Transcript #9. What is a video interview like, and how to prepare for it?

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Hello everyone, and welcome to The Job Hunting Podcast. This episode is an interview with Brooke yang, and we discuss video interviewing, how different and how similar it is to traditional interviewing, how to prepare for it, what it looks in the back end for recruiters, assessing candidates, and what it means for the future of job hunting. Hi, I'm Renata Bernarde, and this is The Job Hunting Podcast, as I said, where I give you tips, advice, and interview experts like Brooke help you nail your next job and have the career that you want. If this type of content is for you, don't forget to follow this podcast and if you are in the thick of it and you need extra content, extra support, and accountability, please subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook or Instagram because on those two platforms I post more regularly and that will ensure you keep motivated and energized as you pursue your career goals.    

Okay, so I'll see you there. You can find all of these things in the episode show notes. By the way, before we start the interview with Brooke, I wanted to let you know that the registrations for my online course and coaching program open on the 19th of December and that the program starts early January 2020, the program is called Job Hunting Made Simple, the proven blueprint for creating a prosperous career and attracting your next job. I will put the link to the website on the show notes as well. So if you're interested in doing this program with me, make sure you check the link. I'm only opening registrations a couple of times per year, but once you register, the content is yours to keep, and you can revisit it at any time. So if you are keen to have support, guidance, and a proven framework to achieve your 2020 career goals, be it in your job or a job, or even a promotion at work, this program may be just the thing for you.            

Okay? Okay. Now let's go back to the topic of this episode, which is video interviews with an interview with Brooke yang. Brooke has had an extensive and successful career as a senior executive in the higher education sector here in Australia. She's always had a focus on student career development and business education, and today she's the president of the Aussie Hands Foundation and national not for profit is based in Australia which supports people with a hand difference or an acquired hand injury. She's also an affiliate at Mercer, the world's largest HR firm, and that is really as a result of her extensive career and sector knowledge. Back in 2019, Brook implemented a line scale project at Monash University, which is one of Australia's biggest universities, and that project was to support graduate employment using video interview technology. At the same time, I was monitoring the development of video interviewing adoption at large corporations in Australia and how it would affect what and how we teach students on preparing themselves for the job market. What has happened since then is that video conferencing, sorry, video interviewing has become increasingly popular, and so I felt it was a good time to invite Brooke for a chat, so here she is. I hope you enjoy our chat, and I will chat with you again on the other side.


Renata: So, Brooke, let's start now, and thank you so much for agreeing to be on this podcast. One of the reasons why I decided to bring you on board is because I know nothing about video interviews. And I remember you telling me that you were involved in a large-scale video interviewing implementation at your late employer. Do you want to tell us a little bit about how you came to know about video interviews and why you decided to adopt it?             

Brooke: Sure, absolutely. I was working, heading up the Monash professional pathways, and one of our core goals was to extend internships to many, many graduates, and undergraduates so that they could have an opportunity to work. And one of the important things is about matching individuals with the right job or the right internships. So we implemented a video interviewing system, called people, and to do that, we set that up so that all of the applicants could be interviewed on the online system. And that allowed us to better match people with their internship. There are a few different kinds of online interviewing. There's video interviewing; there's online interviewing, call interviews, and of course, we know the usual face to face, but for the video interviewing that we were doing, it takes place remotely using video technology, and it records your responses. But what happens is we would have some standard questions for the applicants, and then they would be recorded online answering these questions, right? So that was how that worked.         

Renata: And they are talking to a screen looking at themselves?

Brooke: That's right. That's right. So we did give them a little bit of advice about how to do that. So we hoped people prepared in advance. And I can talk a little bit more about that later. But yes, they were asked standard questions. They gave their responses. And then, in the background later, we had our recruitment specialists review those and rate their responses against a scaled measure in areas such as standard things like communication, organization, all the things that you would expect of an interview. So later, all of our recruitment officers would look at all of the candidates' recordings and give them a rating, and it also helped them then to match the right candidate with the right internship.         

Renata: I see. You mentioned that you adopted this for graduate students and students. Do you think that this adoption will be widely received, and you know, I'm thinking of roles as well?

Brooke: Yes, absolutely Renata, it's already being used extensively by companies, whether they're banks or small organizations, tech companies, consulting, and it's used in government too. Online interviewing is being used much more commonly. And that's because it's very convenient for both the candidate and the employer. It saves a lot of time. It also helps the employer to be able to get the most candidates to look at because I guess there's a little bit of what you might call suspicion about CVS. People submit resumes and CVS, but oftentimes the employer wants to see the candidate and wants to be open and fair and get the best people for the job. And by using something like this video interviewing technology, they can see a lot more candidates a lot more quickly.          

Renata: Right. And Brooke, do you think with the project that you did and also with what you know about the implementation of video interviewing, did the candidate receive the questions beforehand or is there still that element of not knowing what the cash questions will be and having to perform really well in a short period of time?   

Brooke: Yeah, there's still an element of not knowing, but of course, anyone who's done their homework knows that most interviews are very similar in terms of asking some standard questions about giving us background about yourself. Why are you interested in this role or the internship, whether it's a senior executive role or an entry-level role, asking based on those behavioral style interviewing questions about the key criteria for the job. So anyone who's done their homework should be prepared for the Pines of questions that they would be asked through this sort of interviewing method.             

Renata: Okay. And how do you prepare for interviews, Brooke, as opposed to face to face or even the more traditional Cole online interviews that we're used to? 

Brooke: Well, honestly, Renata, you should do exactly the same preparation. So one of the important things with the video interview or online in your view, and when I'm talking about those, they're a little bit different. The video interview is usually pre-recorded, whereas an online interview is live or in real-time, just like an interview. But how people should prepare is the same as if they were going to face to face. They should dress professionally; they should be aware of the tech, their presentation as they're in person. So, dressing the same while preparing for a video interview. I like to think there are four key areas to look at; your environment, technology presentation, and the last one is preparation. So I'm happy to go through those in a bit more detail if that's helpful.        

Renata: Oh, yes, please go ahead. I'd love to hear what you have to say. And can I just say before you start that, I have recently started doing live videos on Facebook as part of this project of mine of supporting job hunters. And the first few times I did live videos were horribly broke. I have to say, even though I'm very comfortable on stage of seeing me speak, you know, I'm like an extrovert by nature, and I love nothing better than talking to people. But when doing the live interview and having to look at myself on screen, there was that sense of being very self-conscious and not concentrating on what I had to say. But how I looked and I don't know if you have any tips for me as well. I'm very open to hearing more.              

Brooke: No, it is funny because it isn't normal for us to look at ourselves when we're speaking. So that's quite a normal response. But I think if people follow these four steps, they'll feel a lot more comfortable. So the first is getting your environment right. So if you're in, for example, if you're doing this in your house, you should let the people around know that you're in on an online interview. I would remove the pet. So make sure the dog's in a quiet place in another room. Get your lighting right so that you have plenty of white in the area and make sure you're in a tidy area. No one wants to see your unfolded laundry in the background when you're doing an interview. So pay attention to your environment. The second thing is to make sure your technology works.  

Brooke: So your audio, the screen, your computer, make sure you have access to wifi and, of course, talking and having the computer at eye level and looking into the camera. And that can help you to feel less self-conscious and to be more yourself. So those unconscious nonverbal cues are very important, whether you're in a face to face or an online video. So the more comfortable you feel and the more you can be yourself, the better. The third is about presentation. So definitely dress professionally as if you were going to an interview, have a stable chair, not a swivel chair, and try to listen. Don't talk too much; we're all guilty of that. Your presentation is very important. And finally, with the preparation, just as if you were going to an interview, make sure you prepare and practice your responses. With online, the beauty is you can have a few notes step around the camera or to give you prompts. And again, as with a regular interview avoid giving too much information.     

Renata: No, that's so interesting. So what you're actually telling me is that the video interview is an evolution, not a revolution, right? So it's basically just adapting and incrementally changing what we've been doing for years?           

Brooke: Absolutely. So the things you have to just pay attention to are; you have to be prepared, you have to have good presentation. But the two other additional things is that you're controlling the environment and you're controlling the technology. So you just need to make sure that those are in order and that you feel comfortable with that. 

Renata: Brooke, do you know if we can edit and prerecord if it's pre-recorded, can you go back and redo a question that you don't feel comfortable with or you can't like?         

Brooke: Yeah, I think whether you can redo it depends on the technology people use, for example, if you can't, so it's just like being in a real interview. So you have to give your best answer and try to just focus on what you're doing. See what other platforms allow you to have a take two. If you feel uncomfortable with what you've said in the interview, you can't go back and restart. When you get there. That's it.             

Renata: I guess it's part of the preparation. Then I would add that it would probably be good for somebody going soon into a video interview situation to film themselves as part of that preparation. Yeah?          

Brooke: Absolutely. Yeah. And do it a few times at home and get, maybe even. There are things like Google hangouts; you can ask a friend or a family member to help you with that, and have a few goes a few practice sessions with people you trust. 

Renata: So you said that the questions are the same, and you're doing this on a large scale. What does the back end of something like a VBL look like for the recruitment agent or the employer? How do they then assess all of those applications that they get in the video? Do they see all the videos?

Brooke: Absolutely, they see the videos they have; it's like getting an inbox with a list of names of people in their videos. And then there's a writing sheet that usually consists of a scale that you can mark if someone's done it very well, it's responded very well or not so well. So you give a point score to them, and then you will be able to make comments against each of the responses. So it allows people to look through the answers, write them, and make comments.       

Renata: That's interesting. So, even though this seems to be something that would be a very good tool for large scale recruitment opportunities. Yesterday when I went to a university, and I gave a presentation to a class of masters students, the academic that was hosting me mentioned that they are going to incorporate video interviewing as part of the training and development of MBA students as they're finding that it's more and more being adopted for executive roles. And I'm assuming that there are not many candidates for those more senior roles, but still, video conferencing is also picking up as a trend.       

Brooke: I'm really pleased to hear that they are incorporating that into their training because it's so critical. So even at a senior level, they're using this format because it is very convenient for people. You have to remember that people might be thinking about moving locations, moving countries. It also actually increases the confidentiality of a process. So instead of going to a specific place, you can do it in the privacy of your home or office. It's very convenient. So those are some of the reasons why people would be using this recruitment method. At least at the first stage for senior-level candidates, it's very time and cost-effective. It increases confidentiality, and we have to remember that people are moving a lot more for senior jobs.           

Renata: Yes, that's true. And when we first discussed during this podcast, I mentioned to you, the concept of face recognition and my concerns with that because I know some of these, video interview tools have that, incorporated. But I don't think that the research is completely validated yet. Do you have any views on that? When you were tendering out for the video interviewing tool, did you consider that as part of the package?                

Brooke: No, not facial recognition. They did make sure about controlling things like privacy and so that we couldn't reuse or share that information inappropriately. There's a lot of sensitivity when it comes to any job market, whether the applicant's information remains confidential such that it's only used by the recruiter or the employer for that period of time. So that isn't something I'm familiar with, but most employers will ensure and have safeguards around privacy of candidates. Is that what you meant or?             

Renata: Yes, it is. But at the same time that you were implementing your video interviewing platform, I was aware, and I, I brought in this, head of talent of a major bank in Australia, and they were implementing theirs, and they had facial recognition technology. Interesting.

Brooke: Were they interested mostly in ensuring a safeguard about the individual being interviewed?         

Renata: That's an excellent question. I'm not entirely sure. They wouldn't say, even though I brought them into Monash University, where I was working at the time, and they spoke about a hundred people that were at the time working in career development and supporting students and so on. That was a real eye-opener because they were not only moving to video interviewing for graduate roles and junior roles within the bank. But they were also not asking for resumes at all. In fact, they didn't even care if the candidate had or hadn't gone to university. Which for prestigious universities like Monash, for example, it would be a real game-changer because the reputation of the degree didn't matter for that bank.    

Brooke: That's absolutely right. In the candidate attraction and recruitment, it is much more common to have what they would call like a sort of a diagnostic test that measures things like your abstract reasoning and other kinds of psychometric tests so that what they're looking for is actually underlying capability against what they're recruiting for. Whether it's things like numeracy, abstract and critical thinking, or some of your other skillsets, that's all done usually on a digital platform, and then they follow that up with video interviews. So I think you're right, they're less concerned about your credentials and more interested in the actual skills that you can demonstrate through various tests.                

Renata: I have a feeling that the face recognition was trying to test and validate some of like Martin Seligman's findings on positive psychology about smile and all of that. But it was, can I disclaimer here? It was a pilot that hadn't been completely adopted by the bank. They were trialing things, and they were trying to see if it would make a difference. But the early results that they had that year, it was implemented in tests. It was really good in terms of candidates coming to the first day of the job as opposed to candidates out and not even appearing on the first day.                 

Brooke: Yeah. Well, with any job, I mean, any good recruitment, and this is what I tell candidates, people who are looking for new jobs, it's really about finding the right match. And the more authentic you are, the more that you are on top of self-awareness about your unique skills and what you can offer to an organization. So what you're talking about, those sorts of nonverbal clues - how you will communicate will ensure your confidence will come across. But as we said, it's sometimes a bit harder when there's technology or a video that feels like it's in the way. So the more comfortable you get both with yourself and in your ability to express yourself, both non-verbally and verbally, the better off you'll be in any kind of interview situation. But I guess it's so critical for every person looking for a job to really think to themselves, is this the right match for me as well as for the employer. Job satisfaction happens when there is a right match between both the candidate and the employer. And the more we can do to make that happen successfully, the better.      

Renata: That's great. And Brooke, you have such great experience for such a long period of time working with students in higher education and helping them with business education and career development. What are your thoughts and ideas about jobs in the future? The partnership between employee and employer to have you sort of reflecting on that in recent months. And do you have any ideas that you would like to share with us?              

Brooke: Sure. I think jobs in the future; it's such a big topic. I suppose what I always encourage people to do is try to increase their awareness of the offer to unite what's out there. The best way to do that is by asking people who are working to have an informal conversation, that what's going on in your organization? What are the jobs that are being advertised? What are the kinds of skills that are needed in your area of work? And tell me what jobs are available. So I think finding out about opportunities and also asking for referrals is essential. Like, tell me more about people, just really need to ask more about what's out there. And of course looking at the job ads, you can get an idea of what are some popular areas. And then there are some excellent online tools like the job outlook information that the government produces, provides a steer on the jobs of the future, and where some growth happens.    

Brooke: So I think some of that's underutilized. And in any case, the jobs of the future are going to need both some technical skills but even more importantly, the ability to be agile, to be able to communicate, to learn, to adapt, change and contribute what you know. So I think there are some great tools both from your network to find out where the jobs are from? Online research and documentation that's available. But it all goes back to how you pursue and find out about opportunities. And that's what I think is sometimes frustrating. People don't sort of ask enough questions or even find out from their friends and family what's going on in the workplace.            

Renata: No, I'm so happy that you mentioned that. I was just sort of developing the program that I'm going to run in January. And there is a second week where the homework is to go out and research as many job ads as you can. Not in your region or sector, but basically, everything that you enjoy, and that sort of catches your eye and search for things that are outside the box and then use that as developing your future career planning. You're not applying for the jobs; you're just using the job ads to research the market. And I think there's a lot that you can learn by just doing that.     

Brooke: Yes. And I think it goes back to the critical principles of managing a career, and the issue of "we want employability for life, not just to be employed" and that relies on having high self-awareness. So what are you good at? What are your skills? How are you unique, and what can you deliver? So being self-aware and knowing what opportunities are out there. And then that last thing about how to successfully connect with employers or even more so these days, creating your employment or your own work. I mean, that's just as important as many people aren't just looking for jobs. They're creating their own businesses and being entrepreneurial in their approach to seeking work. And I think that that's another real trend that we're already seeing, people have to do their own work as well.     

Renata: The freelancer and the gig economy. Yeah.

Brooke: Absolutely. And of course, there's positives and negatives about those things, but it really suits many people.          

Renata: Yes. Well, you're right, there's so much. We started with video interviews, and we went on a little bit of a tangent there, but I couldn't help myself. Thank you for being such a sport and two extra questions.              

Renata: Hello, everyone. I hope you enjoyed listening to Brooke. She is so enthusiastic and has such great zest for everything she does. It's really a pleasure listening to her, isn't it? I've known Brooke for almost 20 years now, and a personal story with Brooke is that she gave me my first small job at noble university back in 2001, and that really opened up a whole bunch of opportunities for me. So I'm forever grateful to Brooke for giving me that opportunity. She's fantastic. All right, so check the show notes for all the links and the information about the Job Hunting Made Simple, and I will see you or actually talk to you next week. Bye!

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