Have a solid or bland background. Check behind you for distracting artwork, offensive material and unkempt home offices. (Hiring managers say they have indeed seen all of those during video interviews.)
Maintain eye contact by sitting still and looking into the camera. You don’t want to fidget or multitask; such behavior wouldn’t fly in an in-person interview, so it won’t suit a video interview or presentation either.
Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview. (For those who need reminding, that means business attire suitable to the position and the company’s culture.)
Guard against interruptions. Shut off your phone. Give the dog a bone, and make sure no one comes knocking at the door.
Don’t forget to smile.
Others say video interviews — either live or pre-recorded — help by winnowing out candidates who might have Googled answers while on a phone interview, as well as those who lack interpersonal skills, which are of particular importance for IT professionals who interact with customers, executives, board members or the public.
On the other hand, some point to potential problems using video when screening candidates. Some employers wonder if it will open them up to claims of discrimination as they can more easily see traits (age or ethnicity, for example) that they shouldn’t use to eliminate candidates. Other tech industry watchers worry that video interviews could unfairly prioritize presentation skills for jobs that don’t necessarily require them. After all, coders don’t need to come off well on camera to do a bang-up job, the argument goes.
Reed says such concerns keep many companies from adopting video as part of their candidate search and screening process. “Companies don’t want to be susceptible to accusations,” he says. He points out that candidates, too, often hesitate to use these tools because they’re worried about where their videos will reside and for how long.
Resumes gain graphic, social flourishes
That said, video is nevertheless becoming more prevalent in the IT hiring process, just one of the multiple new formats and platforms that candidates are beginning to utilize for job searches. “The resume hasn’t changed in the past 40 years. It just feels like it’s time for it to evolve, and technology is at a place where it’s helping us evolve it,” Pollock says.
Pollock says he’s seeing candidates successfully use graphics to represent skill sets, responsibilities and accomplishments on or as a supplement to their text-based resumes. Some IT workers, particularly Web designers or UI and UX professionals, maintain online portfolios or submit links to their work.
Others, such as developers, point to their contributions to open-source communities like GitHub. And, of course, job shoppers ignore at their own peril the reach of LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, other social media sites like Facebook, Google+ or even Instagram.
“[Hiring companies] want to see what people are doing within the tech community, the development space, are they contributing? So I encourage people to have a strong digital profile as well as a resume, and LinkedIn is the primary tool for a strong digital profile,” says Doug Schade, principal consultant in the software technology search division at Waltham, Mass.-based search firm WinterWyman.
Schade says savvy candidates know how to leverage social media to separate themselves from the pack. They don’t just paste their traditional resumes into their LinkedIn profiles but rather focus on showcasing themselves with links and presentations that highlight their skills and accomplishments.
“There is an opportunity to be more robust with one’s persona,” Schade says, “because social media is used by hiring managers to gain more intel, gain more insight.”
Web developer Avery Anderson gets that. Anderson, 27, graduated in 2008 from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass., with a degree in mechanical engineering. She worked in the field for a year but decided it wasn’t the best fit.
Anderson did some contract work in robotics, and then in February 2010 she sought out a Web engineer position at an Internet start-up for wine aficionados called Second Glass. “Web development seemed like a huge opportunity, but I didn’t have a lot of experience, so I started with a personal website. It was like, ‘See, I can make website.’ That got me in the door,” says Anderson, who was hired right away.
When she left Second Glass in April 2012, Anderson turned to her website again, tweaking and updating it to reflect more of her skills and personality. She says her site, along with her LinkedIn profile and her account at the online developers’ site GitHub, got plenty of traffic; she estimates she was contacted by about 50 recruiters during her two-month job search, contacts that led to nearly 10 interviews — including some Skype sessions.
She landed a software engineer job with The Minerva Project, a startup that’s building an elite online university. Although she was introduced to the organization through a roommate, she says she knows the company checked her out online before she even walked in the door. “People Internet-stalk everyone before meeting in person,” she observes.
And even though she’s not looking for a new job now, she keeps up her personal website to have what she calls “a landing page” for people who want to know more about her and her work — a particularly important point as she tries to gain more experience, recognition and speaking engagements.
“It’s not just about what jobs you get. Every time you do things like that and work your way into the community more, you make yourself more valuable as an employable person, you build your reputation,” she says.
Ondrey, the Marist College applications report specialist, says he and his colleagues are getting that message, so they’re beefing up their online professional presence by posting or Tweeting articles they find interesting along with their own commentary. They’re updating their skill sets and responsibilities more frequently. And they’re adding videos — both their own and others that are relevant to their field of interest.
That fits with what’s happening at Appirio, a San Francisco-based cloud technology company with 650 employees globally.
“We have definitely seen more candidates modify their resumes to include links to their social media profiles,” says Jennifer Taylor, Appirio’s senior vice president of HR. Resumes now include Twitter handles and links to LinkedIn profiles and to blogs.
The process works both ways, Taylor says; she and her colleagues use social media to reach out to potential prospects. “Often we have found that it’s through a Twitter conversation that one of our employees will identify someone in the ecosystem who is contributing unique ideas or products. We use those as an opportunity to say, ‘Look at what this person is doing, we should start a conversation with this person,’” she says.
And while she says she hasn’t yet received a video resume, she and her hiring managers use video to promote the company to prospective employees as well as to interview candidates — something they do live using Skype, Google+ and occasionally GoToMeeting with video.
“We still believe that there is no replacement for face-to-face interviews, and we do make that a requirement before anyone is hired. But video is a very powerful format,” she says. “It makes information about our company as available as possible, and it gets people familiar with us. It creates some rapport right off the bat. The candidate feels like they’re getting to know us and vice versa.”