Killer Applications - Part 5: An Oscar-Winning Video App

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? T.S. Eliot

Welcome to our final installment on Creating a Killer Application. Today, we look at a relative newbie on the application circuit, the video application. These can be even more daunting than those Online Application Questions we looked at in our last post. But the best way to think about these is a hybrid between a written application and a pre-recorded interview (which is GREAT because it gives you a chance to introduce yourself in person to your potential employer from the get-go). Here’s our guide for producing a great video application:

1. You'll Never Get Spielberg...

So what director style and cinematography should you go for?

  • Keep it Simple: You often get free reign when it comes to style and format (and sometimes content too). But don’t be tempted here… we suggest you keep it simple. Recruiters want to get to know you, the finance/commerce candidate, not you the video creative extraordinaire

  • At Home with… Yep, a well-shot video of you at home, speaking directly to the camera, will be just fine

  • Close Up: Try a simple close up of your face and shoulders - make it about you!

  • No Frills: Unless you really are a wiz on iMovie, we’d avoid any fancy graphics, music, transitions etc.

2. There Were Script Problems From Day 1…

Well, there won’t be if you follow our guide:

  • Write a Script: this is not stand-up comedy where you can wing it. Draft your script in detail, then rehearse it out aloud without the camera, so you can refine it so it sounds natural and fits your style

  • Make it Engaging: like in a face to face interview, your reviewer will form an impression of you in the first 30 seconds of your video application. So make a good first impression and make it engaging and interesting. Smile!

  • It’s Not a Tumor*!: *resume. Sorry if we lost you there with our outdated humor. Our point is, the video application is not a recital of your resume. Whilst you are often asked in your video application to address a general question (like “tell us about yourself” or “what makes you different”), don’t just recite your CV.

  • We suggest a short opening statement (i.e. an engaging intro, or your 30 second elevator pitch), then dive into a bit of detail (e.g. go into your top 3 achievements / reasons for why you / reasons why you want to work at the company, and in doing so try to highlight your unique skills or experiences) and then finish on a personal note.

  • Take a look at our Online Application Questions post if you’re asked to address any specific behavioural or experience-based questions.

3. That Scene Needed 100 Retakes...

Armed with your script, what next:

  • Practice Makes Perfect: do a few rehearsals of your video. As many as you need to feel comfortable and natural with the script. Make sure you’ve rehearsed enough that you can recite your script without needing to constantly refer to it

  • Phone a Friend: sometimes it can be helpful to have a friend video you, so you feel you are “speaking” to someone. Or just to hold the camera. Or give you emotional support!

  • Scout out Locations: try filming in a few different locations around your home. Ideally you want a neutral background and good natural lighting on your face. Avoid filming at night. Try standing and seated and see what works best for you

  • Dress Rehearsal: unless otherwise specified, dress as you would for a face to face interview

  • Performance: be aware of your body language (don’t cross your arms, keep a neutral stance), smile, and look at the camera

  • 9mm or 25mm? in terms of equipment, we’d suggest using your mobile. Most smartphone cameras are pretty good these days. And unlike a laptop camera, a mobile can be easier to move and position for your video. Just make sure it’s stable (buy a cheap stand if you need to)

4. My Scene Ended Up On The Cutting Room Floor...

The final step in preparing your video application is to review and edit it if necessary:

  • Check it: review your final video. Check the footage is clear and steady, and that you are audible

  • Editing: you can use simple home software to edit the video, but unless otherwise specified, we suggest keeping things simple. Ideally you will have done a single take of your video application. You might want to use video editing software to add a title and your name if you wish (but again… no Avengers remake…)

  • Format: check the upload format. Common formats include .mp4, .mov or .avi. Usually you will need to upload this directly to the employer website - file sizes can be large so do this whilst on wifi

We hope you enjoyed our five part series on Killer Applications. Stay tuned as we’re cooking up a whole lot more and will continue to pump out the best material on everything career-related. We will continue to tap into the Aced It Collective and its secret sauce … the many years of ACTUAL experience we have hiring for these roles.

Get us in touch with us to learn how we can best help you in your job search.