Tag Archives: Video Interviews

6 tips for a successful video interview

While some employers are conducting in-person interviews, many of them are still using video interviews—Zoom, Skype, WebEx, MS Teams, Facetime, etc.—to fill positions. Video interviews have become more of the norm because they’re more convenient for employers and job candidates.

Job candidates might prefer in-person interviews over video because they’re more personal—they can see where they’ll be working, might be introduced to their potential colleagues, and they can gauge the commute. There are many benefits to in-person interviews, but video is here to stay, at least for awhile.

Loren Greiff (rhymes with “Life”) and I had a conversation about six tips we’d give job candidates about video interviews. Loren is more than qualified to talk on this topic; she’s been in the position of hiring candidates as a director of marketing and a recruiter, among other roles, and now runs a coaching business focusing primarily on marketing executives.

We talked about three phases of the interview: before, in-the-moment, and after the event.

1. Research for the interview (Loren)

If ever there was a time to turn into a stalker it would be when researching prior to your interview. Like a bloodhound, you want to stay on scent, following the clues that lead to information that goes beyond the surface. Set up Google Alerts to open up the flow of real time data.

Nothing says you’re on top of it more than when you offer congratulations for a recent win, recognition for a new product launch, or acknowledge a corporate announcement during your interview.

Scour online resources like LinkedIn, the company’s blog, press releases, and corporate About Section. But also dig further. Owler.com is great for grabbing the size & revenue of the organization & it’s competitors. Check out Crunchbase.com for more entrepreneurial companies. Theorg.com, depending on the company, gives you org charts. Don’t forget YouTube to find out if the CEO or other leaders have videos or have been a past podcast guest.

Keeping track and using verbiage relevant to your role and experience are great winning strategies. If it’s a public company review their filings at sec.gov. And absolutely work your magic to get on some calls with your connections so you’re not wholly reliant on Glassdoor or Fishbowl.

2. Get mentally prepared (Loren)

When it comes to being mentally prepared, there are 5 key things to keep in mind during your interview.

1. Remember you’ve already done the heavy lifting (practicing and researching). Show up strong and end strong. That’s what people remember—the beginning and at the end and it’s called the recency effect, easy to visualize as the upwards arc of a smile.

2. Clean Space = Clear Mind. Setting up a clean and clutter free space and background helps eases the noise within. If you want to go for a virtual background, opt for something professional vs. a beach setting or outer space. You want the focus to be on you and what you’re sharing.

3. Pace your pace. You don’t want to put anyone to sleep or rattle on, so getting it just right matters. The ideal speed is about 115 words per min. (to find out what your pace is you can use a speech-to-text converter like IBM’s Watson). A steady pace allows you to connect with your interviewer and oozes confidence despite the butterflies inside.

4. Eye contact & body language. No matter what comes out of your mouth your eye contact and body language will be doing most of the talking. Look at the camera not yourself on your screen.

Eye contact builds trust and nearly 80% of all candidates don’t do this. You can turn off the video mirroring feature too and remove temptations. When you want to bring something big to life, don’t shy away from hand gestures especially those that draw closer to the heart when speaking about yourself more personally.

5. Review the job description, have it handy with your notes & PAR’s (problem, action, results) well rehearsed.

3. Mind your first impressions (Bob)

In a webinar I lead, I talk about the importance of enthusiasm, confidence, and preparedness. These are three characteristics interviewers are looking for in your answers and body language.

We normally think of the content of our answers as the most important component of the interview, and it is. But we can’t disregard body language because it plays such a huge role in communicating with others.

Consider enthusiasm, for example. Your facial expressions and body language tell the interviewer that you’re excited about the role at hand and working for the company. Loren makes an excellent point about hand gestures; don’t be afraid to emphasize your points.

Lack of enthusiasm gives the opposite message; you’re a little bit excited about the opportunity but not ecstatic. This is akin to asking someone over for dinner and the person saying, “Yeah, I guess so.” You wouldn’t take this as a good sign, would you.

Expressing confidence is also important, as it tells the interviewer that you’ll be confident in the role. The employer want assurance that you’ll do a standup job for their customers and employees.

Regardless of your mental state, you’ll feel more confident during the interview because you’ve prepared by researching the role, company, and the interviewer/s (familiarity breeds confidence).

4. Answer the tough interview questions with the PAR formula (Bob)

The questions I see people struggle with the most are behavioral-based ones. They’re more like directives that begin with, “Tell me about a time….” or “Give me an example of when….” Even the higher-level job seekers struggle with these type of questions because they’re not prepared for them.

The clients who are unprepared for these questions when I mock interview them tend to avoid the specifics of the problem they faced at work, their actions to solve the problem, and the result or results from their actions.

Instead, they start by saying, “This is what I’d do,” answering the question in a theatrical manner. I put on the brakes and say, “Stop! I want a specific example.” Let’s say the questions is “Tell me about a time when you trained your colleagues.” I expect to hear something like:

Problem: The company wanted to move from our antiquated CRM system to Salesforce.

Actions: I volunteered to train my colleagues in sales on how to use Salesforce.

After the software was implemented, I researched how to use it. I spent many hours watching training programs like Udemy for new users.

The company also sent me to hands on training.

I began to conduct group training sessions which were helpful, but I also found that some of my colleagues needed more individual training.

Result: With group and individual training my colleagues learned Salesforce to the point where they occasionally asked me questions. I estimate that I saved the company thousands of dollars.

5. Ask the interviewers questions at the end of the interview (Loren)

We both agree that the questions job candidates ask can be as important as the ones they give during the interview. Loren sees the questions candidates ask in three categories, Impact, Relevancy, and Culture.

For Impact the candidates can ask, “A year from now we’re celebrating. What will that be for and how will this impact you, the team and the company?” Or “How will you know you’ve made the right hiring decision 60 days from now?”

For relevancy, “With social distancing and remote work, what tools or practices has the company implemented to continue communication, collaboration, and support employees?”

For culture, “What do you like most about working at XYZ, and if you had one thing that had to change you wish it was?”

There are other questions candidates can ask, but these are some of my favorites, and you only have so much time at the end of the interview. Come prepared with other questions written down just in case the interviewers want to hear more (a good sign).

6. It’s not over until you follow up (Loren)

No matter what, don’t approach your thank-you note as if it’s an afterthought or another to-do item to check off the list. Thank-you notes (and yes it’s perfectly fine to send an email) are one of the best times to rack up extra points.

I remind clients that just because the interview is over, it doesn’t mean the decision has been made. I am a huge fan of including an embedded video (using either Loom or Dubb) as a way to set yourself apart to personalize your appreciation, express your interest, and reiterate why you’re the one.

But whether it’s an email, with or without video, keep it impactful and short. If they had let you know in the interview when they would get back to you—let them know you’ll reach out to them around that time. You want to be proactive but never a pest. Your best bet is to wait 5 days in between follow ups.

And, when you do follow up, don’t just make it about you and what you want. Add in a PS. something that’s about them. This is a surprisingly effective—in fact 90% of readers read the PS before the letter


Video interviews will most likely be around for a while. They’ve proven to be convenient and, in some employers minds, safer than in-person interviews. However, they present a challenge for many job candidates in the way they present themselves, as well as the way they answers the interviewers’ questions.

If you follow the tips Loren and I provide, you will do fine. Remember: research before the interview; get mentally prepared; research the position, company, and interviewers; answer the tough questions; ask intelligent questions when asked; and follow up in a timely and impactful manner.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Job-search clubs going from in-person to meeting online with Zoom

As a career strategist at MassHire Lowell Career Center, I lead a job club for our clients. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, we met in-person in a large room. At these meetings, there would be anywhere between 10 and 20 people.

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We didn’t meet in person often—only every second and fourth Tuesday of the month—but our clients enjoyed the opportunity to get out of their house and share the news of their job search or participate in a mock interview.

The mock interviews were a key activity of the job club meetings—sitting in the hot seat and being interviewed by me or another member of the group while being filmed with a digital camera. The rest of the participants provided feedback at the conclusion of the interview on the interviewee’s answers.

Times have changed

Now, all of the in-person meetings have been thrown out the window. We’re confined to our homes, only allowed to venture out for groceries, gas (who needs it, though?) takeout food, and exercise. Life has changed rapidly.

To pile insult upon insult, we’ve experienced the worst number of unemployment of all time. Our labor market is truly in a crisis. Hopefully a two-trillion-dollar relief fund will help the new and currently unemployed. But the future is unpredictable for everyone.

For the unforeseeable future job seekers can’t network in-person. They can’t share ideas on how to better search for jobs, talk about potential opportunities. tout their happy landings. So, what can job seekers do?

Go to virtual communication

The only solution to continue networking, even meet for social reasons, is to go online. The phone is another option, of course, but it’s not as intimate as using platforms like Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, and others. (Employers have resorted to interviewing candidates online.)

The job club I lead, since the pandemic has forced us to practice social distancing, has had two meetings via Zoom so far. We haven’t let the pandemic phase us. The first meeting garnered 15 members, the second 19. There are 21 members in the group.

The first Zoom meeting was all about job-search talk. I would normally insert my advice in the past, but I wanted the group to simply touch base. It wasn’t as rewarding as meeting in-person. But it was the best we could do.

The second meeting was our Zoom mock interview. I had one member interview another member. The logistics were not hard. There was no need to make one of them a presenter and the other a guest. Zoom makes it extremely easy to facilitate mock interviews.

After the mock interview, the other members provided sage advice to the interviewee. I inserted my opinions as well, but I wanted the group to be more self-sufficient. Besides, many of the members have had far more experience interviewing candidates than I have.

Of course I recorded the event. The interviewee gladly allowed me to share the recording with the members. She said it was a learning opportunity for everyone.

Although the mock interview was but an exercise, it still demonstrated to the other 17 members what it’s like to be interviewed online. A few of the members have experienced video interviews. For the majority of them, however, this was a new experience.

I ended the meeting encouraging the group to form smaller buddy groups. I want them to reach out to each other without having to attend a formal job club event. As job seekers, they need to be self-sufficient. Already some of our members have contacted me asking with whom they should connect.


To use a cliche, online job club meetings are becoming the new normal for our members. Given the positive acceptance thus far, I’ve considered increasing the job club meetings every week if only to get these job-searching warriors together.

If you lead a job club at your career center, consider doing it online. Don’t let the momentum die because you can’t meet in person for the time being. Of all the platforms, I highly suggest Zooom.

7 tools employers are using to hire job candidates

Many of the high-level job seekers I encounter at an urban career center for which I work haven’t had to look for a job in 10, 20, 30 years, or more. For them, their advanced job search might feel like landing on Mars, as the job-search terrain has drastically changed. If you’re in this boat, this post will help you understand what you’ll encounter as you go forward.

Hands on Keyboard

Even if it’s been five years since you’ve had to look for work, you might not be aware of all the tools employers are using to find the best candidates. Employers are being more creative with their hiring efforts, while making it more difficult for job seekers to land a job. Let’s begin with the first and most well-known tool.

1. The applicant tracking system (ATS)

The ATS is one tool of an advanced job search that has many job seekers scratching their heads. When I describe it to my clients, most of them haven’t heard about this software which companies use to make life bearable for their HR staff and corporate recruiters. The bottom line is that the ATS eliminates approximately 75% of résumés that must be read for each job.

However, it’s a different matter for you. If you’re applying online for jobs where an ATS is used by companies, your résumé must have the required keywords, e.g., skills, job title, and even predicted skills to have it read by human eyes. Failure to include the required keywords on your résumé will most likely result in your résumé stored in the company’s database containing thousands of résumés that have been rejected.

Jon Shields of Jobscan.co makes it his business to know about the ATS. There are hundreds of ATSs out there. He claims 98% of large companies use an ATS. It’s also estimated that close to 65% of midsize companies employ one. Even smaller companies will outsource this technology.

2. LinkedIn’s mobile app continues to grow in popularity

LinkedIn is the go-to platform for recruiters. To engage in the advanced job search, you must realize that using only your desktop is not enough. You also need to install the LinkedIn app on your smart phone and access its features. Although the app’s features aren’t as robust as the desktop’s, they’re good enough to help you with your job search.

You can develop and nurture your network, access recruiters through Messaging, brand yourself with a video feature (not available on the desktop), and apply for jobs with LinkedIn’s separate Jobs app. You can do all of this practically anywhere in the world, even while you’re on vacation.

3. Live video interviews

Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, even Facetime have been a staple of the advanced job search. They’ve been a larger part of the hiring process, as they preclude the need for candidates to come to the company, thus saving time and money. However, these applications can cause some challenges for you if you’re not familiar with the technology.

Saving time and money are not the only reason employers conduct online interviews; they want to see you. Yes, they want to see your facial expressions and body language, and perhaps your age.

On your end of an online interview, you need to make sure you’ve covered all the technical requirements (proper lighting, clear sound, and tasteful background). Believe it or not, these technical requirements can be challenging for job seekers who don’t have the proper space for video interviews.

4. Pre-recorded video interviews

These are like live video interviews, save for the fact that you don’t see anyone on your computer screen. Instead, you’re looking at a screen that has questions written on it. Your answers to these questions will be timed and recorded. The final step is sending your recording to the employer.

Like an online interview, make sure you have the technical requirements covered and that you’re looking directly at the webcam to make it appear that you’re making eye contact with the people who aren’t there. That’s right; there’s no engagement required from the employer. They will simply gather your recorded answer and review them at their leisure.

5. Online pre-employment software

Hire Vue describes pre-employment software as: “… any tool or method used to evaluate job candidates with consistency. They range from hard skills tests (such as typing and math skills tests) to ‘softer’ tests, like personality batteries.” Many companies believe these tools are an accurate way to narrow the candidate pool.

Online evaluations get even more interesting. My valued connection, Mark Anthony Dyson, writes in his post on 14 Easy Modern Job Search Tips: ” With the arrival of AI, some companies are even implementing facial recognition technology to read candidates’ body language. Don’t get caught off guard by any of those cutting-edge technologies.”

6. Now it’s about your voice and image

If you’re comfortable with video, you’re in luck. Recruiters are looking at FaceTime Live and LinkedIn video features to assess candidates’ personality and technical abilities, both in the quality of your video and how you sell yourself. This advanced job-search tool isn’t a requirement for every occupation.

For example, if you’re a digital marketer and you produce a video that has multiple camera angles, effective lighting with a little music thrown in, and you let your personality shine; your video will impress the most critical hiring authorities. However, if you produce a poor-quality video, it may hurt your chances, rather than help.

7. It’s not only our kids who text

Recruiters are texting job candidates because of its convenience. Forget formalities. If they want your résumé “yesterday,” don’t be surprised to receive a text saying, “John from Company X wants to see your résumé today. Can you get it to me in an hour?”

Imagine you’re on vacation in Maine and away from your computer, but luck would have it that you’ve stored your résumé on your phone in Dropbox, Google Drive, or your iPhone Cloud. No problem just return it in a text. LinkedIn reports that employers and employees alike are using text, so get on board.

Sarah Johnson was a corporate recruiter. She explains: “When I was recruiting, my last hospital found that busy professionals were MORE likely to respond to a text vs. a phone call or email. I used TextRecruit to help me source for a few hard to fill physician specialties….”


These seven tools of an advanced job search that are not too difficult to take on. But you may have to take a few practice runs before you, for instance, send your video to recruiters. They may seem like a hindrance, but keep in mind that the job search has changed to make it easier and less costly for employers. It’s time to get with the program. You can do it.

This post originally appeared in Job-Hunt.org

 

5 pre-interview tools employers use to screen candidates

You’re probably aware of the order in which employers attempt to fill a position. First, they consider their own employees; second, ask for referrals from their employees; third, seek referrals from trusted people outside the company; fourth, hire recruiters; and lastly, advertising the position. Or they use a combination of all of these.

pre-employment test

There are many reasons why employers prefer not advertising an open position, including the cost to advertise, having to deal with a deluge of résumés, and interviewing people they don’t know.

In many cases advertising their position/s is unavoidable because all other methods of filling them have failed. Thus, they resort to tools to make sure they get the most qualified people entering their doors. You need to be aware of these tools.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS)

This is the beginning of the hiring process from the candidates’ experience. The ATS eliminates approximately 75 percent of the applicants for a single job. It is a godsend for recruiters and HR, who are overburdened with résumés to read.

To be among the 25 percent that pass the ATS, you’ll have to write a résumé that is keyword rich. Unfortunately many candidates don’t know about the ATS and don’t optimize their résumés. I’m astounded by the number of people who come through our career center unaware of the ATS.

Your best bet is to write keyword-rich résumés that are tailored to each job. Instead of using the spray-and-pray approach, be more focused on positions that are a fit and dissect job descriptions to identify the most important skills and experience required.

Jon Shields of www.jobscan.co explains the ATS in great detail in this post.

Pre-employment aptitude and personality tests

Employers have come to rely on aptitude and personality tests that can determine the candidates who’ll advance in the hiring process. Some employers will swear by them, believing that the software can do a better job of screening individuals than their own HR and recruiter.

Employers use pre-employment tests because they are objective and fair across the board—each candidate answers the same questions—and they’re a good indicator of job-related skills. These tests also measure character traits like integrity, cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, etc.

Where these tests fail is measuring candidates’ motivation to learn job-related skills. This means if you aren’t completely proficient in a certain CRM software, for example, your ability to learn quickly isn’t factored in.

These tests can also encourage dishonesty. For example, you might get the sense that the test encourages outgoing, extraverted types; but you’re preference is for an individualistic work setting. Ergo, your answers won’t truly reflect your personality.

This article talks about the most common types of pre-employment tests.

Telephone Interviews

Hardly new, the telephone interview is typically the first type of interview you will encounter to get to the face-to-face interview. The interviewer has two main objectives: getting your salary requirement and determining if you have the job-related skills to do the job.

However, you need to expect not only the aforementioned questions, but more difficult questions, such as situational and behavioral-based. Telephone interviews have also become more numerous. It’s not uncommon for someone to participate in three or more telephone interviews.

LinkedIn’s report, Global Recruiting Trends 2018, states that telephone interviews are considered the least favorable out of the structured interview. This is probably due to the fact that phone interviews are conducted by agency recruiters who may know little about the job requirements and desired fit; thus producing less qualified candidates.

Skype interviews

Skype interviews are common these days. Employers use them to save time and, ultimately, money. As well, interviewers get to see your facial expressions and body language. They are akin to face-to-face interviews, save for the fact that candidates aren’t invited to the company. This means candidates must nail the following areas:

  1. Stellar content and demonstrated enthusiasm through your answers and body language.
  2. Professional attire. Dress as though you’re going to a face-to-face interview.
  3. All the mechanics are in check, such as lighting, sound, and background.
  4. Look at the webcam, not at the interviewer/s. Looking at them will make it seem like you’re not making eye contact.

Skype interviews may, in fact, be the final interview, which makes it even more dire for job candidates to be prepared for them. This is particularly true if interviewers are situated all over the world.

Don’t be surprised if an employer wants to conduct a Skype interview with you. One of the areas I didn’t mention is learning how to set up a Skype account. My efforts in setting up mine was frustrating, as I had a hard time figuring out how to access the free version.

Video interviews

Skype interviews can not only be challenging for candidates, they can also be time consuming for the employer, as it requires them to participate. Video interviews, on the other hand, don’t require employer participation, until the interviews are watched and graded.

Job candidates are given a number of questions to answer and are timed during the session. At no point do they see the interviewer/s, unlike a Skype interview. My clients who have participated in video interviews say it’s like talking to a wall.

This might be a bit unnerving, but don’t let it rattle you. Have you ever answered interview questions while looking in the mirror? Think of it this way and you’ll be fine. One more thing, look at your computer’s webcam while answering the questions, just as you would for a Skype interview.

Matthew Kosinski from www.recruiter.com. rates the top five video interview platforms in this post.


There you have it: 5 tools employers use to determine who to invite for a face-to-face interview. No method of hiring the right person is flawless, but employers feel like they’re making strives to accomplish landing the best candidate. It is up to you to do well in every aspect of the process.