How to Ace a Graduate Video Application

This year is seeing a real upsurge in the use of video to replace applications for the big recruiters, soon the days of hammering out 500 words on your team working experiences will be but a distance memory. Instead, the big grad recruiters may want you to deliver a resume to your webcam, answer a set of questions, or go through a complete interview by video.

It might sound daunting, but think of it as a great leap past the faceless lottery of the CV and straight to an interview with the people you’ll be working for. Body language accounts for 70% of communication so now you have the most powerful communication tool at your disposal to persuade someone to employ you, without even uttering a sound.

So, here’s a fantastic opportunity to get ahead of the curve and master the art of pitching to video.

1. Keep it short:

Just as your CV should only be a page long, so your video should be short and to the point. While you can employ such mind tricks as recording it whilst needing a comfort break (as a certain MP used to do, it would make him more forthright and assertive!) or standing up (as Queen Victoria preferred, pontificating is dramatically reduced when MPs are forced to stand), you must remember the point of the video. The ability to collate information and communicate it efficiently is an essential graduate skill and will be one of the things the graduate employer will be looking for.

2. Keep it appropriate:

Don’t record yourself in your jimmy jams with the remains of breakfast around you. Also don’t do the trick of a formal suit and tie on top and jeans below thinking they won’t see your lower half, just don’t. Match your clothing to the company as you would in an interview, and your background surroundings likewise. You cannot exude an air of capability, responsibility and drive if there is a Justin Bieber poster on your wall behind you.

3. Practise “to camera”:

Even Sir David Attenborough needed some practice before he perfected his presenting style. The pitfalls are generally speaking too fast, too quietly and not looking at the camera. We naturally speed up our articulation when nervous which will risk the reviewers not understanding you. Copy the style of YouTube bloggers - if they have millions of views you know they're doing something right.

4. Have notes:

The handy advantage of video applications over face to face interviews is you can have notes off camera to help you. Put up a large board with SPEAK SLOWLY and examples of times you’ve led a team, communicated effectively, performed a marketing task or whatever else the company might ask of you. Though don’t be a numpty and stare doggedly at the notes as they’ll know what you’re doing.

5. How to stand out:

  • If it’s a resume type video, mention your name clearly at the beginning and the end. You’re trying to make the reviewer remember you and making them learn your name is a great way to stand out.

  • You can use props sensibly, for example hold up cards with your university, degree and grades to reinforce what you’re saying.

  • If you can edit your video, look at any videos the company’s marketing departments have used and mimic their style.

  • Finally, look happy. Use that body language I mentioned earlier to reinforce your message. The very act of smiling during the introduction will relax you, show you have a personality, show you have confidence. Then you can sit upright and look professional during the serious end of the video in the same way a newsreader will happily welcome you to the Ten O’clock news, only to look business-like two seconds later when announcing the latest FTSE figures.

So follow these tips for the next round of graduate scheme applications, best of luck!


Next: Expert advice on your video interview