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Top tips for creating a video application

Have you been asked to submit a video as part of a job application? With the technology easily available through most people’s smartphones, asking candidates to film a short video about themselves is becoming more common, especially in the marketing and digital sector, which is one of our core specialisms.

Video submissions help employers to get a better sense of candidates. They are not designed to replace the traditional CV and covering letter, but to complement them. They help employers with the screening and shortlisting of candidates by adding something which captures more personality than written words alone. 

If you have been asked to do a video, don’t panic!

Remember, a video gives you more control than many other elements of the recruitment process. Unlike at an interview, you can stop at any point and delete something you are not happy with. Employers are not looking for anything super slick, over fancy and edited to perfection. While it does need to be clear to watch, and easy to hear, what they are looking for is a video which simply introduces you as a prospective employee.

Here are some of our tips for creating a video application.

Be clear on what you have been asked to do

Requests for video applications can vary, make sure you have double checked and understood what you have been asked to create. It could be a very generic request to submit a video which introduces yourself, or you may be asked to answer specific questions or to talk about a particular example of how you would meet the job description. Show that you have paid attention to the instructions. If you have been given a time limit, make sure you stick to this. If a time hasn’t been specified, the advice is generally to create a video which is between one to two minutes long.  

Make sure it’s relevant

If you are job hunting there is a possibility that you may have been asked by more than one company to submit a video application. Don’t be tempted to use the same video twice. Just like your CV and covering letter, the video should be tailored to that particular organisation, job role and person specification.  

Plan, plan and more planning

Plan what you would like to say in your video. If you have been asked to do a general introduction video, work out a structured beginning, middle and end. For example, start by introducing yourself, then structure the middle by picking up to three reasons why your skills and experience are suited to the role. Don’t just repeat your CV, use this as your opportunity to provide more detail. Finish with a short summary about why you would like to work for the company. Show you have researched the organisation’s culture and values and share why you think you would be a good fit.

As well as planning what to say, also plan what to wear. Dress in the same way you would if you were going to an interview at the company. If you are not sure whether to opt for smart or smart casual, then always go with the smartest option. Dressing professionally shows that you care about making a good impression. But don’t wear anything too heavily patterned, as this can be distracting on screen.

Make sure you also plan where to film the video. A well-lit location inside will prevent too much background noise and won’t make you look like you are hiding in the shadows. Find a background which will be neutral, neat and clutter free. You don’t want the people watching it to be distracted by lots of pictures on the wall behind you, or piles of washing up etc.

Be professional

Looking for inspiration from example videos online can provide some tips and ideas, but make sure your plans remain professional. Don’t try to be overly funny, or plan anything too complicated or wacky. This video is still part of the interview process. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing or saying the same thing face-to-face with an interview panel, don’t do it!

Enlist some help and moral support

Ask a friend or family member for help. As well as providing moral support, they can provide practical help as well. You could ask them to hold the camera and do the filming. They could also ask you questions off-camera to help structure your video. This can be much easier than trying to do all the talking and filming yourself. If you would prefer to do the filming alone, use a webcam or position your phone so that is sturdy to prevent a shaky effect. Make sure you are not too close or too far away from the camera. Think about the distance you would be if you were sat behind a table at an interview and look to achieve the same effect. Once you’ve finished, ask someone to check it for you, just as you would ask someone to proofread your CV and covering letter before you sent it off.

Rehearse

Spend some time rehearsing and doing practice takes. Practising means you won’t have to read directly from a script, which can look robotic. Rehearsing will also build up your confidence and prevent the nerves which could affect your body language and delivery. Practice speaking slowly and clearly. Be aware of your posture and look to maintain a confident, natural pose and refrain from fidgeting or crossing your arms in front of you. Smile and look into the camera, just as you would when trying to look friendly and to make confident eye contact with an interviewer in person.

Ask us for more tips

Remember, we’re here to help our candidates. This includes advice on all forms of applications and interview processes. A video application may be new to you, but it won’t be to our consultants. You can use their expertise to get some more top tips, to bolster your confidence or to provide feedback before you submit your video.

Good luck!

Written by

Judith Pugh

Judith joined Pure in October 2017 to lead and coordinate all marketing activities. Judith has worked in marketing roles for 19 years across a range of industries from health and fitness, horticulture, software, education and now recruitment. At Pure, Judith is responsible for developing and managing the annual marketing plan and delivering key initiatives.