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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Helping College Students Find Jobs

Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It is no surprise to anyone that the high unemployment rate in the U.S. has made it very difficult for talented, experienced people to find jobs. What is not discussed as frequently is how difficult it is for college seniors, and recent college graduates to find jobs. According to a CNN article, the projection for 2010 is hiring of grads with any degree will decline by 2% compared to 2009. In this tough environment we have some good news and hope for college students and graduates.

There is a new resource designed to help both the college graduate and the employer. 1stGiG.com is the first career service of its kind specifically designed to connect college undergraduates and recent college graduates and the companies that value their skills. There are no jobs posted, but there are countless opportunities for internships and employment.

Here’s how it works:

  • A precision matching matrix identifies compatible profiles between young career-bound talent and potential employers
  • When the talent accepts the match, an introduction is made with the prospective company
  • Over time, both parties make multiple connections, establish a relationship and create “opportunity pools” based on their mutual interest
  • When the right opportunity arises, the parties are prepared to move forward in the hiring process – eliminating the time-consuming process that has been the status quo.

1stGiG.com sources, screens, and presents the graduate with internship and/or career opportunities that meet their specific interests and requirements. Between 70 and 80% of jobs are never advertised. 1stGiG.com expands the opportunity network to put the college graduate on the radar of companies and industries that typically wait for job seekers to come to them, not the other way around. It’s a richer, longer-term approach to career development designed to make the “first gig” a better experience for everyone involved.

1stGiG.com has partnered with Vonei to add a video interviewing service to their site, allowing employers and college graduates to quickly and easily conduct video interviews over the Internet from their computer. In today’s economic reality, employers don’t have the time and money to visit as many campuses as they would like. Video interviewing allows the employer to recruit from anywhere without travel. Video Interviewing service starts as low as $99/year, so it is an extremely cost effective method to link employers and college graduates.

Now is a perfect time to consider using these innovative services. Help graduates start their career and begin benefiting from what only 1stGiG.com offers the early career professional!

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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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 Resumes – Who Needs Them?

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

There is a lot of hype about candidates creating video resumes so they can “show their personality and stand out”. I’m sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud but I don’t think video resumes are very useful for most people. Here’s why:

  • Unless you have the proper equipment and lighting, a homemade video is likely to be of poor quality. Not to mention that the video background may be less than desirable and your personal editing abilities may not be studio quality. You would hate for a poor technical exhibit to reflect negatively on your abilities as a candidate.

  • Most candidates are not great at providing a one to two minute elevator pitch needed for a video resume. A script needs to be developed and fine tuned, and the candidate will need a lot of practice time to both memorize the script and present themselves well. Who coaches the candidate through this process?

  • A candidate may give a poor impression on camera, yet be an excellent fit for a job. Let’s face it, many jobs don’t require the most charismatic presence in front of a camera. If a candidate is interviewing for a back office position do you really think their video presentation skills are a good indication of their performance on the job?

  • Unsolicited video resumes are also likely to be tossed out. Discrimination concerns, as well as the difficulty of picking out key experiences from watching a video, make it easy for the recruiter to simply discard them and focus on the written resume.

vonei web conferencing

You are probably wondering why Vonei, a leader in video communications, is downplaying the role of video resumes. Well we are not downplaying the usefulness of video in the recruiting process, just downplaying the usefulness of a video resume. Live video interviews are certainly a great improvement over phone call screening. As a recruiter you are not simply watching a video resume, but you are conducting a live interview with the added benefit of seeing the candidate without having to pay them to travel for an in-person interview. Live video interview services like Vonei Meeting provide unlimited usage each month for less than $40, making it very economical.

While recorded videos are not that useful for video resumes, they can be used effectively in other parts of the recruiting and on-boarding process. Recorded videos can be great for the hiring manager or recruiter to send the winning candidate a video message welcoming them to the team, or providing useful information about the job or company. These welcome video mails do not have to be professional quality, nor are they elevator pitches. Video emails used for this purpose are valuable, personal touches that improve the overall process.

Would you like a free demo of the Vonei Meeting service and a free trial account? Simply send an email to sales@vonei.com and ask for your demo today.

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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?

NC Association of Staffing Professionals-July2009-5x3 -v3

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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How do you pronounce Vonéi?

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Vonéi is a U.S. company with a French name rhyming with the famous artist Claude Monet.  Services include web conferencing, video conferencing, and live video interviews.  Vonéi is a sponsor of the North Carolina Association of Staffing Professionals fall conference, and when they recorded a video announcing the sponsors the host had a difficult time pronouncing the company name.  For a humorous answer to how to pronounce Vonéi play the following clip:

The Vonéi Meeting service allows live multiple party video conferencing right from a PC, Mac, or Linux computer.  It is browser based and doesn’t require expensive hardware or a software download.  Recruiters are currently using the service for live video interviews of job candidates, and have the ability to see the prospects prior to inviting them into the office in person.  The recruiter can add the hiring manager to the live video interview, and the embedded document sharing function allows for easy and secure sharing of resumes, work samples, and company information.  Unlimited usage service plans start at under $40/month, and can be ordered online at http://www.vonei.com.

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7 Online Video Conferencing Tips

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

7 Online Video Conference Tips

Many people have used web conferencing services that allow you to call into an audio conference bridge and watch someone present on their computer screen.  But have you had a chance to experience multiple party online video conferencing?  Services such as Vonei Meeting allow a group of people (5, 10, +) to participate in conferences using real-time video, live audio, and other features such as chat, document sharing, and screen-sharing.  It is a great way to boost interactivity and collaboration of a team of people, and cut down on wasted meetings where everyone has the presenter on mute.  It is also a great tool for video interviews where the recruiter, candidate, hiring manager, and subject matter expert can all join the live video meeting.  Best of all you don’t have to go to a designated video conference room; you can attend right from your computer.  Here are 7 highly recommended tips to make your video meetings most effective:

1) Use a high quality webcam so you can better “see” who you are meeting with!  Our minimum recommendation is 1.3M pixel or higher.  VideoInterviewKits provides quality webcams starting under $20.  Keep in mind that when using video this also means that you shouldn’t be goofing off or working on something else.  And be sure you have combed your hair.  After all, people can see you!  Be sure to have good lighting on your face so you can be clearly seen by the other participants, and try to wear solid colors.  If you are using the service for video interviews be sure to dress as you would for an in-person interview (at least from the waist up).

2) Make sure you have closed down other computer applications that use a webcam, or those applications might not release the camera for your video meeting.  Point to point video chat services like Skype, iChat, and Vid need to be turned off prior to joining your multiple person video conference.

3) Use a video service that is compatible across various computer platforms and browsers.  What happens when people on your web conference are on Macs or Linux computers but the service only supports PCs?  Or if a meeting participant is using Safari or Firefox browsers and the service only supports Internet Explorer?  A good video enabled web conferencing service should work across all major computer platforms and browsers.  You may not know what system the other people on your meeting are using so your service needs to be able to support a variety of systems.

4) Use a video service that does not require you to download software.  Late meetings can be minimized by allowing participants to join right from a web page.

5) For best audio performance when using VoIP through your computer use a headset with an integrated microphone, or a USB speakerphone.  This is not always needed but with the millions of different ways a computer may be configured these days it is an easy way to ensure that everyone has clear and crisp audio.  A headset or a USB speakerphone ensures an overly sensitive built-in computer microphone does not pickup background noise, or the audio from the speakers, and create an echo.  Headsets and USB speakerphones ensure this is not a problem.

6) Have everyone join online a few minutes early for the scheduled meeting.  This will ensure the first few minutes of the meeting is not spent waiting for a participant to locate a webcam or charge their headset.  Note for Mac participants using the built in camera and mic – be sure your USB devices are selected for your meeting!

7) Be careful when you send Chat messages, and open up Private Chat when only one other person needs to hear from you.  Typing a chat message to the entire group that the instructor is an “idiot” is probably not the most appropriate thing to be typing in any event, but doubly so when the chat is seen by everyone.  The best web conferencing services offer Private Chat so you can keep such comments just between friends.  Or open multiple Private Chat sessions with different people.  Just be sure to type the right message to the right person or you can be in big trouble!

Online video conferences are a tremendous business tool, allowing face-to-face interaction while cutting travel cost, and recovering lost productivity of worker time spent traveling.  It is better for the environment than pollution associated with methods of travel.  Online video conferencing is a great tool for teleworkers, and allows virtual companies to be spread over the globe and see and talk with each other in real time while sharing documents.  A small company can appear global by using a good conferencing tool, and recruiters can cut down on travel costs by video interviewing job candidates.  We recommend the Vonei Meeting service which provides unlimited usage service plans starting under $40/month.

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Is Web Conferencing Viral?

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t mean laid up in bed with Vicks Vapor Rub, losing time, missing work, and the Grim Reaper at your door. I’m referring to the idea that as individuals host web conferencing meetings to improve productivity and save time and money, they expose multiple participants to the tool. As participants see how web conferencing tools can aid communication, foster more face-to-face contact, and reduce travel cost, the more interested they are in signing up for their own account.

For example if a business person uses their 10-person Vonei Meeting video conferencing service and hosts a weekly online meeting, they could potentially expose 30-40 participants to the service. Several of these participants may decide to then purchase their own conferencing service, turning the original account into several. As these new account holders start to host their own online meetings with others, the use of the service starts to spread virally.

Much has been said about the viral nature of the social networking tools such as Facebook and MySpace. Patricia Sellers wrote a great blog on the subject you can read here. I believe web conferencing, particularly those like Vonei that include live video of multiple participants, can virally spread in usage much like the social networking tools.

Aiding in the spread of these online tools is the wide availability of broadband Internet, and the continued penetration of webcams into the home and business environment. If you don’t believe me go into your nearest computer store and look at their laptops and netbooks. How many do you find without webcams? My observation is approximately 90% of all portable computers now come standard with webcams. For those that don’t, and for desktop computers, external webcams can be found ranging in price from $20 to over $100.

Wide applicability is a must for the viral nature of the service to spread. Web conferencing services that avoid software downloads are very helpful, and it goes without saying that cross platform support of PCs, Macs, and Linux computers, along with browser support of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari is a must. Companies like WebEx and GoToMeeting were early entrants into this market and have been extremely successful in getting large scale adoption of desktop sharing. New companies like Vonei are taking the concept further by integrating the personal touch of multi-user video.

Since web conferencing can save travel time and travel cost, this is one viral service that businesses of all sizes need to spread.

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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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