Time Management, How to Conduct a Proper Interview, Digital Interview, Body Language, Dressing Professionally
JOB HUNT / 14 December 2016
Digital Interviews and How They Work
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Ivy Au

Alright. So as students we have to worry about exams, grades, social life, sleep, applications, phone interviewson-site interviews and now DIGITAL INTERVIEWS too?!? 

With technology constantly adapting and becoming more and more ingrained into our daily lives, webcam interviews have become part of the next evolution of interviews. Companies have decided to adapt to this method as a way for them to save time and resources from having to travel and meet with their applicants. It also makes it easier for companies to send that disappointing rejection email to bright-eyed candidates. Nowadays, what applicants need to learn is how to adapt and get ahead of the curve. 

Personally, I have been a victim of this new age of interviewing. And quite frankly, my experience with it has been, awkward to say the least. I have previously interviewed with both Urban Outfitters (for a sales associate position) and Kohl’s (for a Product Manager Intern position). For both, their online interview formats were very similar. As a disclaimer, this is not to say that this is how all digital/webcam interviews will go. 

Tips on how to do well in interviews/Things I learned from my experience:

  1. Consider the lighting beforehand
    • This might seem like a complete no-brainer, but you would be surprised when it comes down to it. I actually struggled with finding a good source of lighting in my dim apartment and not to mention how opening the blinds would create an awkward glare. So definitely keep lighting in mind within days before the interview or you might find yourself in a panic trying to find which seat gives off the least shadow or overexposure to sunlight.

  2. Know the formatting of digital interviews
    • For starters, both of the digital interviews I have done did not have another person on the other side of the screen. Everything was pre-recorded and then sent out to the recruiter. You don’t get the benefit of personally meeting an interviewer and exchanging facial responses; I was basically talking to myself. It was totally different from my usual experiences and it caught me off guard. 
    • They began with the recruiter, who sent me an email with a link to the interview.  I was able to click the link and start the interview at any given time within a due date time. When the interview started, a typical question is asked on the screen and I was given 30 seconds to prepare an answer. After the preparation time was over, recording automatically began and I was allotted a certain number of minutes to complete and record my answer. Depending on the interview, I was able to get one re-attempt for each question asked. There were only a handful of questions asked, so these interviews generally only took 15-25 minutes to complete.

  3. Dress as if it is a formal interview 
    • Even though you will most likely be participating in a webcam interview within the comforts of your home, you should definitely treat this as if it were a real formal interview. The way you present yourself will be the first impression you make on potential future employers (don’t forget to wear some decent bottoms as well, in case something occurs and you need to stand up!)

  4. Don’t be nervous
    • Employers can sense your nervousness behind the screen. Even worse, they can capture it and rewind it. Relax and give yourself some credit for being able to land an interview!

  5. Make Sure to Have Eye Contact
    • This speaks for itself. Make sure to look at your webcam’s camera when you are recording.  When interviewers look at your video, they will feel as if you are talking to them directly and you won’t look distracted.

  6. Watch out for time constraints
    • So the biggest issue for me was time. Often, I wasn’t worried about saying too much;  I was worried about saying too little. For example, I had three minutes to answer one question. I would answer that question and have an extra minute left over. Within that remaining minute, I was unsure whether I should talk more or just cut it off right then and there. Those moments of uncertainties led to awkward pauses and reiterations of the same things I had previously answered. My tip for this would be to know how much time you have, figure out your pacing, watch out for pauses and not waste your recruiters’ time by being repetitive.

  7. Be able to adapt
    •  Like with any technology, learning how to adapt is extremely crucial to success. The formatting of video interviews is definitely different than traditionally-conducted interviews. However, there are some similarities; learn to apply the same rules of formality in traditional interviews with techniques used on the newer digital format. 

In the comments below, tell me what you think about video interviews and check out our site here for more posts like this!