Video interviews are becoming increasingly commonplace. As hiring has become more global, both for employers and candidates, video interviewing is a way to expedite the interview process.
“Hiring managers and recruiters can conduct first-round interviews more quickly, save on transportation costs, and make the process much faster by using video conferencing rather than scheduling in-person interviews,” said Chen Changqing, HR director at Lego Co Ltd in Shanghai.
Companies hiring at all levels, from entry-level staff to experienced professionals, are comfortable using new technology. Video interviewing is now nearly a standard step in online recruitment.
For job seekers, however, the experience can be a bit intimidating. “It’s hard enough doing face-to-face interviews, let alone sitting in front of a camera and microphone,” said Tang Yilei, 22, a senior majoring in law at Fudan University.
“It’s a scary proposition, even for those of us who are familiar with online video chatting. One time I was so nervous that I didn’t know where to put my hands.”
So, how should you behave during a video interview? Chen said that candidates should prepare for their video interview just like they would for any other job interview.
Sometimes you may be interviewed in a professional environment, rather than through the webcam attached to your home computer. This could be either at a recruiter’s office, or with a company that provides video conferencing services.
“You should arrive early so that you have time to make yourself comfortable. Ask for assistance if you’re not sure about how to use the equipment,” said Li Ling, an HR manager at Walmart (China) Investment Co Ltd in Shenzhen.
“Even if you can figure it out, it’s better to ask for a quick overview.”
It’s important that you dress as you would for an in-person interview. Zou Xiafei, 26, made a mistake when she applied for a sales position in a Beijing trade company in June. “For the video interview in Shenzhen I wore a suit jacket, a dress shirt, and a tie, presuming that only my top half would be visible,” she said.
“But when I stood up, the interviewer had a full view of the jeans I was wearing. I was really embarrassed.”
Besides tidying up your appearance, make sure your table is neat, too. Remember that a microphone picks up all the sounds in a room, so don’t tap your pen or shuffle papers.
“It’s better to make eye contact with the webcam. If you just look at the screen, the camera will focus on the top of your head, which makes you look weird,” said Hao Jian, a senior human resource consultant at Zhaopin.com.
According to Hao, everyone is nervous during a video interview. “Just remember to smile, answer the questions as best you can, and be your awesome self,” he said.