Smile! Your Guide to a Successful video Interview


Your Guide to a Successful Video Interview 

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Prepare for Success

Baird uses Montage for video and voice interviewing. In this guide, we'd like to help you approach the video interviewing process with strength and confidence. Keep reading to learn how to video interview successfully.

Here are the topics we'll be covering today:

You’re In Good Hands

This how-to guide is written especially for you: the candidate who will be using video interviewing technology to win that job. But what makes us experts? We are Montage, a video interviewing and voice interviewing technology solution that was built from the ground up for hiring.

Candidates have interviewed over a million times using our software.  We know what gives them trouble and what helps them use our technology to their best advantage. 98% agree that it's easy to use. Stick with us, and we'll help you learn how to video interview successfully.

98% of job candidates agree that Montage’s technology for video interviewing is easy to use. 


Different Types of Technology-Driven Interviewing, Defined

There are different terms to know within digital interviewing and video interviewing. The following types of interviews are ones you may encounter from Baird:

  • On-demand video interviewing: You are invited to participate in a recorded video interview which you can complete on your own schedule. You'll have prompts, usually written or recorded by the hiring manager, and you’ll have a chance to answer job-specific questions and upload supporting information, such as your resume. Many employers allow candidates to practice and re-record their answers. Most of the time, you can complete your on-demand video interview over the course of a day or two. Or, you can sit down once and complete it in about 30 minutes or less. 
  • Live video interviewing: You are invited to participate in a live interview at a specific time. This is the same as a traditional interview except you are face-to-face via video camera. There may be one interviewer or several, like a panel. Just as with traditional interviews, you should arrive early online, and be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your skills and accomplishments, and your career goals (see below for additional tips on prepping). You'll also want to have questions prepared to ask. These show the interviewer(s) that you researched the firm and that you're excited about the role. Ultimately, these questions help you decide if this company is right for you, as well.
  • On-demand voice interviewing: You are invited to participate in a recorded interview by telephone, which you can complete on your own schedule, with no video involved. Follow the prompts when you are ready, providing a phone number. In an instant, your phone will ring, and the recorded voice will ask you job-specific questions. Typically, there will be between ten and fifteen questions and you can complete the voice interview in 20-25 minutes.  

How to Look Good on Camera

Baird-Employee-OwnedFirst things first: the easy how-to guide. As they say, some things are as simple as A-B-C. Here are the few things you need to know to make a professional impression during your video interview:

A is for ANGLE.  Placing your webcam well is one of the most important contributors to your professional look on camera. Most webcams are either built into the computer or are connected via USB cable. USB webcams are designed to either attach to a monitor/laptop or be placed on a flat surface. In either case, the height of the webcam should be roughly eye level. Point the webcam down rather than pointing up under your chin for the best visual angle. Be sure it’s not too close to your face, or too far away: A head and shoulders shot is most appropriate.

B is for BRIGHTNESS. Ample lighting and good positioning of the light in the room is the most important element of a video interview. Position yourself so your light source comes from behind the webcam to shine on your face. Practice in the lighting that will be available for your interview and adjust it accordingly so you know exactly what the interviewer will see. B is also for BACKGROUND: Be conscious of a distracting background, such as a window or open door where there will be activity. If you’re interviewing via a mobile device, you must find a quiet space – you want the recruiter or hiring manager’s attention focused on you. 

C is for CLOTHING. Some types of apparel look better on camera than others. For example, solid colors are best (no patterns, as they can give the viewer a "dizzy" effect on camera). The clothing should not detract from you. Dress just as you would for an in-person interview so you make a professional impression. 

D is for DOGS, and Cats too: As cute and lovable as your pets are, it’s important to keep them out of the picture when you’re doing a live or on-demand video interview. The same is true for DIN: Any background noise from televisions, fans, people walking by on the street, etc. should be kept to a minimum. If using a microphone, move the microphone closer to your voice and away from competing sounds, like computer fans. Montage has an audio level check built into the technology to make sure your audio level is appropriate. Use it.

E is for ENERGY, Yours:  This interview could represent an important career step for you. Whether recording your responses on-demand or interviewing live, be ready, be prepared and be lively! Your body language and your temperament show through on video. Crossing your arms over your chest or wringing your hands will show that you are nervous and perhaps not fully sure you are a good fit for the role. Instead, place your hands quietly on the table or in your lap, lean slightly forward into the camera and make friendly eye-contact with your interviewers. All of these cues signal you are self-confident, and eager to learn about the role and the company.


Tips & Tricks for a Brilliant Interview

Baird-Deep-ExpertiseWith video interviewing, the impression you make is completely within your control. Here are a few ways to prepare:

  • Treat it like a traditional interview. Show your new potential employer you are serious about the job by preparing for a video interview with as much as care as you would a traditional interview: dress well, research questions for the interviewer about the company and position, and get your stories lined up to demonstrate your experience.

  • Be yourself. Be natural and acknowledge the camera, but treat it as if it is another person in the room with you. That includes eye contact, enthusiasm showing through with body language and other non-verbal communication, and more. That authentic, natural vibe shows you are comfortable and confident.

  • Move on from any mistakes. Chances are at some point in the interview, you’ll make a mistake. Small stumbles needn’t derail your entire video interview. So if you stumble, just pause, regroup, smile and keep on going. During an on-demand interview, you are recording answers to questions on your own time. Most of the time, the setting allows you to re-record an answer. Take advantage of this opportunity to get it right!

  • Consider the on-demand introduction a video version of your cover letter or elevator pitch. Before tackling the questions, you have a chance to introduce yourself. Keep it short but think about these things: thank the company for the opportunity, highlight specific skills or experiences that are relevant to the role, identify why you are a good fit, highlight what your resume doesn’t capture about you.

  • Write notes before recording.  Montage has an on-screen notepad where you can jot down a few points you want to cover before recording your response during your on-demand video interview. It enables direct eye contact with the webcam to help show confidence and great communication skills.

Practice Makes Perfect

  • Use the tech check. We recommend that you play with the Montage technology at least a day in advance for the first time. In addition, we recommend that you arrive 10 minutes early to the live interview room for a second technical check. That way, you can identify any webcam or audio issues and to make sure the interview runs smoothly. Montage provides 24/7 help if you have any issue whatsoever: you can email, chat or call them directly.
  • Use the re-record.  Depending on the job you are interviewing for, you may have a chance to re-record your answers to most if not all of the questions. 

If you’re still feeling a little camera-shy, ask a trusted friend to stand behind the camera and practice speaking to that person well in advance of your interview. After some practice, you’ll forget about the camera and be able to focus on getting your own unique message across to your interviewers.

Some Technology FAQs

Baird-Unique-CultureFinally, let’s get to some common concerns about using video interviewing technology. The good news is that you don’t have to guess, worry, or take your chances. You will know if your technology is working properly by testing it out well ahead of time. With many technology solutions, you can also request a technical check. Be sure to log in early to make sure everything looks, sounds, and behaves exactly as it should. 

  • What equipment/technology will I need for a video interview?

If you have a computer or laptop, tablet or smartphone purchased in the last five years, we’re quite sure your technology will be perfectly suited for a video interview. Any browser from Firefox to Chrome will work. If you have any worries, get on with the Montage support team. Their direct information is all over the communication you get from the employing company. 

  • What equipment/technology will I need for an on-demand voice interview?

A smartphone is best, but if you don’t have a smartphone then you will need a land line phone and a computer. The computer is only needed to enter your phone number. From there, you will use your telephone to listen to the questions and give answers.

  • How can I tell if my Internet connection is strong enough?

Can you play a video on YouTube? Then your Internet connectivity is most likely strong enough to use your browser or computer for video interviewing. Montage is built to work even when bandwidth is only so-so, because candidates do video interviews in all sorts of places and countries, on hotel networks, school networks and shared home networks with kids streaming Netflix! However, test it out beforehand to be certain that the video interviewing technology will work on your network - better safe than sorry.

  • What if I don’t have a webcam?

No webcam, no problem! Either use your mobile device or tablet, which likely has a built-in camera, or visit your local retailer. Even convenience stores sell webcams nowadays that can easily be attached to any computer.

  • Will I still need a telephone for the video interview?

Great question! The answer depends on how the recruiter sets up the video interview. The recruiter inviting you to the video interview will probably set up a separate phone line for you to dial into. This connects all the people together for the audio. Watch your instructions for a dial-in number and passcode. If you don’t see those instructions then it means you will use voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) to speak to each other through your computer or mobile device’s microphone. In this case, no phone is needed. Whether using a separate phone line or your computer, you might hear and be heard more clearly with headphones or earbuds.

  • How can I test the connection in advance?

The minute you are invited to a live video interview, the link is live and ready for you to check out the interview environment. It’s kind of like walking into the conference room and sitting in the chair before anyone else arrives, in order to get comfortable with the lay of the land. Peruse the materials this employer has made available through the link or email. There will generally be links and videos for you to consume. And, get into the interview to check your lighting and surroundings. Play around. Why not? It’s there for you. Similarly, when doing an on-demand video interview, you can click into the application and allow it to check your setup automatically. Then practice as much as you’d like to get comfortable on camera, testing your audio and video.

  • What if I can’t make it work?

Montage provides 24/7 candidate support for our product. The support information is in both the invitation email you received, as well as your employer's interviewing foyer (the browser that opens for the interview). Call or email us with any questions!

Some Final Words of Advice: SMILE!

Finally, whether completing an on-demand or live video interview, be sure to smile! Research shows that the act of smiling actually can reduce stress. And, you’ll find it easier to engage the people who one day soon may be your new colleagues. If you can embrace the opportunity presented to you by video interviewing, you will have no trouble landing your next new job.