Employers: Click Here for Advice on Hosting a Video Interview for Marketers!
At a time when professional mobility is near an all-time high, it’s increasingly common for ambitious marketers to consider career opportunities across the state, on the other side of the country, or even in another part of the world. In these cases, an in-person interview is often impractical, especially for preliminary introductions and discussions. Video interviews are quickly becoming the favored alternative to phone conversations for many HR departments and hiring managers.
A strong interview is a vital part of getting that next big marketing job you want, so it’s important to be completely prepared to do it in person, over the phone, and by video chat if necessary.
About 40% of businesses use or are preparing to integrate video interviews into their regular marketing recruitment process. So if you’re in job interview mode, or think you will be soon, here are some tips marketers at any level can use to get yourself ready:
Getting Ready Before the Interview
If you’re interviewing from home, you might be tempted to skip a shower or interview in the comfort of your sweatpants. Resist the temptation, and instead get yourself ready like you would for an in-person interview or similar occasion. This will help you adopt a professional mindset and get you looking your best. The unfortunate truth is that most people already don’t look great on camera–you want to avoid anything that could make it worse.
Related Reading: The Keys to Interviewing for a High Level Digital Marketing Position
Feel free to have a few notes prepared, along with your resume, portfolio and any other documents you may want to discuss or present. But take care not to have a pile of papers visible on camera in front of you, and make sure not to look at them too frequently. You don’t want your marketing and advertising recruiters to think you’re reading from a “cheatsheet.”
If you have kids or pets, shepherd them out of earshot for the duration of the interview. Be sure to unplug or silence your landline, shut down your cell phone, and turn off noisy appliances and other distractions
Acing the Video Interview
From a practical standpoint, you’ll still want to mentally prepare yourself for this video conversation much in the same way you would for any other interview. Here’s what we recommend for marketing jobs:
- How to Prepare for a Marketing Interview
- How to Set Yourself Above the Competition in Interviews for a Senior Marketing Role
- Questions Candidates Should Ask During a Marketing Job Interview
For a normal in-person interview, it’s standard to arrive around 15 minutes early. Don’t do that for your video interview; call in on the video conference right at the scheduled time and introduce yourself.
If the video equipment is making you a little uneasy; that’s fine. You can even mention that to break the ice and get a conversation going; it’s likely your interviewers aren’t very experienced with it, either.
During the discussion, look at the camera lens both when listening and speaking. Avoid the temptation to stare at the video image of your interviewer and in particular, don’t spend time looking at your own image. This will break perceived eye contact and make you look distracted.
Etiquette for Ending a Video Interview
Without the normal visual cues like a farewell process or exchanging of handshakes, finishing up a video interview can be somewhat awkward.
If it helps, think about wrapping things up much like you might a formal phone call. And always be sure to thank your interviewer for their time.
One advantage of video conferencing over traditional interviews is that is offers you the unique ability to follow up with someone immediately after the interview; after all, you’re already sitting right there at your computer. Consider doing so, especially if you promised to forward them additional information or documents afterwards. This opportunity to be particularly responsive and speedy can help you stand out to hiring managers and marketing/advertising recruiters.
Get the Right Equipment and Software
Many mobile devices and laptops now come with built-in cameras and microphones. But their quality doesn’t always match the importance of the occasion. Make sure your hardware will be able to convey the image and audio you want to represent yourself with.
If your testing indicates that the built-in equipment isn’t up to par, there are plenty of affordable webcams and external microphones that have become widely available and provide a reasonable quality. Find something that suits your situation and test it extensively beforehand to familiarize yourself with the devices and make sure everything works together properly.
Set up in a well-lit room, and situate yourself so you’re not in front of a window or similar light source that will cause glares or darken your profile in shadow. If needed, gather lamps or other light sources that will help illuminate your profile.
Work with the individual setting up your video interview to ensure you have the right video chatting software at the ready. Popular choices include Skype and Google Hangouts, but some organizations may prefer something else.
Set up a professional account on the designated service, and consider setting up a backup account on an alternative in case any parties have technical difficulties. Be careful not to attach it to any unprofessional personal information, like an inappropriate account name, email, photo or personal social media account. Test the service to familiarize yourself with the interface and ensure it works properly with your equipment.
Put it through the Paces
Take your setup through a full test drive. Ideally, practice video conferencing with someone else’s computer, so you can see how you look and sound on someone else’s screen. Make sure the camera angle frames your head and doesn’t take an unflattering perspective.
The trick is to come off as natural, comfortable and organic on camera, not overly amateurish or overly rehearsed.
What we are seeing more and more is video interviews replacing phone interviews and the reality is it’s a better medium for interview, much better. What we find is most candidates are not used to doing video interviews and so the process because it’s new leads itself to mistakes and you don’t want to make a mistake when that opportunity is really important to you.
The first and most common mistake is people look at the person on the screen which is probably not where their camera is on their computer and so if you’re looking at the person on the screen they may be getting a side of your head if your camera is somewhere else relative to where you are and normally the camera is higher or lower than the other person and so they may be getting your face at a very awkward angle so make sure you’re checking out how your camera shows you and that you’re comfortable with that ahead of when you get on the video interview.
And then the other thing that can be very distracting from the video interviewing perspective is any outside noise and your cell phone, your office phone, whatever could be coming in that you want to keep out because that’s more of an open mike environment you’re going to pick up more background noise than you would if you were on a cell phone.
And the other thing is if you have gone through and prepared for the interview properly and you have a whole bunch of notes written out you don’t want to have those in front of you when you’re doing the video interview because you don’t want to be looking at them and you don’t want to be reading from them, so make sure those are tucked far away.