in front of you.
Ensure that your profile photo is professional. This is your first impression from a physical standpoint in a video conference.
Positioning is also important. Prop up the computer so that you are not looking down at it and practice where to sit so you are framed correctly by the webcam. Make sure your torso is visible — including your hands — especially if you “talk” with your hands.
Look at the webcam when you spmera, it appears to the interviewer that you are looking at them directly.
One “pro” tip is to use a USB-connected headset for an interview instead of using the computer’s speakers. Headsets are inexpensive and can provide a much clearer interview experience.
If possible, use a wired Internet connection (plug directly into the Ethernet port) instead of using a wireless connection.
If you are using a laptop for the online interview session, plug it in so you have plenty of “juice” (battery life) for the call. You do not want to have to dig for a cord to keep the computer from shutting down.
Turn off notifications on your computer and close your other software programs. You do not want to be distracted by beeps every time you receive an email.
Speaking of distractions, it is easy to tell on a video interview if you are not paying attention, so keep your focus on the interviewer.
Dial up the enthusiasm! Someone who speaks with normal energy in a one-on-one conversation can come across as flat and monotone on a video interview. So it is important to be a little more enthusiastic in a virtual interview than in-person.
Smiling is an important strategy for video interviews. Most of the time, when we are listening to someone else, we have a blank expression on our face. But on a video interview, a blank expression comes across as a frown. Keep a slight smile on your face: not a huge grin, just show a few teeth and raise your cheeks slightly. Practice this in a mirror ahead of time.
Lean in. You have probably heard that “the camera adds 10 pounds.” The reason for this is that many people lean backwards in their chair, when they should be leaning forward. If you sit back and relax in your chair your head will be further away from the webcam than your stomach. Unfortunately, the camera latches on to whatever is closest…your gut!
For women, pay careful attention to your hair and makeup in video interviews. Again, a practice interview session can help you assess this. You may even hire Interview Coaching services.
Be mindful of your habits. Just like in a face-to-face interview, the interviewer will notice when you twirl your hair or chew your lip.
You can take notes during an online interview, but do not take too many, or you will come off looking distracted. Take notes with a pen and paper, not on your computer.
If you have an online portfolio, keep the link handy. You may want to share it with your interviewer.
What to do at the end of the Interview
As with an in-person interview, be sure to inquire about what the next step will be. And write a handwritten thank you note or email as soon as you are off the call.
Follow-up is key after a phone or video interview. Research indicates that employers are less likely to keep jobseekers up-to-date about their prospects with the company after a phone interview than with an in-person interview.
Checklist for a virtual Interview
► ► BE ORGANIZED ◄◄
Five ways to assess a new job offer
Is it really "Time for a change"?
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low in September 2018, making candidates more desirable than ever. Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. You wouldn’t be alone.
According to Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent report, 37 percent of respondents are looking for a new job — either actively pursuing new opportunities (20 percent) or casually seeking a new position (17 percent).
Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or are having trouble getting along with a new boss. The easy answer would be to just quit, but it’s probably not the right answer.
When you see someone quit their job in dramatic fashion, that may look like fun (especially after a bad day at work), but there are many reasons why that’s not a good idea.
An Addison Group 2019 Workplace Satisfaction Survey of 1,000 jobseekers found 79 percent of respondents say they are likely — or very likely — to look for a new job after a single bad day at work.
One of the top reasons why that may not be the right choice is that “unemployment discrimination” is a real thing. Both research and anecdotal evidence have found it’s harder to find a job when you’re unemployed than if you’re job searching while you’ve got a job.
One recent survey measured the difference. According to “The Science of the Job Search (2018)” survey by TalentWorks, “People who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a 149% hireability boost compared to their previously-fired or laid-off competitors.”
“Creatively” demonstrating current employment can be anything from continuing to show the work experience as “To Present” on a résumé or LinkedIn profile even after leaving a job to listing a “consulting business” as interim employment.
But when a hiring manager looks at your résumé — in particular, at your most recent positions — he or she likely won’t know if you’re not there because you were fired, laid off, or you quit.
Quitting can negatively impact your chances of getting hired. And it’s not just about quitting your job — it can be about quitting your job too soon (or looking for another job too soon).
The need to demonstrate current employment is particularly important if you haven’t been at your most recent job for very long.
According to the TalentWorks research, “People whose shortest job was 9+ months were 85 percent more hireable than people whose shortest job was 8 months or less.”
Furthermore, TalentWorks found that you are more hireable for your next job if you are at your current job for 18 months or longer.
If you did quit your job, you had better be ready to answer the question in an interview about why you left your most recent position.
That’s if you get the chance to interview at all. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for reasons to narrow down the pool of candidates they will interview. It may be worth your while to address the reason for your departure in a cover letter accompanying the résumé, because leaving that question unanswered may result in your application being discarded in the initial screening process.
Why People Quit Their Job
There are many reasons to think about making a change. The Pulse of Talent survey found the top five reasons for quitting include:
Nearly a third of employees in the same survey said they would need to leave their current position to move forward in their career.
All of these are “valid” reasons to pursue a job change, but they are not a reason to necessarily quit a job before lining up another one.
Reasons to Look for a New Job While You’re Still Employed
When you’re employed and looking for a new position, not only will recruiters and hiring managers be more inclined to interview you, but you’ll also have more money to invest in your job search. Being unemployed can be expensive!
The average job search is 13 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Could you afford to go without a paycheck for that long?
Networking takes time, as does applying for positions. You may have to wait a month for the application window to close, and candidates to interview to be selected. It can take 1-2 weeks after that to even get an interview scheduled, and the hiring decision may not be made for a couple days or weeks after that. Even if you’re available to start immediately, the company may require drug testing or have other pre-employment tasks that can lengthen the time before you actually start the job.
On the other hand, conducting a confidential job search while you’re still employed gives you time to prepare the tools required to support your job search. Having a résumé or professional LinkedIn profile professionally prepared can take 2-3 weeks.
Instead of simply quitting, you can also prepare yourself for a career move. Rather than quit right now, you might stick it out for six months, using that time to get yourself ready for the next opportunity. For example, taking classes or pursuing a certification that will better prepare you for your next job, or starting a side hustle (that might grow into a full-time opportunity in time).
Also, you want to make sure that you’re not running away from something as much as you are running towards something better. Spend some time thinking about what you do want to do next and why this particular job wasn’t a good fit.
If you’re looking to change careers, lining up your next job before quitting is even more important. Switching careers itself is more difficult than finding a job in the same industry, and adding unemployment to that equation can make the job search process take even longer.
The Costs of Unemployment
In addition to the time you’ll spend unemployed, there’s the potential costs of being unemployed. When you quit your job, you may lose benefits that will affect you financially. For example, if you need COBRA to continue to have health insurance coverage, that can be expensive. (COBRA is the temporary medical insurance named for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the federal law that gives people who have lost employer-sponsored health coverage the right to continue their coverage, at their own expense, for at least 18 months. However, the insured is responsible for 100 percent of the insurance premium — plus up to 2 percent for administrative costs — not just the amount you were paying as an employee.)
If you quit your job, you likely will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. So even if you think you are going to get fired, it may be better to let that happen. If you are laid off or fired, you may also get severance pay or access to outplacement services.
In general, you can only collect unemployment benefits after quitting if you have “good cause” — for example, due to an unsafe work environment, or if you weren’t being paid as promised, or if you were subject to harassment or discrimination. You can check with your state’s unemployment office before quitting to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. It may also be wise to talk with an employment attorney to be sure.
Why You May Need To Quit
Now, there may be some valid reasons why you may need — or want to — quit your job immediately.
These can include:
Can I Just Quit?
The answer is probably yes, depending on where you work. In the United States, all states are formally recognized as “at-will” employment states, meaning the employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason without “just cause” and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal. Some states also place limitations on at-will employment, which is more for the employee’s protection in the event of being fired or laid off.
Employees not covered by an employment contract are employed “at will,” meaning neither you nor the employer need to provide notice prior to ending the employment.
If you have an employment agreement, read it carefully to find out how you need to turn in your resignation. Do you need to provide two weeks’ notice? Do you need to provide notice in writing? Make sure you are following the process outlined in the contract.
It’s always a good idea to offer two weeks’ notice to your employer — if you can — even if they turn you down and have you leave immediately. Keep in mind if you quit without giving notice, you are likely burning a bridge with that employer that will lead to negative reference checks in the future.
Prepare To Quit
If you are going to quit your job, do everything you can to prepare yourself ahead of time:
One advantage of quitting your job is that you will have more time to spend on the job search, especially time to interview and network. Looking for a new job has often been compared to taking on a part-time job because of the time and energy required.
A job change may be in your (immediate) future. But don’t act without thinking or planning your next move — especially if you want to make a change in reaction to a bad day, being overlooked for a promotion, or because of a disagreement with a co-worker or manager.
I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Recruiter with three decades of experience in assisting jobseekers, working with employers, and writing effective resumes. I am well-versed with Applicant Tracking Systems. I use the right keywords so my resumes go through ATS successfully and without complications