Six dumb things not to do during a video interview

Paul Clarke | E-Financial Careers

Phone interviews used to be the first line ofdefence for banks sifting out large numbers of candidates, but video interview is increasingly the grilling of choice for financial services firms, particularly for those applying for roles in far-flung locations.

A video interview may seem a lot like one over the phone, but in reality interviewing on Skype or another video service is a different art altogether.

Here are five tips to avoid slipping up:

1. Don’t drone on

Have you ever listened to your voice back on a Dictaphone? Chances are you’re no John Hurt. Interviewers have even less tolerance for long monologues by candidates while watching them on camera. You may be desperate to apply the S.T.A.R (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique in your interview, where every answer is framed by the challenge you faced, your contribution to resolving it and the result of your actions, but make it brief. Peter Harrison, a former executive director at Goldman Sachs who now runs Harrison Careers, said that an interviewers’ attention span is diminished during a video interview.

“The potential for boring the interviewer is much higher when video interviewing. Don’t talk for more than 40 seconds without pausing to re-engage the interviewer,” he said.

2. Don’t play with your hair or talk with your hands 

The most an interviewer is likely to see of you during a video interview is the top half of your body. But it’s more likely that more than just your head and shoulders will be displayed. To you, the interviewers are a small screen on your laptop, but you will be broadcast on a big flat screen TV in a plush meeting room. Any body language will be exaggerated.

“If you’re gesticulating wildly, or playing with your face and hair then this will prove very distracting to the interviewer, because it’s likely to be all they will focus on,” said Andrew Pullman, managing director of People Risk Solutions and a long-standing investment banking human resources professional. “Conversely, slouching or slumping in your chair will be a much more obvious signal that you’re not really interested, and you need to look at the camera, not the screen, to maintain eye contact.”

3. User name, not loser name

Keeping Hotmail and Gmail addresses sensible was a basic and long-standing piece of advice for anyone putting together their CV. The same issue applies to your Skype user name – keep it related to your name, don’t try to be clever. Your interviewer will see it and make a judgement call.

“There was a woman we interviewed for a senior management position at a bank and her user name was sleezedoll150,” said interview coach Margaret Buj. “Obviously, we couldn’t take them seriously, but any sort of fancy user name creates a negative impression.

4. Remember, this is your ONLY opportunity

This is not an initial screening process, this is not a chance for a bank to catch a glimpse of you before formally embarking on the recruitment process – this is it. The biggest mistake people make is simply not taking a video interview seriously enough, said James Sayer, director of recruiters Robert Half UAE, which reports an uptick in video interviewing.

“Remember to behave as professionally in a video interview as you would in any business meeting,” he said.

“There will be competency-based interview questions, technical questions as well as brain-teasers during Skype interviews and they can last over an hour,” said Buj. “Prepare as you would for any other interview.”

5. Get the mood right

This may seem obvious, but sitting in your kitchen, dressed in business attire up top with underwear below and the potential for either the dog or kids to go running across the camera’s line of sight isn’t a wise move. Neither is taking time out during a lunch hour to conduct the interview in Starbucks.

“Sit in a quiet, tidy space where distractions can be kept to an absolute minimum and make sure the lighting is flattering. Simply try to create as professional an atmosphere as possible,” said Pullman.

6. Get to grips with the technology

These systems are pretty self-evident, but it doesn’t hurt to know how they work before the interview if you’ve never used them before. If the interview is abroad, there are always delays in transmission and it’s important to account for these during your answers to avoid embarrassing interruptions.

“Sometimes the technology doesn’t work as it should and the interviewer hears what you say a second or too later than you said it,” said Harrison. “Clearly show when you are finished, or pausing your answer, and stop talking until the interviewer re-engages.”

LAID OFF. WHAT COMES NEXT?

Robin Judson & Kate Stoughton Berllineer |

As recruiters, we are already seeing candidates who have been laid off and are searching for their next role. The fact that these individuals were laid off does not detract from their work experience or the value that they bring. As you prepare for what’s next, make sure to focus on what you can contribute

... Read Article


LAYOFFS COMING? PREPARE NOW!

Robin Judson & Kate Stoughton Berliner | Robin Judson Partners

If the possibility of getting laid off is keeping you up at night, here are some ways to get ready and ease your mind. Be prepared Dust off your resume. Even if layoffs are not an issue, we recommend keeping your resume up to date! Consider: Pro Tip: Treat your resume like a living document.

... Read Article


How PE Firms are Dealing with a Hybrid Work Environment

Keith Button | Merger & Acquisitions

Hybrid home-office work arrangements, the demands of a younger generation of up-and-coming executives and pressure to develop more diversity in leadership are all impacting the recruiting efforts of middle-market private equity firms. Read the full article by Keith Button

... Read Article


Now Is Not The Time To Accept A Counter Offer

Robin Judson |

Jack G. complained constantly that his fund did not pay him anywhere close to the value he produced. In his role as a Principal in XYZ Private Equity Fund, he had significant P&L attached to the portfolio companies he worked with, sat on two boards and a deal he originated was about to close. Two

... Read Article


Some Wall Street dealmakers are choosing WFH over big paydays, as return-to-office plans become key to recruiting

Samantha Stokes | Insider

Recruiters told Insider that some senior bankers at the managing-director level and above are saying they won’t consider new roles that are based in the office full-time. Samantha Lee/Business Insider Flexible-work policies are top of mind for many senior bankers, recruiters say. Candidates are turning down roles that don’t allow remote work at least sometimes. Some

... Read Article


Wall Street’s Hottest Commodity: College Grads With Excel Skills

Mary Biekert | Wall Street Journal

All across Wall Street, one price keeps going up: the one for young talent. Big banks can’t hire junior staff fast enough — not even at the new going rate of $100,000 a year. Chalk it up to the pandemic. Or the notoriously long hours. Or youthful realizations that maybe banking isn’t all it’s cracked

... Read Article


How To Handle Job Offers In The Post-Lockdown Economy

Robin Judson |

Many job searches during this post-lockdown period result in candidates receiving multiple offers. How to best handle the scenario.

... Read Article


A Guide To Interviewing From A Career Recruiter

Robin Judson | Robin Judson Partners

We believe we know interviewing because we have been in the financial recruiting business for over 25 years. This is our guide.

... Read Article