Q: I’ve been called for a job interview in a fortnight’s time. But this is not any ordinary interview: I’m being interviewed by a camera. Yes, it will be recorded, and then judged by someone else and I will then learn my fate. The process is devoid of human interaction. How cold! I’m spooked. Ease my worries, if you can. (DF, email).
A: Welcome to one version of the future. Recorded interviews were in place before the pandemic, but, as you can appreciate, they have gone to a whole other level now. Primarily they are used by companies to shorten a long list of candidates and are almost certain to be followed up by interviews with actual, real-life, flesh-and-bone humans, if you get past this screening stage.
In some cases, what you record will be evaluated by a person. However, some companies use artificial intelligence at this stage of the process. Thus, recorded interviews are a close relation of applicant tracking systems used to find selected keywords in CVs and application forms.
How does one approach an interview of this type? Perhaps surprisingly, our advice would be to approach it in much the same way that you would approach any interview. The company are using this technology because they have faith in its ability to help them shortlist candidates. Think what they would be looking for in a traditional interview and deliver that to the screen.
Your preparation, as always, will be crucial: what attributes are they are looking for and what experience will they value in the successful candidate?
Some simple tips to bear in mind:
- Check the technology. Is the lighting on your face correct? Is the sound working well? Are you fully visible? We are all familiar with people appearing on Zoom meetings with half their face missing. These are simple fixes that you really must get right.
- If the broadband is bad where you are, relocate to somewhere else. It won’t miraculously improve just because you’re doing a recorded interview.
- Because this is such an impersonal way of interviewing, work hard to bring your personality into it. Be warm, smile and show enthusiasm.
- Do dry runs. These days, everybody is comfortable recording things on their phones or laptops. Put yourself through your paces and see how you look and sound. Warning: you may hate the sound of your own voice. Most people do. When listening to your own voice on a recording, you’re hearing this differently to how you hear it in everyday life because it is no longer distorted by travelling through your skull. More on this phenomenon here: bitly/sound-ear.
- If they’ve given you time limits, prepare with those in mind. In my experience, few people are able to get this right without practice.
- Check your backdrop. Can you use a virtual one? Can you sit in a better part of your house? And, harking back to No. 1 above, put light sources in front of you not behind you. Ideally the light source should just be behind the camera. That way it will shine on your face.
- Avoid the temptation to put scripted answers all around you. However, a few concise post-it notes in your eyeline might be useful.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
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