Video interviews became the norm for hiring throughout the pandemic and alongside grocery deliveries and hybrid working, they aren’t going anywhere. Virtual interviews are easy to arrange and execute, employers don’t have to book a room in the office or even allocate too much time to interview a candidate. With 69% of employers in 2022 using video interviews it’s likely that if you’re a job seeker you’ll be asked to do one.
The rules are different than a traditional interview. A video interview is in some ways even more demanding. The average interviewing process in Ireland takes an average of 25.5 days. With the current hybrid and remote working climate, it’s expected that at least part of the hiring process in the future will be carried out virtually.
So how can an applicant perform to the best of their ability?
Interviewees are selected because of their curriculum vitae (CV). The interview stage reinforces what is in the CV. Hiring managers use the interview process to get to know an applicant’s strengths, weaknesses, and career experience.
Video interviews are shorter than in-person interviews, and applicants need to prepare accordingly. Like any job interview, an applicant should research the company and the job specs before the interview. A candidate who is well-informed about the company and has prepared will have an advantage.
Demonstrating your interest in the position
Think of the interviewing process as career storytelling. Everyone should tell a different story. Personality matters and hiring managers don’t want to hear generic answers to their questions.
The employer wants to know if the applicant really wants the role. The best way to do this is to explain exactly how they’ll add value to the company.
One of the most commonly asked interview questions is "Why do you want this job?" A candidate should answer this question by incorporating their personal goals, understanding of the role, and how they would be an asset to the company.
Here is an example:
"I'd like to work at Omni Consumer Products because I believe it will assist me in achieving my professional goal of becoming a better Software Engineer. The company's strong performance standards have impressed me, and I believe that working here would push me to improve and challenge me to keep progressing. Knowing how many worldwide clients trust and work with Omni Consumer Products encourages me to go above and beyond to achieve the company's high standards.”
Another important part of talent acquisition is cultural fit. Culture fit is the process of matching employees to the business's culture.
This is based on common values, beliefs, and behaviours between the applicant and the organisation. For example, a candidate who prefers to work alone might not be the ideal fit for a company with a more collaborative work atmosphere.
Ensuring you are comfortable with your potential employer's culture is important really important, there is no point in taking a job you’ll be unhappy within six months’ time.
The cultural values of a business should be articulated and shown on its website.
Using the STAR method
The STAR technique is an interview method we recommend for every interview no matter the format. Divided into 4 parts: Situation, Task, Action and Result an interviewee can tell their career story and persuade the employer that they’ve got the right skills and experience for the role.
How to use the STAR method:
The STAR method is a foolproof way to conquer interview questions. It also helps keep candidates keep on track with the main points they want to communicate when answering questions.
Here’s an example of a STAR method approached answer to “Give me an example of a time you set a goal and how you achieved it?”
Situation: Explain the situation by setting the context and informative. The place of work, how many people were on the team, who the client was, why it was important to the company.
In my previous position as a Marketing Assistant for a beverage company, I noticed that we weren’t getting a very high conversion rate on our Facebook ads. The company was relying on Facebook ads to convert as they were not investing in any other paid advertising. In the long term, the performance of ads was essential to the brand’s future growth as they had plans to launch a new line of drinks the following year and needed to know in which regions the products were popular. Working in a two-person team meant we were able to delegate quickly and make decisions. I made it my goal to increase our Facebook conversions by 20% in 6 months.
Task: Describing the task and objective of the project. What was the end goal of the task and why? Who was involved and what specific aspects of it were you responsible for?
The task was to achieve a higher conversion rate in our Facebook ads. We knew the audience the CEO wanted us to target, but who were the ones converting? This was where research was crucial. I led the project as we used Google Analytics to track conversions from our Facebook ads to our website.
I oversaw the creation of weekly reports that were put together by combining results from Facebook and Google Analytics. I used the two analytics platforms to generate reports covering our paid ad conversions, the audiences we had targeted, the location and demographics of those who converted.
Action: Highlighting your actions, what and how you did them. Were there barriers? How were they handled? What skills were used to achieve the task?
After consistent reporting over a three-month period, I was able to create a demographic of those who were converting through our ads and buying the products.
It was clear that despite our previous target audience of middle-aged women in Dublin and Cork (40-50), the research revealed that it was a younger audience (22-30) from Cork who was converting through our Facebook ads.
This not only meant that we could now retarget this audience, but we could then create personas to make sure our whole marketing strategy was in line with our findings.
Result: What were the results of the task? What was accomplished and learned? Is there anything you’d do differently in a future project?
We were able to present our findings to the CEO of the company and got the go-ahead to target our new audience in ads.
As we proved that our new audience was increasing our conversion rates, we were able to apply these changes to the businesses’ overall marketing strategy which gave us an added competitive edge when launching new products.
The biggest takeaway from this project was that research is key when implementing a task, not just expectation. If we had done research earlier on in the process of starting paid advertising, we could have saved money and time.
The STAR method is a great way for an interviewee to keep on point during an interview. It adds structure that gives the interviewer a full understanding of the candidate's abilities.
The interview space
Many of us have become accustomed to working from home (WFH). Prepare for an interview in a calm, well-lit space that’s free of distractions.
The background of a video recording should be clutter-free and professional-looking.
When speaking with the interviewer, we recommend looking at the camera. No matter the interview type, employers can use eye contact to assess a candidate.
It’s also important that an applicant dresses professionally for their virtual interview, even if they are interviewing from the comfort of their own home.
Relying on technology can be stressful. Candidates should confirm that they have the relevant technology set up well in advance of the interview and conduct a trial run if necessary.
Hiring managers will normally send the relevant URLs for the apps or platforms needed for the virtual interview prior to the interview.
Whether using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or another video platform, participants should set up a username that’s professional, just as if creating an email address or social media handle.
A practice call verifies that all necessary technology, such as the camera, microphone, and Wi-Fi, is operational. This gives the confidence that when the big day arrives, the video interview will go smoothly without a hitch.
During a video interview, the interviewee is front, and centre of the screen, and small movements can appear amplified for the viewer on the other side of the screen.
The participant should make sure their face is centered, and to keep good posture. Other positive body language tips are to avoid fidgeting, crossing your legs, try not to hunch, and speak clearly.
With video interview technology, there can be delays or sound issues. To prevent this from happening, a candidate should take their time and clearly enunciate when answering questions.
Positive body language alone won't guarantee a job offer, but the way a candidate presents themselves to the hiring manager can be impactful. The overall aim is to appear passionate, confident, and comfortable.
Checklist for a stress-free video job interview
Practice using the video software beforehand
Make sure the device you are using is fully charged
Close any other tabs to avoid distraction
Dress as you would for an in-person job interview
Look at the camera, not the screen
Body language matters – sit up straight, nod and smile, try not to fidget.
Make sure you’re in a well-lit, tidy room.
Consider possible video delays
Study the job spec beforehand and be familiar with your own CV
Don’t panic if there’s a technical glitch or interruption, apologise, explain, and keep calm
Use our video interview handbook to gain some insights into questions they may ask
What to do after the video job interview?
A candidate should always send a follow-up email after an interview. The recommended timeframe to do this is up to 24 hours after so the candidate is still fresh in a hiring manager’s memory.
During an interview, a participant might promise to pass on things such as reference details, or examples of work. This is the best time to do that. The follow-up email is also an opportunity for a candidate to say thank you and express their interest in the role for the final time.
Video interviews will always be part of the hiring journey so it’s time to embrace them. Employers are looking to find their perfect match and to tick as many boxes as possible during the interview process.
Using the STAR technique and relating all answers back to previous experience gets those boxes ticked. There are many positives of doing a video interview. Unlike a phone interview, a candidate can judge an interviewer’s reaction and use body language feedback to have a much more natural conversation. A candidate that responds and communicates well will thrive in the virtual space.
As with all types of interviews, the most important things are to prepare and relax. If you're being interviewed and your connection breaks, take a deep breath, apologise, and try to resume the interview as soon as possible.
Job interview statistics, Job Description Library, January 2022