In this update you will learn more about the increasing trend of job seekers being asked to submit videos when applying for jobs and what you need to do to prepare for and record a video to make an impactful first impression.

If you are in active job search, an essential part of your job seeking skill set now includes learning how to make an impactful first impression through applying with a short video instead of, or as well as, the traditional CV and cover letter.

“New generations of job seekers are ditching traditional resumes in place of online videos, and an increasing number of employers are welcoming the shift”, reported Peter Hitchener and Justine Conway in a recent Channel 9 news report.

In my experience as a Job Search Coach, more and more of my clients are being asked to prepare videos. For example, when they apply for roles they receive an email at the start of or during the job application process, requiring them to click through and record themselves in order to be considered for a role and proceed to the next step.

Please don’t feel scared by this prospect. If done well, the video application is a great opportunity to showcase your strengths, passions and personality to potential employers. It’s being used by more and more employers who are looking for skilled job seekers.

To use this job seeking tool to your advantage, you need to be very well prepared. Here are my tips for helping you make a great impression when the application process includes recording a video.

Understand the Requirements of the Video Application

In some instances you will be required to answer a series of questions within a specific time period. This is your starting point. Make sure you know what is expected of you. Take the time to consider your answers to these questions. Practice saying them out aloud.

This SEEK article suggests there are four distinct categories of questions you are likely to be asked in a video interview, including:

  1. An introductory question e.g. “Tell us a little bit about you?”
  2. A motivation question e.g. “Why do you want to work for …?”
  3. A technical question about your skills e.g. “Tell us about a time you have helped a customer?”
  4. A personality question e.g. “What would you do if you didn’t have to work for a month?”

Consider Your Answers then Practice, Practice, Practice

As you consider your answers to these questions and prepare, think of what could be some of the key messages you would like to convey in the video. Think of some examples you can provide under a S.T.A.R. approach; this is an interview technique that gives you a straightforward format you can use to tell a story by laying out the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

  • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
  • Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

And then practice, practice, practice. Because you may only have two minutes.

Be Just as Prepared for a General Video Introduction

If you’re asked to provide a general introductory video rather than answer specific questions, here’s some tips for how to approach this. You need to be just as prepared as if you were answering set questions. Start by considering the role and the key selection criteria. What attributes are they wishing to see and what skills do they want to know you have?

Once you’ve given this careful consideration, map out the key headlines you want to say about yourself. You may choose to write these down and have them handy as prompts when you record the video.

Do Not Rush

You will not make as good an impression in your video if you come across as rushed.Take the time to consider when you can record the video so you will not be interrupted by co-workers, your family, house mates, pets or noisy traffic outside your window. I know it may feel scary to record a video of yourself. It may be tempting to just ‘get it done’.

Please don’t rush or just ‘do it now’ because you want it to be over. Most hiring managers don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t take the time to think things through. Take a more methodical and considered approach.

Show Your Natural Speaking Style

While you could script your answers, and even use a teleprompter that you follow as you record the video, it is important to remember that the hiring manager is not just assessing your answers. They will also be viewing the video to assess your communication skills. The more natural you can be, the better indication you will give of what you’re really like.

Prepare Your Surroundings Before You Record

Make sure the area behind you is clean and uncluttered, and that there are no distracting or inappropriate objects visible in the background. Consider adding a plant or a piece of art to add some personality to the space.

Think About What You’re Wearing

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dress professionally and avoid busy patterns or colours that might be distracting on camera. Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable, and remember that solid colours generally look better on camera than patterns or stripes.

Check Your Lighting

Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not available, make sure you have enough artificial lighting to illuminate your face without creating harsh shadows. Avoid having a window or bright light source directly behind you, which can make your face appear too dark.

Advantages of Recording Yourself on Video

Spark Hire is a leading video job interviewing platform used by more than 6,000 organisations of all sizes across the globe. Many Australian organisations are integrating Spark with their applicant tracking system, resulting in a quick and equitable candidate experience, with all candidates answering the same interview questions leading to fair evaluations and providing you with the ability to provide more context about your experience. In some cases it also means your application can be processed faster, which is always music to a job seeker’s ears.

Vpply is a web application that allows candidates to apply for jobs with a video profile. Their website reports that the concept of the video technology came from addressing the lack of human connection in the first stage of the hiring process – job search. Finding a job is challenging and Vpply wants to allow jobseekers to make an impactful first impression through applying with a short video instead of the traditional CV and cover letter.

While it may not replace your need to prepare a cover letter and resume in the job application process it is increasingly likely to be a requirement. For talent acquisition managers, recruiters and hiring managers, some of the video based jobseeker databases on the market can easily be searched, qualified and shortlisted, and may not just be a stand alone step in the hiring process for a specific role.

On LinkedIn I have seen this technology when my clients are applying for roles in HR, sales, marketing, and project management. LinkedIn’s skills demonstration feature enables you to answer a standardised question via writing or video. Job posters will see your response when they view your application. Job titles that have the option to demonstrate skills include a selection of HR, Sales, Project Management and Marketing. You can view the latest list via LinkedIn Help here.

If you’d like help preparing for your next job interview or the job application process, please contact me for an obligation free discussion.

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