Last week I sat in a conference room with a search client presenting video interviews of four job candidates to my client’s President, CIO and VP of Human Resources. All four candidates had taken an automated video interview during the preceding days and I sat poised to save my client’s time by breezing through the interviews of my four candidates. Even better for me was the large screen TV mounted on the wall on which I could show the interviews. Within minutes I was logged into the video interviewing system and showing highlights of the candidates’ four recorded video interviews to the hiring managers.
The four candidates were of varying ages, all had the appropriate experience to do the job and all were dressed professionally for the interview. In fact, though the login instructions gave them a few tips on how to conduct an interview, I gave them no additional guidance on what to do other than, “don’t ramble!”
If you have stumbled across many of the recent blogs posts about video interviewing you probably found that half of them presented tips on how best to conduct an interview. Most all of them say the same thing: turn off your phone, interview in appropriate lighting, remove background clutter, dress professionally, blah, blah, blah. I may have even written one of these mundane posts in the past which are, let’s be honest, for the not too bright. If you must be told not to smoke during an interview, to wear a shirt, or not sit on the edge of your messy bed, which I can see in the background by the way, then you need not apply.
I had spoken with each of my candidates prior to setting them up for the interview and they all sounded pretty knowledgeable about the job. Not only that, they sounded enthusiastic! They were pumped about the opportunity. Unfortunately the person I spoke with on the phone and the person I watched on the video were entirely two different people. On the phone I was talking to 80s era Robin Williams but during the interview I saw Ben Stein lecturing a rest home hall full of seniors. These are exaggerations but you get the point. Where was the enthusiasm I heard on the phone? Where were the smiles on the video? Three of the four candidates while knowledgeable lacked, say it with me, “ENERGY”!
The fourth candidate, whom I actually showed second, had energy and a smile to boot. So much did his energy stand out from the others that before we had finished discussing his interview the President pulled out his cell phone, dialed the candidate, and tried to schedule an interview. Yep, just like that! I spent no more than five minutes reviewing this candidate’s interview before the President said, “I want to meet this guy!”
Do you remember the old Wendy’s grandma who proclaimed “Where’s the beef” when looking at a little dried up hamburger patty? We saw on the video something that resembled a dying burger under a heat lamp in terms of energy and personality. So this is my advice to you when doing a video interview. Don’t be afraid! Smile, show that you have more personality than an old hamburger patty, and exude some energy and enthusiasm about the job to which you are applying. That way when the hiring manager watches your video they won’t proclaim, “Where’s the ENERGY!”