video interview

Make a Great Impression in Your Video Interview

Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , , , , , |

Video interviews have become a standard practice with many companies and recruiters. In addition to telephone calls candidates need to be prepared to participate in pre-screen video interviews. Your video interview may take place right on your computer with a webcam, whether it is with a specialized service such as Vonei, or a video chat service such as Skype. Being interviewed in front of a webcam brings more importance to how you look, the background of your room, and what you are wearing. Unlike telephone screening calls, you shouldn’t look out the window, down at the floor, or anywhere other than the webcam. Here are tips on how to make a great impression in your video interview.

Preparation: Decide what you want the recruiter to get from your interview, and be prepared to succinctly discuss those points. It helps to write down talking points prior to an interview and practice what you will say. You can’t expect to have your best performance if you are not comfortable with talking into a webcam, so be sure to practice. You can video chat with a friend for their feedback, or you can record webcam practice sessions on your computer. Practice will not only improve your presentation, but it also is a good time to make sure your webcam is working properly, the audio quality is good, and your background image is professional. Find out which video chat service provider will be used by the recruiter. You may be able to sign up for a free account and practice with that service prior to the interview. As the saying goes, prior planning prevents poor results.

Environment: You want the recruiter to focus on you and what you are saying, not a vintage poster on the wall or a noise in the background. The background must be clean and professional. A plain wall, or a clean and organized bookcase/credenza will work great. It is best to be alone in a small, quiet room so the audio does not echo and there are no annoying background noises. No dogs in the room please! Lighting is critical for a good video image on a webcam. Good lighting should be on your face and never behind you. You may need to place a lamp on your desk by your webcam to achieve good lighting on your face. Practice with several lighting configurations until you are happy with the results.

Your Image: As with any interview you should always dress professionally. Remember that the webcam will only capture images waist up, so be sure you wear suitable interview clothing for the position. Try to avoid wearing striped or checked shirts as webcams and Internet connectivity may cause the lines to run together in the video. You want to avoid excessive movement as that can be detracting to the recruiter, so try to maintain a good position in front of the webcam and avoid looking away to notes. Be careful about your facial expressions, just as you would in an in-person interview. At the same time you don’t want to be “stiff”. Show some positive emotion and smile. Use small hand motions to express points, but keep them close to your side so it shows in the webcam view. Keep in mind that with a waist-up image, any motion will seem exaggerated, so even small gestures will be powerful in making a point.

Webcam: A quality webcam will make a big difference in how the recruiter sees you, so be sure to use a webcam that has at least 1.3Mp of image resolution. If you have a lower end webcam, or a low pixel built-in webcam on your laptop, consider getting a quality external webcam prior to your interview. The good news is quality webcams can be purchased online for as low as $20 USD. We’ve seen webcams that claim more than 2Mp resolution, but it isn’t worth the extra money as the video interviewing services and your Internet bandwidth will not be able to take advantage of the size of the images. Our experiences show that 1.3Mp provides great video quality. For audio you can use the built-in webcam mic, or use a headset with microphone. Be sure to practice with your equipment so you are comfortable with how it works, the quality, and how you look while using it. For additional tips see the article How To Improve Your Webcam Video Quality.

Recording: Our final tip is to consider that the video interview could be recorded, either by the recruiter or by you. The recruiter may record simply to pass along good candidates to the hiring company or hiring manager. You can use recordings for self improvement. You can view the recording at a later date and decide how you want to improve your next video interview. You can also share it with friends for critique. If you decide to record be sure to practice with the software in advance of the interview! The last thing you want to do is fiddle around with the recording software controls instead of talking with the recruiter. CamStudio has an easy-to-use, free screen recording tool that you may find helpful in recording your interview. A note of caution; it is a legal requirement to gain consent for recording conversations. Prior to choosing to record the interview you should gain the other party’s consent.

Best of luck on your video job interview! Please share your feedback with us on how these tips worked for you, and any other tips you would recommend.

For more information about Vonei LLC see www.vonei.com. For an online demo of the video interview service email us at info@vonei.com or call us toll free on 888-698-6634.

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Improving the Pre-Screen Process

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

With thousands of applicants applying to organizations with job opportunities, it is very important for the organization to efficiently process and schedule the applicants to pre-screen. If you have a low volume of open positions, the recruiter can simply go through applications and proactively schedule a pre-screen by contacting the candidates. However if you are an organization with many positions to fill, this can be a very time consuming and expensive task. Wouldn’t it be great if the applicants could pick an open appointment time to talk to one of your recruiting specialists? We just found a great tool for simplifying the process: www.checkappointments.com

CheckAppointments allows a firm or recruiter to specify job openings, available interviewers, and interview dates and time slots. The applicants can then go online and pick the appropriate interview slot for them. The applicants do the scheduling work, and the recruiter can simply look at their completed pre-screen schedule. The recruiter can then hold a video interview with the applicants directly from their computer utilizing a video interviewing service such as Vonei. Without leaving the desk, a recruiter can quickly and easily pre-screen candidates with minimal effort.

A great example of an application for using this process is an amusement park which is staffing for the summer season. Positions abound in various areas of the park including Grounds, Food Services, Accommodations, Operations, and Games. Thousands of job applicants want to apply. With an appointment scheduling service all you have to do is fill in the blanks on interviewers, positions, days, and time slots, and then make the jobs known to the community. You can even embed the appointment service within your website with your logo. Applicants can schedule themselves according to the rules you established. Confirming emails can go to the applicants, and you will have a nice, coordinated schedule of people and times. Establish a video interviewing session and you will be able to see and talk to your candidates live without leaving your chair.

Time is money, and the faster you can get through the weeding out process the better. Using online services to both schedule appointments, and conduct the interviews, is a great way to complete the process quickly and efficiently. But how about the cost of these tools? CheckAppointments has an entirely free service for a single recruiter with a single location. And for a team of recruiters with multiple locations a premium plan is available for only $19.95/month. Vonei has an unlimited usage annual service plan for $99. If these tools save just 1 day of productivity they pay for themselves for an entire year.

Of course amusement parks are not the only application for this process. How about career fair days held by colleges or Chamber of Commerce organizations? An efficient scheduling and interviewing process is an aid any time there are many job candidates to pre-screen. Isn’t it time you tried it?

Alan Fitzpatrick is a co-founder of Vonei LLC, home of the $99/year video interviewing service. Additional information can be found at www.vonei.com. CheckAppointments.com is a service of Addy Systems LLC. Additional information can be found at www.checkappointments.com.

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Is It Ethical To Record Your Candidate Interviews?

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: video interview | Tags: |

There are many times when it would be great to have a recording (either audio or video) of an interview with a candidate.  You could go back through the interview later to review responses, it could be used afterwards for coaching the candidate, and you could forward recordings of great prospects to the hiring manager/company.  We believe there are two major issues to consider when deciding to record:
1)    Is it legal to record, and if so under what circumstances?
2)    Is it ethical, proper, or “wise” to do so, and under what conditions?

The legal obligations vary by state and country, and rather than try to provide 50+ rules it is best to defer to a legal professional.  We’ve been told that in Canada you must request the candidates’ permission in writing.  In the U.S. more states than not require at least one-party consent to recording and several states require two or all party consent to recordings.  Even in a one-party consent state it may be illegal if the recording equipment is hidden from the candidate (e.g. you are recording a video call on your computer without telling the candidate).

Recording interviews may not be so much a question of ethics as it is a matter of mitigating risk.  We suggest you always ask a candidate for permission to record regardless of local requirements.  The recruiter or hiring manager could state up-front that he/she is recording the interview for purposes of “recall” later.  If you inform the interviewee that the interview will be recorded, and they acknowledge acceptance, then legality should be covered as long as the purpose is clearly limited to selection.  It would be interesting if the candidate refuses to be recorded.  What would it say about them?

Remember that being recorded cuts both ways.  When you make a recording it becomes part of a permanent record, just like comments written on a paper resume.  Some recruiters and hiring managers may not ask the right/appropriate questions, or may say something inappropriate and now there would be a record of it.  That’s okay for coaching the individual, not okay if it is needed as “evidence” at a later date.

Our belief is it is not wise if you fail to tell the interviewee that you are going to record the interview to share with the hiring company, even if you are in a one-party consent state.  Hiring is a trust building exercise and a secret recording, even if legal, doesn’t feel quite right.

You should explain the entire process to the candidate, beyond just the fact they are going to be recorded.  For example, what do you do with the recordings?  How long will they be stored?  What is the recruiter’s privacy policy?  If recordings are merely passed on to others involved in the hiring process, and then deleted as a matter of policy, it might be considered more acceptable.  Just realize it is not the norm to record interviews.  Most HR professionals understand the fluff factor and to use the recording later for other purposes, could cause question.

Recording interviews, done legally, can be a valuable tool.  Just be aware of the risks.  Have you ever recorded an interview?  Do you have any feedback, good or bad?

Alan Fitzpatrick is the co-founder of Vonei LLC, home of the $99/year unlimited usage video interviewing service.  Vonei does not store recordings of user sessions.  We can suggest tools to allow the parties to record and store on their computers.  For more about us see http://www.vonei.com.

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The Best $99 You Ever Spent for your Recruiting Business

Posted on November 17, 2009. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , |

Video interviewing is a great way to evaluate a job candidate remotely and lower the cost of recruiting. Many video conference systems are expensive to rent and can cost upwards of $150/hour. Fortunately desktop video conferencing can be used to video interview job candidates, and it can be done for less than $99/year, or $8.25/month. This low entry point makes video interviewing suitable for all recruiters.

Desktop video interviewing is performed right from your computer, whether it is PC, Mac, or Linux. A webcam is needed to show video, and documents such as resumes, application forms, and examples of work can be shared securely and directly right in the video interviewing service. By seeing the candidate you can pre-screen for communication skills, helping you find the right candidate faster.

 

Along with the low entry price point, desktop video interviewing lowers the risk in your investment. There are no hardware costs other than ensuring webcams are available. Most services require no software downloads for you or your candidate, and no set-up fees.

 

Try out video interviewing and save time and money in the recruiting process.

Vonei LLC is a provider of desktop video interviewing and video conferencing services. www.vonei.com.

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Video Interview Job Candidates from your Computer

Posted on October 2, 2009. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , , , , , , |

One of the first steps in the recruiting process involves screening potential candidates for an approved job opening. This is typically done with telephone calls today. It is a low cost, fast, and an effective means of quickly going through basic requirements with a candidate. However since you can’t see the candidate you have no idea if they are sitting in front of Wikipedia, have open books on their desk, or have other reference material nearby. In other words, how do you really know that the candidate knows their stuff?

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Video interviewing candidates at the first step in the process can help weed out those that are referring to other documents versus answering from their own knowledge. You can also see their mannerisms and body language. Documents such as resumes/CVs, applications, job description, and other forms can be shared right during the meeting. By weeding candidates out quickly the recruiter can shorten the time to fill positions.

Use of Vonei Meeting for video interviewing provides a secure, inexpensive means of conducting live video interviews with document sharing right from a PC, Mac, or Linux computer. A webcam and headset is all you need. Video interviews are fast to set up and and more effective than telephone calls in getting to know the candidate. And we are not talking about expensive, $150/hour video conference rooms. Services such as Vonei’s offer unlimited usage monthly service plans starting under $40. Interviews are scheduled with email invitations, and a history of interviews is kept for your records. The interviews can be conducted with encrypted transmission, and secure document sharing is conducted directly in the interview, avoiding all the email servers on the Internet.

Another major benefit in using video interviewing is reduced travel cost of bringing prospects into the client company to interview. The more candidates can be weeded out early, the more cost effective it will be to bring only the finalists in for face-to-face interviews.

Vonei video service (www.vonei.com) can be used throughout the recruiting process, not just for the initial screening of candidates but for second and third interviews as well. Video interviews can be recorded if the parties consent (see your state laws) and shared with the hiring manager. If the recruiter is not collocated with the hiring manger the same video conferencing tool can be used for online video meetings between the recruiter and the manager, sharing applicant assessments, placement status, and other forms.

Filling jobs faster and reducing the cost of bringing candidates in for face-to-face interviews make using a computer based video interviewing service extremely valuable to the recruiter.

Do you use a video interviewing service? How has it worked for you?

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Does your job applicant have purple hair?

Posted on July 13, 2009. Filed under: video interview | Tags: , , , , , , |

Have you ever placed specific requirements for a position?  When the local baseball team had an opening for their team mascot they required certain attributes; high energy, good entertainer, weekend hours, and yes, purple hair (or at least a good wig).  Doesn’t it surprise you that many applications disregard those requirements?  Often initial introductions to job candidates are through emailed resumes and perhaps a phone call. Many companies conduct telephone screening of candidates before inviting them into the office for a face-to-face interview. Wouldn’t you like to see the candidate face-to-face right away before spending the time and $ to bring them in?

With today’s desktop video conferencing services any business can conduct live video interviews of job candidates right through a computer with webcam. There is no need to purchase expensive equipment or rent a room at conference centers. Simply ensure the candidate has a webcam and conduct a face-to-face interview with no travel. 70% of communication is non-verbal, so seeing the candidate and getting a read on their expressions and mannerisms tells you a lot about how they will be on the job.

Web conferencing services like Vonei Meeting also provide tools to share documents. Rather than relying on emails for resumes, ask the job candidate to share it during the call and go through it together. Ask the candidate to provide samples of their work by uploading documents in seconds during the meeting. As a recruiter you can share company information, policies, application forms, or any other type of document right during the meeting.

Multi-user video conference service will allow a third or fourth person to join the discussion. Perhaps the hiring manager? A co-worker? Everyone can see and hear the candidate live without leaving their desk. Best of all these video interviews can take place at night, over the weekend, or any other time that is convenient. Face-to-face interviews don’t have to be confined to standard business hours of the company. Why not Saturday morning video interviews?

Dr. John Sullivan, professor of management at San Francisco State University, wrote an excellent article on video interviews at this link. He identifies 20 reasons why businesses should be conducting video-conference interviews.

Improve the effectiveness of your hiring process today by use of desktop video conferencing. You just might see purple hair.

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