Video Interviews Are Here to Stay

Episode 234 - How to Present Yourself in Video Interviews

Guest: Michael Smith

Play Video

Are you feeling apprehensive about transitioning to video interviews? You’re not alone. Many seasoned professionals find themselves out of their comfort zone in this digital-first approach. However, video interviews offer a unique opportunity to showcase your charisma, professionalism, and the unique qualities that make you the perfect fit for the role.

Video interviews are a new staple in modern recruitment processes. So, in this podcast episode, Michael Smith, CMO of UseVerb, explains the significance of adopting video formats as a strategy to stand out in the competitive job market, offering practical advice on making this platform work for you.

Understanding the Shift to Video Interviews

Video interviews have become a pivotal point for candidates aiming to make a strong impression beyond their paper resumes. This shift toward digital presences has reshaped the way candidates showcase their professionalism, charisma, and personal attributes, directly impacting their career progression.

Video interviews offer a unique platform for candidates to express their qualifications and personality simultaneously, a crucial advantage when written resumes may not capture the full spectrum of a candidate’s abilities. Michael Smith, the Chief Marketing Officer of UseVerb, sheds light on this trend, emphasizing the importance of embracing video interviews as a medium to stand out in a competitive job market.

The Challenge for Experienced Professionals: Best Practices for Video Interviews

For seasoned professionals, adapting to video interviews can be daunting. Unlike traditional interviews or newer formats like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, video interviews require speaking directly to a camera, which can feel impersonal or restrictive. However, these challenges also present an opportunity to showcase one’s adaptability and communication skills in a modern digital format.

Achieving effectiveness in video interviews involves more than just answering questions. It requires a strategic presentation of your professional persona and a conscious effort to communicate your value succinctly.

Here is what you can do to help you present well in video interviews:

  • Technical Setup: Ensure your camera and audio are of good quality. This means checking that your camera is at eye level, the lighting is flattering, and the background is professional and non-distracting.
  • Set up Your Space for The Video Interview: Choose a quiet, well-lit room without distractions. Make sure your background is neutral and clutter-free. The camera should be at eye level and your face well-lit, avoiding strong lights behind you. Dress as professionally as you would for an in-person interview.
  • Show Your Personality: Convey your personality by being enthusiastic and expressive. Make sure to smile, maintain eye contact by looking at the camera, and be genuine in your responses to show your true self. 
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Rehearse your responses to typical interview questions. This helps in delivering clear and concise answers during the actual interview.
  • Introduction: Start with a brief introduction. State your name, your professional background, and what drives you in your career. This sets the tone and gives a personal touch right from the start.
  • Highlight Key Achievements: Focus on your achievements that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Use specific examples that demonstrate your skills and successes.
  • Address the Role and Company: Show that you have done your homework by mentioning something specific about the company or the role that excites you. This demonstrates genuine interest.
  • Concluding Your Video: Conclude your video interview by thanking the interviewer for their time, reiterating your interest in the position, and asking about the next steps. This shows your enthusiasm for the job and professionalism.

Navigating Common Pitfalls

  • Overcoming Camera Shyness: Being in front of a camera can be nerve-wracking for many. It’s essential to practice speaking directly to the camera and think of it as conversing with the interviewer. This practice helps reduce anxiety and improves your delivery.
  • Avoiding Technical Issues: Prior to recording, conduct a thorough check of your equipment. Any technical malfunction during the actual interview could be distracting and potentially detrimental to the impression you leave.
  • Keeping It Professional: While it’s important to show personality, maintaining professionalism is key. Dress as you would for an in-person interview and ensure your language and demeanor reflect your professionalism.

Leveraging Video Interviews for Career Advancement

Video interviews are more than just a trend; they are becoming a staple in the hiring process, particularly in fields that value innovation and adaptability. For candidates in highly competitive markets, video interviews offer a platform to highlight one’s unique value proposition directly to potential employers. As the hiring process evolves, so must our strategies for securing our next jobs. For now, video interviews present a unique chance to blend traditional interview tactics with the dynamic range of digital media. Embracing this format will enable you to display your adaptability and significantly enhance your visibility in the job market.

Other Topics Addressed in This Episode

  • Dealing with identity and fulfillment in one’s career: We discussed the challenge of finding personal fulfillment in a job beyond titles and financial rewards, a concern for many mid-career professionals.
  • Adapting to new job application processes: We covered modern hiring processes, including video interviewing, which is particularly relevant for those uncomfortable with this increasingly common practice.
  • The importance of personal connections in career advancement: There’s a focus on leveraging personal relationships and networking for career progression, which could interest those looking to expand their professional network.
  • Understanding new trends in job searching and recruitment: The discussion around UseVerb, a platform for video interviewing, offers an understanding of how job searching and recruitment are changing, particularly important for those struggling to adapt to digital recruitment methods.
  • Advice on personal development and self-assessment in career planning: Our conversation touched on the importance of self-reflection and understanding one’s own values and goals in the context of career development.

About UseVerb

Over the last few years we have observed the emergence of video interview platforms, and the adoption of these platforms by employers and recruiters. UseVerb is a platform that integrates video into the hiring process. It addresses a critical gap where traditional hiring processes often overlook the human elements of potential hires. By allowing candidates to present a short video alongside their applications, platforms like UseVerb enable a more dynamic interaction between the job seeker and the employer. Click here to learn more about UseVerb.

About Our Guest, Michael Smith

Michael is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the Oil and Gas industry, having contributed to giants like Woodside, Conoco Phillips, and Shell. His career has taken him across the globe, from Major Projects to Operations and Maintenance roles. At the core of his world is his family – his wife, Bec, and their three children, Matty, Jake, and Livy, not to forget Coco, the family’s beloved dog. After years of chasing titles and success as defined by conventional standards, a profound realization dawned on Michael. True success, he discovered, lies beyond material gains. It’s about impact, purpose, and authenticity. This was a turning point, leading him to a path less traveled but more fulfilling and this is what lead him to UseVerb. At UseVerb, Michael found an alignment of values and vision. The platform’s emphasis on personal elements like smiles and handshakes, and its commitment to seeing the best in people, mirrored his beliefs. It’s a place where human interactions are not just facilitated but celebrated. Today, Michael stands at the forefront of UseVerb, ready to lead with a philosophy that prioritizes people over resumes. His passion for creating meaningful connections, his belief in the power of a simple smile or a firm handshake, fuels his journey at UseVerb.com. This tech company is not just a workplace; it’s a movement towards a more humane and connected professional world.
Renata Bernarde

About the Host, Renata Bernarde

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.

 

If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.

 

In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients

What is the best way to prepare for a video interview?

Prepare for a video interview by ensuring your technology works correctly, your interview space is clean and professional, and you have practiced your answers. Dress as professionally as you would for an in-person interview.

How should I set up my space for a video interview?

Choose a quiet, well-lit room without distractions. Make sure your background is neutral and clutter-free. The camera should be at eye level and your face well-lit, avoiding strong lights behind you.

What are some common technical issues during video interviews and how can I avoid them?

Common issues include poor internet connection, bad lighting, or audio problems. Test your equipment and internet speed before the interview, use headphones to improve sound quality, and ensure your room is well-lit with natural or soft light.

How can I show my personality in a video interview?

Convey your personality by being enthusiastic and expressive. Make sure to smile, maintain eye contact by looking at the camera, and be genuine in your responses to show your true self.

What are some tips for closing a video interview effectively?

Conclude your video interview by thanking the interviewer for their time, reiterating your interest in the position, and asking about the next steps. This shows your enthusiasm for the job and professionalism.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Timestamps to Guide Your Listening

  • 00:59 Mike Smith’s Background and Journey 

  • 01:54 From Engineering to Chief Marketing Officer: Mike’s Career Evolution 

  • 04:19 The Shift from Oil and Gas to Marketing: A Personal Transformation 

  • 05:35 Embracing Change and Finding Purpose Beyond Titles 

  • 06:29 The Power of Personal Connections in Career Transitions 

  • 14:51 Introducing UseVerb: Revolutionizing the Hiring Process 

  • 15:15 Navigating Video Interviews: Challenges and Opportunities 

  • 23:03 Rehumanizing Recruitment in the Digital Age 

  • 25:53 Navigating Bias in Recruitment with Video Interviews 

  • 25:56 Overcoming Performance Bias in Hiring 

  • 27:00 The Power of Video in Showcasing Personality 

  • 30:47 Enhancing Recruitment with AI and Authenticity 

  • 32:03 Best Practices for Creating Effective Short Videos 

  • 35:49 Feedback from Employers and the Impact on Recruitment 

  • 42:20 Addressing Common Concerns and Misconceptions 

  • 48:17 Final Thoughts and Encouragement 

Renata Bernarde: Mike, have you always lived in Perth? You have?

Michael Smith: Yeah, I have, but I’m well-traveled. I’ve been here, there, everywhere. I was actually born in Houston, Texas, which is a little bit of a mixed bag. I was born in America. My dad was working for an oil and gas company, and he came over to Perth to drill the first well for Woodside, a big oil and gas company here.

Uh, he found the Rankin Trend, but my dad’s from Wales, and my mom’s from London. She was raised in Rhodesia. Then, my grandfather’s from Liverpool, my nonna is from Libya, her mom’s from Sicily, and her dad’s from Malta. So, I’m a bit of a mixed bag.

Renata Bernarde: Indeed! It’s awesome to learn a bit about your origin. I couldn’t find much about you online. I’m a bit of a stalker when I’m preparing for interviews, trying to find out about my guests, but there’s not much written about you. So, I wanted you to tell me how you became the Chief Marketing Officer for UseVerb.

Michael Smith: Well, how far back do you want me to go? UseVerb is actually owned and operated by a very close friend of mine, Paul Jukar. We’ve been drinking buddies since we were 17, and we’ve definitely hit the market at a point where he was going to serve his career path, which was in mechatronics, robotics, and those sorts of things.

And I was into the engineering space, but we had quite a rapport with each other. Once we got on with it, I got into the oil and gas game and went down that road. He went and did his thing, but I’ll bring the story back together at the end. We’ve always held each other in high regard, and Paul’s a bit like the Elon Musk of Perth.

He’s very much a top 40 under 40, which is a quite distinguishable award. He’s been engineer of the year twice, won the Ernst & Young award, so he’s always ten steps ahead of everyone. It’s always interesting to see what he’s doing, and it’s cutting-edge and those sorts of things. But very much in my early days…

I did a trade. I had a trade background as a mechanical fitter and did an engineering degree, which sort of complemented my path in engineering. Prior to that, I was looking at civil engineering, and before that, architecture. I’ve always had a fascination for how things go together.

As a kid, I was always pulling things apart and putting them back together, often with missing pieces. But I’ve transferred that into the way I deal with people. How do people go together? Going further down that road, in the oil and gas industry, I worked for many of the giants, traveling the world, looking at oil and gas contracts, working on FPSOs, gas platforms, gas sites.

I’ve been everywhere from Malaysia, the Philippines, France, parts of South America, and parts of Australia, along the coast of Australia. Basically, providing service in project managing major contracts, moving into Shell, and my latest venture, which was working for one of the largest gas facilities in the world.

It was like a mammoth, 500 meters long, floating in the ocean. It cost 22 billion to build. And when operating, it made a lot of money. It was like a petrol station on water, taking gas out of the ground, processing it, refrigerating it, removing the solids, and then exporting it.

But to get to the end of that, I mean, after 22 years, I got to a point where I was doing that, Renata, and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. As I mention in my profile, you end up chasing egos and titles. People often look to you and ask, “What do you do?”

Michael Smith: It’s like an identity. It’s not about how you are or who you are, but rather, “What do you do?” That concept, from a young age, defined me. I thought, I’ve got to get better, bigger, and it came with a comfortable salary, plenty of opportunities to travel, and lots of support for living the good life. But internally, it just wasn’t fulfilling. It was just doing the nine to five, pushing projects, trying to be better. And then, a friend of mine said to me one day, “What are you going to do after work? Who are you without that title?”

It really got into my head. What am I without saying I work for Shell, for the biggest oil and gas company in the world, and that I’m upper management, leading teams? It’s like, “Yeah, what am I without that?” It gets back to the roots of who do I want to be? As a child, you dream of being an astronaut, a pilot, or a fireman. We seem to forget that along the journey. It really grounded me, especially during that COVID period when we were entering a new normal, where normal wasn’t normal anymore.

The world slowed down to a pace where you start questioning, “Why do we do what we do?” Having time to reflect, which I think is so important, was something I took out of COVID. Just creating space to think at the end of the day, compartmentalize, let everything slow down, and find coping mechanisms for relaxation and perspective. That helped me excel in what I’m doing now. Coming out of that, the company went through a bit of a reshape. There was an opportunity for some expat work overseas and some sites over on the east coast of Australia. I said to my wife, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

She was like, “What are you doing? This is crazy. You’ve worked all this way, and it’s just going to be thrown away.” But it really comes back to what motivates you, where your passion comes from, what gets you out of bed. Then, catching up with Paul, as we regularly did, I said, “I’m thinking about leaving Shell.” And he’s like, “Great. You can finally come and work for me.” It was a perfectly timed opportunity. He had always wanted me to work with him in his ventures.

We’ve got a really good working relationship, and that led to something where he said, “Mike, I don’t need what you are, I need who you are.” It confirmed all of that understanding about identity and purpose. Where someone sees you for who you are and says, “I can take who you are into the next venture. That’s what I need to build my business.” It’s not what you are, which is what a lot of people put on paper, right?

Renata Bernarde: You’re so good at what you do, and you’re doing so well. We have that internal feeling and the external validation that confirms who we are as professionals. But the reality is, how long did you stay in oil and gas?

Michael Smith: 22 years. That’s what I did for 22 years. It’s a long time, you know, and maybe half a century ago, that would be an entire career. Then you’d retire, go fishing, or whatever. Now, we don’t have the luxury of thinking like that.

Renata Bernarde: We have to work longer; we’re going to live longer, and consequently, we will work longer. So, we can’t allow ourselves the luxury of sticking to one path, of not switching gears, changing routes, and seeking out different things. Why would we want to do the same thing forever? Some of us just don’t have the personality to stick to one career for our entire lives. Good on you for recognizing that.

Michael Smith: Yeah, and just on the back of that, sometimes you give people the authority to validate you, and you can chase that in your industry or with people around you. It’s really important to know who you are before you approach these people, because it can create a behavior where you feel the need to be validated by those around you and those you work with. That can lead to a toxic pursuit of happiness, trying to let circumstances define who you are. So, when things are good, they’re good, but when they’re taken away, you’re left with figuring out who you are in that process. It’s important to have people you can journey with, who give you good counsel.

So, I didn’t make this decision rashly. There was an idea here that I needed to unpack. By unpacking it, I started to look at the pros and cons. It wasn’t a sudden decision of, “Hey, babe, I’m not going to work tomorrow.” It was a conversation about what it looks like. It’s good to entertain that idea and get to a point where you make that final investment decision. Don’t always see an idea as something scary; it might be something inside you leading you down a path that connects more with who you are than what you are.

Renata Bernarde: And now your title is Chief Marketing Officer. How did you transition from a completely different expertise into this new world?

Michael Smith: Yeah, so, um, look, we have a motto on the back of our shirts: “Speak Life.” I live and breathe that. Life’s about people, connections, relationships. As I said at the start, I love pulling things apart. I love deconstructing conversations, getting deep with people. Even though I’m very much an extrovert, I’ve got that Italian blood, and I’m good in company. But I like depth to people; I really like to build rapport and relationships.

But coming from that contrast, engineer versus CMO, that gave me a bit of paper saying I knew something about something. A lot of people find this as they transition out of their studies; you sometimes never come back to it unless you pursue that path. But being able to deliver through people, I understood I was good at leading teams, working with people, getting the best out of them. I always saw people in business as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. If you can get all the pieces in the right position, you create a great picture. It’s about the team and getting the output. You start to understand that if you get the right people in a room, they can make the right decisions.

Michael Smith: We can build a beautiful picture here and get a great outcome. But that became one of my giftings, just knowing how to get the best out of people. I personally believe everyone has something great inside them and they’ve got to show the world. Don’t hide it, because what you’re selling is unique; you are replaceable in terms of your skillset, but not in who you are.

That’s the precious commodity we have, something we need to speak into the marketplace: “You need me because of this. This is what I bring.” So, with all that, it elevated me into opportunities within the industry to facilitate and coordinate large teams and communities, direct teams, and create disciplines of work and outcomes that would serve the agenda or the outcome of what could look like on a platform, which was the asset to cash-producing gas.

We’ve got resources. My resources are my people. I’ve got to deliver through them. They’re the tools on the coalface. “What can I do to help, serve, support you?” That was the part of moving up the corporate game, being a good communicator, and being able to present that picture. Not just focusing on the assets and systems or ways of working, but understanding that people are the most important part of any business.

It just elevated me, and I had the opportunity to become the president of the social club. My nickname was Magic Mike. But just in the sense of bringing the magic, bringing people together, and changing the whole fabric of the business because we saw the people behind the work.

And once you start validating that and seeing that and connecting with different parts of the business, leadership, families, and community, people are like, “This is a good thing.” So, that transferred very much into what I’m doing at UseVerb, where Paul’s like, “I just need you, Michael, because you create atmospheres; you bring this magic.” It’s not self-seeking; it’s just, “Hey, look, Renata, you’re beautiful, you’re an amazing person. If we can start speaking life into people, do you know what, you get an amplified output,” and that’s what we’re trying to do with UseVerb. So, moving into this part where Paul says, “I just need someone that can bring the magic.”

He saw what I had, which was the value and potential and purpose that I have to speak into the marketplace, but it’s just amplifying his business and taking it where it needs to go into this next season.

Renata Bernarde: Yeah, I think the benefit of working with people you know, and who know you so well, is that they can facilitate those transitions. It’s much easier to transition out of one expertise into another in the startup world than, say, if you had applied for a role in a large company. People might not see the potential because they don’t know you. It’s hard to sell yourself in such situations. But in an SME or startup with people who understand all the different aspects of you, not just your qualifications on paper, it’s possible to make that transition.

Michael Smith: It’s an authority, a warm lead. It’s why even the first time we go for a job is crucial. My first job was at a supermarket. Dad said, “You want the job? Okay, go brush your hair, brush your teeth, put on a clean shirt, and go tell that man why he should hire you.”

It’s always been that mindset. It’s a privilege to have a job because someone sees value in you. When you turn up, it’s like, “That’s what I need for my business.” The authority we carry is so important. Letting people have confidence in who we are is why referrals work.

Michael Smith: It’s just like, “Well, I trust you, Renata. If you’re going to introduce me to someone else, or I’m going to introduce you to someone else, it’s like, ‘Well, I trust Michael, so I’ll trust you.’” So, you’re carrying that authority, which is what we want. And that’s only built through relationships.

Renata Bernarde: Yeah, no, that’s exactly right. And I guess all of these concepts do translate into the business you work for now, right? Because UseVerb is this platform that includes video interviewing as part of the job application process, allowing candidates to show their true colors and showcase their motivation and energy.

From a candidate’s perspective, especially those targeted by this podcast – experienced professionals in their mid-30s, 40s, 50s, and more – they are a bit wary of video interviewing, especially the sort of format where they’re speaking straight to the camera and not interacting with someone, like in a Zoom or Teams interview. Speaking straight to the camera is quite new and novel for many, even young professionals. I mentioned before we started recording that I have two sons in their mid-twenties, and I wasn’t sure how well they would do in video interviews. Tell me, where did this concept come from, and how has it been received?

Michael Smith: Traditional hiring processes were taking way too long, and people were missing out on opportunities to get an interview because they weren’t impressive on paper. Companies were also spending too much time processing all this information and potentially missing out on great candidates.

As for the origin of the idea, I mentioned earlier about Paul’s successful robotics company pre-GSC. It was around 2010-2012, I think. He had an amazing opportunity for people to come and work for him. He was the latest and greatest, securing major contracts with FMG and other mining companies, entering that ‘hockey stick’ phase of growth. Everyone wanted to work with him because it was cool; it was robotics.

He actually had a thousand people show up at his workshop. He thought, “This is awesome, but I don’t have time to meet you all.” That initial eagerness was great, but his time was precious. He couldn’t meet everyone without rushing through. He realized that if he had a short video introduction from each person, he could better understand their talents because they were all engineers. But where were the innovators, the bright spots, the big thinkers? Everyone can crunch numbers, but he was looking for disruptors.

He took this idea to San Francisco, tested it with companies like Under Armour, American Express, and Johnson & Johnson, even had a presale to the Super Bowl. They loved it. It streamlined the hiring process, saving them from reading through piles of resumes. It’s like preferring to watch the movie rather than read the book – it gave candidates a chance to stand out. So, he brought it back to Perth, and for the last few years, we’ve been developing it quietly. Paul’s bootstrapped a lot of it, and that’s the beauty of the product. We’re not entangled with VCs and seed funding.

Michael Smith: “We’re doing this the right way and giving people an opportunity to shine. But what the product does now, moving forward into where we are, is this: People come to us saying, ‘I’m not comfortable doing video.’ And I’m like, well, there are some people who aren’t great on paper. So, all we’re offering is a more well-rounded hiring process that allows companies to see the people behind the paper. For the interview, you get to meet all of your applicants, spending less time in the interview process. What we’re finding, even with introverts, is that they can feel uncomfortable walking into an interview. As I said, even with my job at Shell, it took me five and a half months to be recruited.

And look, I don’t know. I understand what goes through your head during that time. It’s like, ‘I’ll do anything you want. I’ll be anyone you want me to be.’ And when you’re waiting for something to validate you, to show you who you are over that period, thinking, ‘Am I going to get the job?’ And as a company, you’ve got to put your job ad up on SEEK.

You’ve got to apply to it. Then you write your resume and send it in. Then you have to look at it. And I don’t know. Some recruiters only look at those resumes for six seconds because they’ve got a thousand people to shortlist. And all you’re looking at is a piece of paper.

Now, if I was looking at someone who wasn’t great on paper, and I watched a short video, we’re moving into a video iteration. It’s very timely with what we’re doing. And I know that there’s discomfort, but there’s also curiosity because there’s something in that. It shows us more points of data.

If you can’t get to the interview, you’re never going to have a chance to show people who you really are. You won’t get to show them your attitude, your charisma, your personality, how you turn up, how you approach things. Now, if I wrote on a piece of paper, ‘Michael works really well in teams, he’s driven, works autonomously,’ you know what? That’s what the other guy or girl has written. And there’s no way of differentiating between the two.

Now, if I’ve got a short video that says, ‘Hey Renata, nice to meet you. My name is Michael. I’ve got about 22 years in the oil and gas industry. I love working with teams. I get the best out of teams. But I also understand how to build maintenance systems and get the best out of people. Looking at the assets and the resources…’ You’re seeing so much more in the video. And your gut is telling you something. Your gut’s going, ‘You know what? There’s more to this person than that piece of paper.’

I want to know them. I want to meet them. So, if we can give people that opportunity just to show themselves and sell themselves, to get to the interview and not miss out, I think we’re going to get on the other side of that confidence barrier where we’re not worried about what people think of us. They’re actually going to like who you are.”

Renata Bernarde: “Yeah, I love that. I agree with a hundred percent of everything you said, and I want to add a few more things that I’ve seen as a coach. I usually deal with middle and senior management. And some recruiters, both in Australia and overseas, are adding a short video as part of the application process, right?

And that puts my clients off. They often don’t like it. When they think of themselves as introverts, they use that as an excuse. I find that really interesting because I know for a fact that a lot of the amazing YouTubers out there are introverts. You probably know this as well. These people who are doing super well on video are actually introverts and they started YouTubing and doing all of these things because they were sort of socially adept at going out into the world. So, you can be great on video, even if you’re an introvert. That is not an excuse. The other thing that I thought was really interesting is that this sort of coincided…”

Renata Bernarde: “Or it happened because of the pandemic. In fact, I haven’t asked recruiters about this, but I should. What it provided was this idea of, ‘Okay, you want to work remotely. You want to lead teams remotely. You want to engage with your colleagues in a hybrid work environment. We need to see you on video because that is part of leading and collaborating and working in this sort of flexible work environment that so many of us now aspire to.’ So, yes, if you don’t feel comfortable yet, just go back. I have not removed any videos from my YouTube channel. Just go back to my first videos. They are awful, and I want them to be there, and I want them to look awful.

Because frankly, that’s how it should be. It should be an evolution, incrementally getting better. Ideally, people would then practice before they do their short video or any video. They can practice by themselves first. That’s what we do in my coaching process.

So, have you heard these things before? Do you agree with what I’m saying? I’d love to get your views.”

Michael Smith: “Looking at digitization, like with social media on Pinterest, I’ve got an idea. On Facebook, I’ve built relationships. Everything is trying to digitize or, let’s say, we’re living in a highly connected world, but we’re so relationally disconnected. We’re putting in place processes where people don’t hire people anymore. It’s a system that is going through an ATS or some AI analytics, and it’s losing that personal touch. I mean, back in the day, I mean, we had a gentleman, Tony Galati. He’s a bit of a small business king here in WA, with Spud Shed. Some of your listeners might know him, but he’s a disruptor in the market, going up against Woolies and Coles with about 20 stores and big farms. He’s quite a man about town that believes in community. He was telling me last week, ‘I used to love it when people would rock up to the farm and say, “Hey, Tony. My name is Michael. I need a job.” “Cool. You want to work? Absolutely. Come and join me.”‘ But what he was doing is seeing that they’re turning up and they’re showing what they have, which is them and the right attitude. ‘I can work with that,’ he would say.

And they turned out to be great employees. And if they didn’t work out, you let them go after a week. But what we’ve done with this social recruiting or social profiling is we’ve lost the ability to relate. We used to walk into a store and say, ‘Hey, can I speak to the owner?’ Nowadays, when people say they’re busy, they don’t have time. We need to get our time back because we shouldn’t be busy. We should be giving people our time, as that is our resource. That’s how we connect with people. That’s how people feel valued. I mean, I’m so grateful to have your time, Renata, and to be invited onto your show. There’s something in that. It’s like, ‘Hey, you’ve got my time,’ and that’s the deposit I leave with you.

But if we’re now going through this tech age, where we’ve swung so hard that we’ve become so fake, we’re trying to find all these ways to produce and create what is not real, like AI. And it has its place, don’t get me wrong. We’ve got a bit of AI in our job description section of our platform, and it works. But we’ve got to get back to that part where we’re trying to rehumanize recruitment, trying to give that personal touch back, which is authenticity. So, when you’re doing that video, it’s like, ‘This is me.’ And do you know what? When companies see that, they’re like, ‘That’s what I want. There’s the attitude I want to see. There’s the person I want coming to work for me.’ And they’re like, ‘There’s hope.’ Because when they just read another piece of paper that’s been written by ChatGPT, even if it’s not, they don’t know. It’s a really hard way to differentiate who wants the job and who doesn’t. It’s just wasting our time.”

Michael Smith: “And I think there’s just too much apathy in the market. We need to get into productivity and start helping the right people, who actually want to come and work for you, have a way of standing out and showing you who they really are. We need to disrupt the market and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going to help us get on with business. It’s going to save you time, give you non-productive time back, and get people into jobs where they can help grow your business.’ It’s a win-win situation.

Renata Bernarde: “Yeah, alright. I agree with all of that. But now, I want to throw a sort of devil’s advocate question at you, a contrarian view. One of the issues that I have, not just with video but with the interview format in general, is a concern I’ve experienced in my career. For example, when you’re trying to hire amazing engineers like Paul did for his previous business, and you set up either an interview or a video format as part of your recruitment process, how do you then avoid the bias we have for great performers? You know, people that perform well might be extroverted or know how to use the medium of video or job interviewing really well. But that’s not who you necessarily need. Like, if you want an awkward engineer who is a genius but doesn’t show up well on video or in job interviews, how do you correct for that?

Michael Smith: “I get this question a lot, actually. Yes, you’re going to have people that are not good in person, but it also gives them the opportunity to present themselves. We all have biases, whether we admit it or not. We do it when we shortlist, whether we’re open to that or not, it requires education. Now, if you’re hiring people based on what they look like and how they sound and they don’t work out, you might think, ‘Hey, I’m missing a trick here.’ Let’s bring that back into the fold, because that’s what we’ve done in building these processes that shortlist through ATS; we know what we’re looking for. So, there is an educational part there. But all we’re offering is more points of data. We are not bypassing due diligence. We’re just allowing people to become the cover letter. You can still write a cover letter. You still need to submit your resume. All we say is personality first, resume second. You still need both.

So, it’s not to void and say, ‘I’m only hiring people that look good, sound good.’ But there’s something inside of us that, when we read something and when we see something, it gives us an understanding and an authority. It’s the same way that someone says, ‘I’m really good at golf,’ or ‘I’m really good at swimming,’ or ‘I’m really good at math.’ It’s like, great, it’s all written down. Now show me. And this is what we’re doing with it. You need to show me. You can’t just tell someone how good you are. Even if you’re someone that lands rockets. Do a quick little video explaining a problem-solving method or how you would approach something. It’s not so much about being the cover letter but a way of saying, ‘Hey, we want to meet you. But what we’d love to know in just 30 seconds or less is how would you tackle this problem?’

So, you again take information. Now, if I asked someone to send in a 30-page document on how to land rockets on Mars with a certain angle, I’d be like, ‘I don’t even understand this.’ There’s too much time spent doing due diligence. So I think we’ve got to really get back to what we see in people and connect that with the information. We shouldn’t just look at the contrast and say, ‘Well, there’s a bias here or there’s not.’ And that might sound like you’re being a little bit tokenistic.”

Michael Smith: “Look, at the end of the day, if you’re hiring people based on paper and they’re not working out for you because you’ve just spent all that time, or they do work out and it’s the cost of a bad hire, which involves six months of training and then they leave anyway, something’s not right. We’re not connecting with the results and there’s something missing.

So, all we’re doing is offering a fresh new approach and perspective, saying, ‘Hey, why don’t you start looking at people and seeing who they are?’ Because the people applying to these jobs are like, ‘Finally, that was easy. You actually saw who I was,’ and they’re able to back that up. And the employers are going, ‘Wow, these people are amazing.’ We had one gentleman, a teacher looking for some side work, who walked into a retail supermarket situation. The old way for him would have been, ‘I’ve got to write up a resume, I’ve got to put all the paperwork together, I just don’t have time.’ So, he just did a quick little video, applied to the actual store owner, and within a week, he was in that job. He found the application process through our platform really nice. You still have to put in other information, but please don’t think we’re bypassing that. You still need to do your due diligence as a company, you still need to do your background checks. But what it does is, it’s like the ‘Where’s Wally?’ book. You’re looking for Wally in a sea of people. He’s this silly character with a funny hat and a stick, stands out, right? But against everyone else, he’s hard to find. So, what we’re doing is a way of just giving you a lens to say, ‘Hey, here I am. I really want this job.’ And if you really want it, you’re going to put in that effort that makes you stand out. Why not just add a video to show people who you really are?

Renata Bernarde: “Yeah, I agree with that. I really like what you said about more points of data. That’s a perfect answer to my question. In talking about data, you mentioned that part of your system does include some AI as well. So, I’m wondering if, in your system, UseVerb, the video is also reviewed by AI, or is it just for human analysis?

Michael Smith: “Definitely, it’s about the personality. It’s totally authentic. It’s the last bit that’s sort of real. You have to do the video to apply for the job, and it’s received by the actual hiring manager who views that video.

Renata Bernarde: “Does it involve things like analysis of facial expressions and body language?

Michael Smith: “I don’t like cheating the system because, as my mom always told me, everything you cheat always catches up with you. Just do it right the first time, do it well, do it with excellence. And look, if you really want to know me, I’m actually a very lazy person, but I love process. I always know that when I put my name on something, I put my brand on it. So, it’s very important that when I put my name on something, people know that I get it done well and I do it right the first time. I just don’t want to do it twice.

Renata Bernarde: “So, in terms of how you prep the candidate for using the platform, right? Tell me, what do you think people need to do to record, let’s say, a 30-second video, like the one required by UseVerb? It seems like a very short video. I would be a little bit anxious trying to pack a lot into 30 seconds. What are the instructions or best practices you think people should follow for these short videos?”

Michael Smith: “Well, on the back of the whole user platform, we have this ‘Job Search Secrets’ course, which is really just a playbook. It brings in all the conventional methods, like how to construct resumes, how to look at company culture, how to incorporate that into your application, how to take offers, navigate questions, and how to write scripts for clinical, professional responses. These are the sort of questions you might get in an interview, including panel assessments and the structure they use. So, it guides users on what to do next at each point in the process. But it also leads into the old way of hiring, while still offering a playbook that talks through the process all the way into three months into the job, setting goals, and what you might be walking into.

In terms of the actual video, there’s a really nice interface in the UseVerb JobSeeker app. Once you find a job, which might be through a QR code or a scan link, you can even apply to jobs that aren’t on our UseVerb JobBoards and send them a ‘verb’, which is the video, and it produces your resume. To answer your question on navigation, there’s a really user-friendly workflow interface that just asks for your phone number, email, and whether you have a resume. If yes, you attach it. If not, it helps you create one. Fill in the about section, tell about your talents, experience, achievements, education, skills, and then comes the video section. It prompts you to say hello and introduce yourself. One of our video teams has put together a nice video that says, ‘Hey, go and introduce yourself. Tell people why you should come and work for them.’ And there’s a structured way to use the app. There’s a teleprompter in there. The way you record a video is by holding your finger on the record button, and then taking your finger off to create a short form video. So, for people who aren’t fluent in speaking for 30 seconds and are like, ‘I don’t know what to say next’, you can literally go, ‘Hey, my name’s Michael. Nice to meet you.’ Take your finger off, then continue, ‘Let me tell you a little bit about myself and my background.’ What it does is starts to stitch the video together. This is all patent-pending tech that we’ve developed. It offers a video that puts together a short form, like TikTok for jobs, but in a really authentic way, helping people see who you are.

You’ve got a nice way of following a teleprompter that you’ve written, the camera picks up your eyes, and you’re just reading off the script. You can turn the camera around to show them things about yourself, depending on the job. If it’s outdoors, show them outdoors; if it’s for engineering, show them a project car you’re working on. People want to know about your hobbies, your personality. So, you’re able to include all of that in a 27-second video that stitches it all together and becomes part of your application. When they open up the application, they see a nice little video, ‘Hey, my name’s Michael. Nice to meet you. Thank you for looking at my application. I really want to come work with you guys. I love what you’re about. I can’t wait to see you for an interview to tell you more about what I’m doing.’ It’s like, ‘Wow, okay, absolutely.’ Job ads became fun again, and we’re meeting people for the first time.

Renata Bernarde: “That’s so cool. So, based on what your clients, the employers, tell you, are there some things that they give feedback on that they really like to see in videos? So that we can tell the listeners and they can think about what that means for them? Yeah.”

Michael Smith: “What they love is to meet you. I mean, we look at paper all the time and think, ‘I don’t even know who this person is.’ Stuck in an office, I need my Friday afternoon clear. ‘Don’t bother me for four hours. I’ve got to look at all these resumes, highlight them, make phone calls, put it on my spreadsheet, do my due diligence.’ I mean, come on, it’s painful. And then, the worst thing is, after four, five, six weeks, you set up the interview for the hiring manager, and they ask, ‘Where did you get these people from?’ It might have been someone not great on paper but perfect for the role. As a recruiter, your job is to find the best person. We’re not here to take recruiters’ jobs. We’re not here to take hiring managers’ jobs. We are the tech that’s going to make their jobs easier. Imagine presenting that to your hiring manager. Their time’s precious; they want to meet them, not just look at paperwork. You can give them all that paperwork with a video. It’s like speed dating your talent pool. When the hiring managers meet these candidates, they’re like, ‘Hey, I loved your video, tell me more about yourself.’ It breaks down that initial discomfort people have when applying for a job, that feeling of ‘I hope you actually like me.’

Renata Bernarde: “Yeah.”

Michael Smith: “Let’s be real. ‘I hope you actually like me.’ If we can help people feel valued, especially in this next generation who need a lot of encouragement and confirmation, that’s great. They can practice, and when someone likes them, it’s just—it gives that opportunity to meet people wherever they’re at. We try to be too polished, too perfect, and we’re not. We’re all broken people with our flaws, but we’ve got to show that we can work with that. That’s the part I need to see. Can I trust you? One of the best things I learned in my leadership training was the trust equation.

Renata Bernarde: “Yes, tell me.”

Michael Smith: “For your viewers, there’s something inside of us that goes, ‘I trust you,’ or ‘I don’t trust you.’ It’s the gut feeling. But that’s connected to data. When we have gut feelings, we’re assessing someone, whether you’re walking into a bar or going to an interview. That’s why our verbs are 27 seconds. It’s like, ‘Do I want to invest more time in you?’ If you’ve got it, you move on. If not, ‘Sorry, I’m busy.’ We’re chasing time back. The trust equation is reputation times credibility times intimacy, divided by self-orientation. Basically, it’s asking, ‘Do you do what you say you will? Do you show you care?’ all divided by ‘What’s your motive?’ If one of those elements is missing, trust is lost. You say you’ll do something and don’t, or you don’t show you care, or your motive seems selfish—I won’t trust you. So as leaders, when we’re getting more points of data to make better assessments of people, it’s like, ‘You know what? I’ve got a good feeling about this person.’ And you can’t say that on paper.”

Michael Smith: “It’s an introduction, that’s all the paper does—it introduces you to the person. That’s a bio, whether it’s a great sports star, a chief executive officer who’s great with people, there’s something in us that says, ‘You know what? This one might work, I feel it in here.’ That was part of the success I had even when I was selected at Shell. We were down to a shortlist of two people, and the hiring manager said, ‘Look, they’re both great, but there’s something about this guy that I like.’ And that’s your gut, and you get that in the interview. So, if you can allow hiring managers and business owners to actually get the best of the bunch, instead of shortlisting based on skills and experience, you open the potential to someone who doesn’t know how to express who they are on paper. Get them into the interview, and you’ve got a very competitive workforce of people that actually want to come and work for you. And you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing.’ I think we can start getting on with things if we start seeing that in people.

Renata Bernarde: “Yeah. I understand now that the 27-second video is because your clients are busy and they can’t watch three- or five-minute videos, but how did you arrive at 27 seconds?”

Michael Smith: “It’s not actually about the client; it’s about the behavioral science of how we, as humans, assess people. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. If you Google ‘Why 27-second introduction?’, it delves into the science of how we receive and assess information. On average, it’s about 27 seconds. That’s why we chose 27 seconds. There’s enough information there, like in a cover letter. You don’t want a 10-page cover letter. If you’re receiving a long cover letter, our unconscious bias says, ‘I don’t want to read all this.’ Now, if you have one video, which might be your second stage, which is three minutes, five minutes, great, you can have those longer videos. But this is a way of speed dating your talent pool. You want the best people working for your company.

If you have a really attractive workplace and people like your brand, people now want culture. They’re not just chasing titles or job descriptions. They want a company where they feel valued. This is why a lot of companies are branding themselves by the people who champion them. It’s like, ‘Come work for Russell Brunson or Gary Vee.’ You become the brand. The name of the company is synonymous with the person behind it. It’s like a great Formula One team. They want to follow a good team principle, and that’s their brand because there’s something in there that cultivates and builds the team. If you’ve got the right team that thinks, feels, acts, and behaves the right way, that becomes their character, and that character becomes the business. That’s what culture is—it’s the habit of the people. So, if you’re building the right habits and hiring the right people based on who they are and what they bring, that’s what brings diversity into your workplace.”

Renata Bernarde: Yeah, yeah. Have you noticed that potential clients respond to your idea and your product? The ones that take it up and say, “Yep, I want to use Verb. I want this video as part of my data analysis on candidates.” Do they have some common themes? Have you noticed any commonalities among the clients that reach out to you and sign up?

Michael Smith: Yes, we do. What we’re doing is quite disruptive. So, if we come back to the agreed notion of how recruitment and hiring are done, we’ve created this dark art. We put it through the sausage machine, we do all this vetting, and finally, you get these amazing candidates at the end of it.

That’s the way we do it. We can’t reveal our process, but there’s a lot of work involved. I’ve done hiring, handled graduates, juniors, apprentices, built teams—there’s a lot of work that goes into all that. What companies are actually—originally, firstly, depending if you’re talking to HR…

HR are like, “Whoa, you’re going to take our jobs.” It’s like, “Whoa, we’re not the hiring company. We’re the tech. We’re here to make your job easier. Check it out. Have a look at it.” And that’s starting to shift now. All right. So, being bold enough, we’ve got a couple of people in the early phase championing that for us, and we’ve built testimonials on that. They’re like, “This thing’s awesome. I don’t even interview anymore. It’s so good. Now we want our time back.” But the business owners like that because the people coming to the interviews are like, “Hey, where are you finding these people from?” They honestly think no one wants to work. And I don’t believe that.

I just think we are in a Mexican standoff with what’s not working. The way we’ve seen it with the data we’ve seen, people will still assemble a resume and cover letter together, and it takes time. A lot of time. They put it into Seek, and then Seek scans that because they’ve got all these really cool ATS stuff. It tells you there are all these jobs you should apply for, and what we do is we hit the quick apply button because we’ve been reduced to the double tap and the like button. We apply, apply, apply, apply.

So, I feel like I’ve done something, you know. I’ve applied to like 50 jobs. But it doesn’t help the employer because the employer’s got 50 applications from one person, from 50 people, and they’re saturated in the market. They’re like, “I’ve got too many people.” But what actually starts to happen is when they start calling these candidates, they call up the candidate and they’re like, “Hi, Renata, my name is Michael from so-and-so. I want to talk to you about the job you applied for.” They’re like, “Sorry, which job did I apply for? How much do you offer? I’m not interested.” You know, what’s happening is, because people are not getting the feedback, because they’re getting saturated in the market.

They’re like, “Stop asking me for a resume. Stop asking me for a cover letter because you don’t read it, and you never get back to me.” And it’s not that they don’t; it’s just there’s too much noise. There’s no way of actually finding the gems in there because there are people in there who don’t even want to work for you. They’re just saturating the market. So, this is what I mean by the Mexican standoff. So, our platform integrates really well with a lot of the platforms out there. Whether you’re using Seek or Indeed, you can still get the actual applicants, which is great. And the talent polling, but what we’re going to be able to do for you is to shortlist and help you find the talent, because what we’ve found is the people who did the video want the job.

Renata Bernarde: Yeah.

Michael Smith: So, it’s a really cool way of actually just piping in that talent, instead of people who are just hitting the quick apply or meeting their quotas for their payments or whatever it is. I’m not saying that’s everyone, but as an employer, you get all these applicants and think, “I’m trying to get on with the job. I’ve just spent a thousand dollars on a job board, and now I’ve got to process all this information. I just want to get on with it.” And you don’t have time to shortlist or read them all. Then you just hire anyone. And then you realize it was a bad hire, and all the training that went into it, and they leave after six months—it’s just compounding.

So, all we’re saying to people now is that those using our platform love it. We’ve got over 200 companies on board. They’re getting their time back, they’re getting their business up and running, and it’s starting to permeate into both white-collar and blue-collar trades. They’re starting to see, “Hey, this is working. There’s something in this,” and we’re just allowing that to happen organically, which is great. I’m not having to bring the objections or the arguments, which I’m happy to do here. But this is what’s happening. People are saying, “It just works. It’s so easy. It’s cheap. It’s effective. It gets me what I want. It gets the outcome and I’m meeting all these people who want to work for me.” Because people know where to go, whether it’s a QR code here or there, on your business, on your website, on your email signature, it operates like a big click funnel.

Anywhere you click on social media, social recruiting, it brings it into your job board instead of trying to manage it on LinkedIn, Seek, Facebook, emails, and then bring it onto a spreadsheet and into a CRM. You can hear that I’m laboring this, but this is what we’re doing. And we’re like, “I need you to find me five people. Lock out your calendar for four weeks, don’t disturb me.” And then you get to the end of that and you’re like, “That’s all there is in the market.” No, they’re in there. The people who want to work for you are in there. We’ve just got to find a new way to apply.

Renata Bernarde: I love that, Michael. I think this will be very well received by the audience here. And I think that you and your team are onto something really special. As more experienced professionals, we just need to catch up and accept that this is the way to go. Video and online presence, and knowing how vital verbal communication is in the recruitment and selection process. So, incorporating the video format as part of the application is just bringing that verbal communication forward, right? Instead of postponing it to the interview stage, you’re bringing it forward. I really like that. I hope the audience understands that there’s no going back. We need to present ourselves in that format as well. Before we go, do you have any other advice to give the listeners? Any final thought or wisdom? I put you on the spot there, sorry.

Michael Smith: I don’t want to over-spiritualize this, but everyone’s got something special inside them, Renata. It’s our God-given talent. It’s our gift to offer to this world. And I really think, if you want to look at this on a global level and where we are, even with COVID and how we’ve hidden everyone away…

Michael Smith: And then what manifests from this are all these things that want to fix it, but they just keep us busy again. We’re like, “It’s never going to get better.” If we can get back to basics, to doing things where my word is my word, my word is my bond, my handshake is my contract, my smile is my introduction.

I love who you are. People can start feeling confident about themselves again, not hiding behind things that are trying to validate them but end up devaluing them. Because what makes us special and unique is the person inside of us. That’s our personality.

And if we can start presenting that and working on that—okay, not working on our resume, working on ourselves—and journeying with people, coming around people… Even the people that follow you, Renata, they’re looking for understanding. You’ve got knowledge, but without understanding, we’re lost.

So, if I tell you to get in the car and not speed, it’s knowledge. At a young age, we don’t understand what that means, but when you get pulled over, you gain a lot of understanding from the policeman because there’s a consequence to that. So we’ve just got to find that way to reconnect.

And if we can find the people that build us up, walk with us, journey with us, it’s a beautiful thing. And it’s all about stretching us, building character, and showing people who we really are. And that’s why it’s so important. But you’ve got people like yourself, Renata, where you’re speaking life into your market with your coaching, empowering people.

It’s been such a pleasure to come on your show and emulate what you’re trying to do. But there’s a new kid on the block, which is UseVerb. We’re a global disruptor. We’re just hitting the market, and we’re going to change the way people apply for jobs.

Renata Bernarde: Awesome, well thank you, Mike. You’re always welcome here. If you guys at UseVerb come up with something new, you can come on the platform here on the show and tell us all about it. I’m sure there’s probably more interesting stuff you’re working on, and you’re welcome to pop by anytime for a chat.

Michael Smith: Yep, definitely. We are going to market and changing the game, and we’ve got a few other things in our 5 to 10-year pipeline. So keep an eye out for us. And again, thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it. Any support I can provide you guys or your followers, just reach out. I’ll pick up the phone.

Renata Bernarde: Okay. We’ll have links in the show notes for sure.

Related Posts

Negotiating a Job Offer

Strategies for Conflict Resolution

I Interviewed ChatGPT. Again!

Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Reimagine Your Work

Get the Recruiter to Pay Attention to You

Share the Post:

Home » Episodes » Video Interviews Are Here to Stay
Scroll to Top