For all the time we spend on Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts, for all the pictures we post to Instagram and Facebook, and for all the ridiculous videos we make on our iPhones when we’re goofing around with our friends… interviewing for a job through video can still feel really awkward.
When I did my first video interview on HireArt, for a Virtual Admin position, I took three times longer than they told me the interview was likely to last. If I had to guess, I’d say I spent over an hour on the first task: recording a 2-minute video about myself.
I started off with the utmost confidence. Having answered this question well over 50 times at in-person interviews, a two-minute video on this seemed like a no-brainer. So I recorded my first attempt and eagerly pressed the “Review Video” button.
As it started to play, I was immediately embarrassed by the result. For starters, watching myself made me feel seriously physically awkward – do I really sound that nasally? does my hair look like a bird’s nest at all times? – but then I realized the problem was much more serious: Did I even buy what I was saying?
When you are sitting across from someone at an in-person interview, you feed off of their energy. You say you are a good researcher, they nod and you in turn list your projects with even more enthusiasm. You say you are passionate about journalism, they ask you what you read in the morning and you eagerly list your favorite dailies and columnists.
On video, you are your only and harshest critic. As you are recording, no one is there to egg you on in the right (or wrong) direction. Really, there is no direction at all, except wherever you want to take it.
It took me a little while to realize this and at first, I just tried the same pitch again, with a different camera. The nasal issue was fixed (thankfully), but I still felt really disingenuous. Was I really that excited about research? I wasn’t and watching myself over and over again made it harder to lie each time.
What the HireArt experience helped me realize is that I had gotten so used to packaging and repackaging my experience and my interests to fit whatever job description, that I’d moved further and further away from a script that actually represented my real experience and interests. When faced with that reality on video, I wanted to fix it because I realized that if I landed a job on a lie, either the employer or I, or both us, would probably end up unhappy.
So perhaps after seven or eight attempts, I finally came up with a video that I thought honestly represented me. I still don’t know if I landed the job (fingers crossed), but I feel confident that if I do or don’t, it’ll be because I was or wasn’t a good fit… and I feel pretty good about that.
– By Anonymous Candidate