June 15, 2020 5 min read

Let’s be clear: a video interview isn’t as scary as it seems. Just think of sweet Dorothy of Kansas who was petrified to speak to the great and terrible Oz. Thanks to Toto’s curtain pulling, it turns out that Oz wasn’t as terrifying as he first appeared. For years, video interviewing has been surrounded by speculation and weariness. That’s right, years. It’s been around for some time, and one thing is for certain: it’s here to stay in today’s new world.

Whether you call it a video interview, a digital interview, or an asynchronous video interview, Kimberley Black, founder of INTRObyVIDEO and currently completing a Master of Arts degree at Ontario Tech University, has the answers to all your questions. There’s no one better to walk you through how they work – after all, her Master of Arts degree research focuses on developing communication skills through video and will become the standard for the future. Did we also mention she’s used asynchronous video interviews before to land a job?

The Basics of Video Interviews

Young woman in office staring at computer screen.

You might be hesitant to get on board with the new norm that is video interviewing. Isn’t interviewing stressful enough? Why fix something that isn’t broken? Let us enlighten you by explaining where video interviews got their start. Simply put, it was a means for employers to screen many, and we mean many, applicants quickly and with ease. You know the competition is tough when applying to a job. Imagine the other end from the employer side: all those applications are a literal paper mountain to get through. But with the beauty of technology, it’s now easier to cut through and get to your main candidates. Video interviewing, and asynchronous video interviews, skip the tedious flipping of resume pages and get you in the hot seat to show you’re ready to be taken seriously.

Let’s break down some terminology. Video interviewing is the general blanket for all things video, no matter the platform. (Think Zoom, WebEx, the list goes on.) Kimberley describes asynchronous videos as pre-recorded snippets of you answering some prepped questions from that employer. Whether it’s pre-recorded or live, it’s all about you sitting in front of that screen.

So let me ask you. Are you excited about this? Or are you now really anxious? What would you think about a [video] interview request?
—Kimberley Black

The important thing is to not become too nervous during this stage. Approach it exactly like the first interview with some extra steps. Do all the things you would regularly do when getting ready for an interview, and if you’re unsure what those things are, then check out the plethora of videos right here on CMA NXT. There are helpful interview videos as far as the eye can see and it’s all in one spot for you to access. (We recommend Steve & Sheldon’s Video Resume series “How to Get Creative With Your video Resume to Help You Stand Out and Get Hired”. Why not dive off the deep end in all things videos?)

Once you’re done with that, or if you’re an interviewee Rockstar, add these simple video interview steps:

  1. Dress to Impress.
    It doesn’t matter that they won’t see you from the waist down. Your interview outfit is like donning a suit of armor. Be ready for whatever question they throw at you.
  2. Check Your Internet Connection!
    If you’re doing an asynchronous video interview, then you won’t have to worry about your internet connection. (Pre-recorded bliss!) For those real-time video interviews, this step is just for peace of mind. We love technology as much as the next person, but sometimes, it has its bad days too.
  3. Ready for Your Closeup?
    Play around with your appointed camera. Make sure it has a nice clean shot of you, and there are no lightning issues.

Video interviewing is only going to get better and better with new technological advances. That incredible evolution speed is what makes the impossible, like Netflix party mode, possible. Whether you’re a tech novice or a pro, video interviewing will become as easy as clicking a button.

It’s Not What You Said, It’s How You Said It

When you’re being interviewed, it’s all about your communication skills. It’s how you effectively say something with the right tone and accuracy that’ll make the person sitting across from you say, “Yes, couldn’t have said it better myself!” With both video interviewing and asynchronous video interviews, communication is more important than ever because that physical body language aspect is absent. Add in the corresponding fear factor: a blip in a pre-recorded clip you’ve just in, or messing up live in action - it’s enough to give you the sweats. There’s no blooper reel option in video interviewing. So Kimberley suggests that you practice some self-assessment using video itself. Get your camera ready, press record, and practice your answers for yourself.

It’ll take some time to get used to seeing yourself on the screen, but here’s the good news: that awkwardness will melt away to a confident and polished interviewee, aka you! By pre-recording your responses, and analyzing them, you’re going to be able to see where you can make improvements. This method has a proven track record across many industries: medicine, social work, hospitality, and business programs. Remember this classic movie cliché? A video montage of the scientist running tests to see what he does to improve for next time. It’s the same basic principle, just different genres.

Sharing Is Caring

Don’t think you’re through just yet. Kimberley challenges you to try peer assessment to level up in your video interviewing game. What exactly is peer assessment? That’s right: it’s sharing your pre-recorded practice runs with some friends, colleagues, or anyone you know who will give you some constructive feedback. There might be a little intimidation factor with video self-reflection but it has actually been shown to increase confidence.We know this sounds intimidating, but there are so many cool benefits to peer assessment.

Kimberley calls them the six ‘C’s of communication and goes into detail with her video on CMA NXT. It comes down to this though. If you are nervous about sending through your interview videos to someone else, that’s a red flag. Is it nerves or is it because your interview videos aren’t up to snuff? Knowing someone is going to review your work will push you to create content that you can be proud to put your name on. In turn, the feedback you get from your watcher will only serve to tweak those details you might have missed. Plus, when it’s their turn to get some feedback, you’ll be right there and ready to help finetune their stuff.

Then & Now

We know that video interviewing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It may seem distressing knowing that this will become the norm for the next little while, but we’re here to say that with any new change, comes a silver lining. Becoming comfortable with video interviewing will only benefit you for the future. Those nerves that Kimberley mentioned earlier? Well, with more video interviews under your belt, the less those nerves will get to you. So, embrace the video interview for what it is: your shot to get that dream job.

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