Oh, and this interview will be done by video. You have a webcam, don’t you?
Does that statement bring visions of bad YouTube videos and Marco Rubio’s water glass flying in front of your eyes?
The use of video interviewing is growing rapidly. It’s a convenient and cost-effective choice for organizations looking to streamline the talent acquisition process. Great for HR, but how do you make it work for you?
It’s totally different from a phone screen or in-person interview. And if you don’t recognize the differences, it can come back to haunt you. First, the different types:
The video screen. Some companies are using standardized video interview services as an entry-round screening tool. In this approach, the exact same questions are asked to every candidate, whose answers are then scored and reviewed. The candidate generally has 30 seconds to review the question and a preset response time. Usually the questions are computer-delivered: in other words, you’re not talking to a live human being. I call this the video screen – think a one-sided screen test, not a conversation. Such tests are usually compiled into libraries for future reference.
The video interview. A true video interview will be just what the name implies – you and another person, having a Q&A/conversation. The only difference is that you are doing this by Skype or webcam, not face-to-face. Here you are having a real conversation, the more natural give-and-take. While the interviewer may have some preset questions (all good interviewers do), the response time will be more open. Getting real-time feedback from the interviewer in the form of verbal and visual cues can be invaluable.
The video resume. This is a way to present yourself. It augments (or in some cases, supersedes) a paper resume. You totally call the shots here – the content, the visuals, and the format. It’s like a visual elevator pitch. Think of a dating site video – this is your way to separate yourself from the pack. My company started using these way back in 2003 and 2004. For some people it really helped seal the deal.
Some pointers for making the best of your video interview:
- Make sure the technology works. Sounds obvious, but sometimes the little things come back to haunt you. It won’t help you if the other person is twiddling her thumbs as you fiddle with the mic, asking “Can you hear me now?” Be prepared, as there’s no tech department, no AV guy for you to call – you have to make it work.
- Set the scene, visually. Place the camera so it focuses just on you – ideally a tight head/shoulders/desk shot. Avoid things behind you that will distract the viewer (anything moving, traffic, bright lights, kids, and pets). And check out the lighting in advance – your face should be clearly visible and not in shadow.
- Choose your clothing wisely. No, a suit is not always the right answer. But for a video interview, where someone could be seeing you on a small smartphone screen or a large-screen TV, choose solid, conservative colors (except bright white). You seldom see small stripes or busy patterns, which may pixelate when you move. For good examples, check out what the news announcer is wearing – easy on the eyes.
- Make eye contact.That usually means looking at the camera, not down at the desk or table. And not awkwardly reaching for an off-camera water bottle. Using notes? Great preparation but don’t let it show, as it may cause you to look away from the camera. The top of your head is not the lasting image you want them to have of you.
- Monitor yourself. If you can, keep that picture-in-picture of yourself on the screen. Are you sitting very far forward in your chair? In a video format, that can sometimes seem too assertive. Is your body language showing interest? You’d be amazed at what you see.
- Monitor your interviewer. Like in an in-person interview, you get to see the other person’s non-verbal clues. Use them! A good trick to get their attention if it’s wandered – address them by name.
- Let’s go to the videotape! Do a dry run of the complete tech and visual setup a day or two in advance. Wait 24 hours and then watch it with open eyes. Have a friend or mentor offer feedback. Like a baseball player analyzing his swing, you’ll notice the little hitches that make a world of difference.
A video interview is a real interview. And like a “real” interview, blow a question, show up late, be unprepared, and your application will get tossed to the bottom of the barrel. And given that this video interview can be reviewed and rated and shared throughout the organization, endlessly, it can be even more important than your typical phone screen.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – and that is even more important if your embarrassing first impression winds up on YouTube.
The whole process of transitioning from one job to the next is a topic that is often overlooked. The digital media industry is a fast paced and ever-changing close-knit community. It’s commonplace to leave one start-up for the next (almost a bit incestuous, but in a clean way), which is why it is imperative to never burn a bridge. It doesn’t matter if you have been at a company for 20 days or 20 years, you are in a professional environment and everyone deserves your professional respect. Additionally, you never know when you might cross paths again – a reference check for future employment, networking opportunity, or even as a potential client. Though not rocket science, the art of the resignation takes tact and is a bit dicier than one might have originally thought.
5 points to keep in mind when quitting:
1) Give written notice (preferably 2 weeks) and its best to only do so when you have a written offer in hand. You might need to give more than just a two week notice if you have to transfer over a larger work load – be courteous.
2) Don’t demand (or even really ask for) a counter offer; aside from the plethora of reasons NOT to accept a counter offer, no one likes to answer demands (it might be wise to prep in the event you are made a counter offer).
3) Don’t go around telling everyone you’re out the door before having the official meeting with your boss/manager (I’m not talking about the one or two co-workers you gossip with on gchat, but don’t say goodbyes yet) he/she deserves to hear the news from you, first hand.
4) Be positive: even if you hate the company and you feel they mistreated you, don’t be tempted to make a scene like Jerry McGuire – it’s in your best interests to not make a fool of yourself – leave quietly and respectfully. You would be surprised at how quickly the word spreads that you’re a jerkface or how quickly a video of your outburst can go viral. Also, this should go without saying, don’t air-out the dirty laundry once you’re out the door.
5) Depending on your company you may have an exit interview or the opportunity to speak your mind – be upfront, honest and let them know what sparked you to pursue a new venture – that being said, don’t be too critical and don’t put co-workers or the company down (there’s a difference between being critical and giving constructive criticism; even constructive criticism may not be welcomed, so tread with caution).
By following the aforementioned points you can almost guarantee that you will be leaving on better than good terms and taking the relationships you’ve established onto your future endeavors (remember to keep the lines of communication open). The perfect exit is one that can lead to re-entry; leave them wanting more. You want to be missed.
Mobile phones have surpassed wallets on the worst things to lose list. To paraphrase moderator Rich Ullman from the PluggedIn Ventures Mobile Payment roundtable on January 29th: “Leave your wallet by your in-laws in Buffalo – wait for it to be shipped. Leave your mobile phone – drive 5 hours to Buffalo.” 2012 was a breakout year for the mobile payment industry and it might evolve to become this generation’s’ “Cola-War.” Additionally, according to a recent IDC Financial Insights study, worldwide mobile purchases have a current trajectory of eclipsing the $1trillion mark by 2017. IT IS the next big thing and the face of currency is changing as we know it.
Mobile payments are undoubtedly trendy and gaining some good movement; plus, contrary to popular belief, it can actually be safer than your ordinary credit card. When using a smartphone to pay, you are being run through a gauntlet of authentication processes, from creating “fake” or unique credit card numbers, to pins, to geo-tagging, etc…
Question from the roundtable:
There are 4 major credit card companies, Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover who have a chokehold on the market. How (or possibly why) are they letting startups take such a big piece of the currency pie?
Four quick answers from the roundtable:
A1: They are taking the “why fix what’s not broke” route, and while understandable, this puts them at risk with the likes of Kodak and Blockbuster.
A2: The risk is far too great; startups are agile and have the ability to fail, the big 4 don’t.
A3: The credit card titans can’t compete with the numbers – i.e. Dwolla doesn’t charge a fee for any transaction $10 or under and a flat .25 cents for anything above $10.
A4: “The big financial institutions view startups like flies, they keep swatting at them until one truly materializes as a strong contender; once that happens they’ll snatch one up… However, this mindset gives startups the ability to position themselves as outsourced innovation in an industry populated with titanic corporations.” – Jay Bhattacharya, CEO of Zipmark
One additional point that I came across the: “The real leaders are little startups like Square, Shopkeep, Dwolla and LevelUp. These companies see an opportunity and are rushing to fill it, leaving behind the big bureaucracy and striking real partnerships with real business.” (Dan Rowinski)
What’s on the horizon?
- Consumers and merchants will become more open to the concept and see the added value and simplistic efficiency.
- PayPal has been and will continue to make a very strong push toward physical mobile payments (e.g. using PayPal at BestBuy). We may see some movement as a result of their efforts.
- Creating a solution to the problem of having different mobile payment apps for each retailer or merchant. A quick fix would be white-labeling, but there is high probability that each of these retail giants (think Walmart, Macy’s, or Bloomingdales) want full control of their app.
- Google Wallet and NFC tech will gain more traction as the technology is integrated into future phones (which will open the floodgates for advertisers to deliver offers, but that’s a whole different discussion).
- Apple will make a play at the market – possibly in tandem with its Passbook.
The crux as to why “showrooming” and then heading to Amazon is so popular (aside from the more affordable pricing, albeit great), is because the checkout process is seamless and uncomplicated. To quote Jeff McGregor CEO at Dash, “Mobile payment apps need to give real value to the user; make it easy for the consumer, not just the merchant.” BOTH sides need to benefit. It seems that until there’s a painless payment method which either spawns from a unified solution, or a startup emerging as victor, using your CC or cash for splitting checks, paying bills or sending your friends money, will remain commonplace for the immediate future.
To be utterly honest, job hunting sucks. There, the word is out. Whether employed or unemployed it is a less than joyous experience to be in the metaphoric “searching for new opportunities” boat.
Most job searchers feel that they are entitled to at least getting a response to their application and in a perfect world I agree. But this is reality, these recruiters or HR reps. ARE busy. They need to sift through a slew of applications to determine the “ONE” and only then, will they decide to reach out. No matter the industry, don’t expect a response if you are submitting through a portal, it’s a black hole. These systems are designed to screen through resumes by searching for hot words. Additionally, I have spoken to numerous recruiters and HR professionals (not the good ones I network with) who do the same; they’ll hit ctrl+F and see how many times the word “Digital” or “Managed” comes up, if you don’t t have it at least 5 times they’ll move on. Obviously don’t lie on your resume, but it never hurts to spice it up with some catchwords to get past that first line of defense.
This leads me to the benefit of working with recruiters. We all know that headhunters or recruiters are stigmatized, but not rightfully so. Do you think Julia Roberts could have landed “Pretty Woman” without an agent? Fine, that example might be slightly dated so consider the less than illustrious career of Jim Parsons (aka Sheldon Cooper) before the “Big Bang Theory.” Agents and recruiters promote you, and do so for free.
Using a recruiter is especially pertinent for emerging digital media and startup type companies since they typically don’t have the man power (in terms of hiring/recruiting) that a Google does – building a rapport with a good recruiter is a fantastic way to increase your odds. You can show them your charisma and personality, something which is not relayed on your resume. Recruiters have the hiring manager’s ear; they not only pass along your “qualifications” but your personality as well. This might come as shock, but more and more hiring managers are basing their final decisions on personality (around 88% put culture fit over skills).
3 quick insights:
- Having the right qualifications: be realistic about the job you are applying for. If you have zero experience working in the digital media industry as well as no SEO knowledge, your charm won’t get you into a SEO Director role at a digital agency.
- Getting the attention of the recruiter: social media is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage and be creative! I know three people this year who have used Twitter to help them land their next job (one in the political arena, one at an e-commerce startup and one at a digital media agency) – self branding can set you apart.
- Making yourself stand out when it comes to interview time: do your research and due diligence; research BOTH your interviewer and the company (e.g. If your interviewer is tweeting about snowboarding), this will help you establish a common ground which will showcase your personality.
The budding media industry is ever-changing, people are constantly going from one startup to the next; it’s a giant relationship game. I personally have taken many calls from recruiters with no intention of leaving my job, but rather to learn more about the industry. At the end of the day it’s worth it for me to take these calls for two main reasons:
- Expanding my network; recruiters typically have massive networks and they are always interested in making introductions – that’s what the recruiting business is about, its relationship driven.
- Learn more about my competition and market; I’m super involved in my job and I tend not to focus on external factors, so I welcome recruiters to call me. Aside from a breath of fresh air and a change of pace, they are the market experts: they tell me what I’m worth – additionally, recruiters in the digital media and social media world will know the next biggest thing. I would have killed to get into Facebook before it exploded and because I wasn’t contacted by a recruiter or more correctly, didn’t grab the attention of one, I missed the ship.
Bottom line: Working with people who have a business model that is relationship driven is always a good sign. Also, the next time you’re looking for a job you might want to consider why Monster, Careerbuilder and job boards alike don’t publish their application-to-hire ratios…
Amidst our impressive 15+ years of traversing the Digital Media landscape (17 to be exact) this past year was one of our best. In every company it’s the employees that transport the business to the next level of success, and over the past year AC Lion made a concerted effort to focus on its people. Key additions to the company and cultivating the current staff, paired with a positive sales environment brought us to one of the most successful years in our recent history!
Some of AC Lion’s Notable Highlights in 2012:
- Named one of New York’s Top Entrepreneurial Places to Work in 2012
- Reached the $100 million milestone in terms of compensation negotiated (over 20% of that coming in the last two years!)
- Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for our innovative approach to networking
- Featured Columnist on Digital Careers and Talent Needs for ClickZ; two of our popular articles this year: Managing Competition vs. Collaboration in a Sales Environment and Coming of the Quants to RTB
- Our retained executive search division has exploded, and complimented by our acclaimed contingency side, it has led to many tremendous success stories:
- CTO for a $1billlion online entertainment company
- Board Member at a rising data platform
- VP of Strategy for a top YouTube channel
- Director of Ecommerce for a global luxury retail brand
- VP of Sales for an emerging mobile company
AC Lion’s success rides on the shoulders of the collective group – it’s a unified effort that takes a company from good to great. Our team is a fine mesh of creative minds and business savvy individuals. We have strong leaders with one of the best captains in the biz (not being biased here). Could we be better? Sure. Hell, that’s what makes us great. We simply aren’t satisfied with being good, we recognize how and where we can improve and adjust swiftly. A good piece of career advice: remaining stagnant is dangerous for business and your personal life; avoid partnering with companies and individuals with complacent mindsets.
Bottom line: The key to success in 2013 is having the right team in place. We’re already building on our 2012 accomplishments in 2013 and look forward to remaining a strong resource to our candidates and clients.
Earlier this morning I attended PluggedIn Ventures Roundtable:“Second Screens & Social TV” and it couldn’t have been better. I jotted a few notes and here’s a quick summary:
Social TV, a general term for technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content is truly taking off and is the way of the future. While some have doubts there are already strong trends showing it will take over in the very near future (think of the hashtags in the corner of a show, by tweeting with that hashtag you not only can join in on relevant conversations, but you are also providing easy data points).
Currently, there are about 18 million unique social TV viewers and growing – social TV generates referrals and gives the advertisers the opportunity to hone in on a target market; according to Oliver Young of Blue Fin Labs, “Ads for social TV are meant to interact with the show, which create the organic word of mouth for advertisers.” There is nothing better than a word of mouth referral. From a consumer’s standpoint, I would much rather receive ads that discuss fantasy football than potpourri – it’s the same idea how Google sends you ads based on your Gmail conversations.
Additionally, social TV benefits the networks and shows directly. For the first time ever, shows can figure out (almost instantaneously) where their content fails or succeeds. WWE Raw actually experimented with something similar with a “click to vote” idea. Essentially they asked the people in the arena to pick match-ups for later on in the evening; sure enough there was an overwhelming response (I know, how could you pick who fights who if wrestling is real – this is a whole different and important conversation that will hopefully be discussed at the next roundtable). Giving your audience what they want is the smartest and simplest way to keep them coming back for more, a.k.a.: retention. A prime example of a successful social TV campaign is the show “The Walking Dead;” their social presence is unbelievable (they actually promote Twitter chats for the show, during the show!) and while it may not be the reason it’s the most tuned into show, it most definitely attracts viewers because of it – I know this because I am one of the many that began watching due to its social traction.
On a very similar note, look at Old Spice (while some might consider them an outlier I see them as trailblazers), they took an intimate product and made it sexy and cool. This was done through their social TV campaigns and by making “cooler ads” – a simple yet true comment from the roundtable. One of the reasons why Old Spice exploded is because they themselves, as well as their ads, are relatable and interactive.
One interesting issue that was slightly broached was live TV – Twitter is a real time tool (about 60% of the time) and Tivo (or DVR) being the most amazing creation since television itself, takes us out of that real time element. A quote that was thrown out and stands true for just about anything, “People want the path of least resistance” and with television that translates into no commercials. I would much rather watch a Chicago Bears game in an hour and a half instead of the 3 hours it takes for the live broadcast. That being said, according to David Markowitz of SecondScreen Networks, “Social TV will be good for advertisers over time. It forces the viewer to watch TV live to get the full effect.” This I firmly agree with, while I may strongly oppose commercials I am all for live friendly banter during a Chicago Bears game.
So Will Twitter ignite more real time TV viewers? I would bet on yes. People are already being active and seem to enjoy it; according to this Nielsen study a third of active Twitter users tweeted about TV related content and those numbers are growing.
Lastly, with all this talk about Twitter, one might wonder where the other social media powerhouse (Facebook) comes in – it doesn’t. At least not until Facebook opens their data will they be able to compete with Twitter in the social TV world – to quote David Beck of Univision, “Facebook has to open up their firehouse to combat Twitter and their reach with TV.”
Bottom line: Social TV is a forward thinking venture that will ultimately prove majorly successful (and profitable) for the masses very soon; it also doesn’t hurt that Social TV was listed as one of the 10 most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review in 2010.
Thanks to Eli Mandelbuam of PluggedIn Ventures for putting everything together; props to Rich Ullman for doing a fantastic job as the moderator and thank you to an impressive panel – it was an amazing conversation to be a fly on the wall for – looking forward to the next one!
In this fast paced digital media world, everyone is constantly looking to further their career and luckily there is almost always a better job around the corner. If and when you get to that place of switching jobs, one thing in particular needs to be addressed: the looming counteroffer. I have seen countless lists and reasons why one should not accept a counteroffer, but I believe it can be broken down into three key aspects: 1) Credibility, 2) Original Intentions, 3) Investing/Burning Bridges.
- Credibility: Whatever you had, gone. You could be the best man/woman in the office, but as soon as your manager or boss discovers you’re looking elsewhere (which they will once you tell them you have an offer) you are no longer a confidante, you are now a flight risk. Imagine if you’re dating exclusively and you went out with someone new, chances are the original person would leave you at the curb. Your loyalty will always be in question, not only with your boss but with your co-workers as well – remember those gossip sessions by the Keurig while checking your social media feeds? Good, because that’s the way it will remain: a memory.
- Original Intentions: Money is great, and I think everyone can agree with that, and more of it is usually better (don’t quote me on that). In terms of counter offers, more money is the common solution – but chances are money wasn’t the only thing you were seeking: e.g. more responsibilities, a better working environment (you wanted that fully stocked fridge and snack bar with a microbrew beer on tap), or even disliking your boss and co-workers. None of those will change – I know, it’s shocking that the company won’t make drastic changes even for its own betterment (hence a reason you wanted to leave). While your original search was set into motion for numerous reasons, you will be settling for one short term solution – an easy fix. Additionally, statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year hovers around 80%.
- Investing/Burning Bridges: I am confident when I say, that you and your potential employer have devoted countless hours through the grueling gauntlet of the interview process to get to the point of a formal offer. Think of it like a stock or an emerging company; the probability of investing $50,000 into a digital media startup on a whim are slim to none – you need to perform adequate research and due diligence, at which point you will front capital. Of course you want to see a return on that, don’t you? Thought so. Your time is valuable and chances are you have already invested a hefty amount of it. Now how do you think this “digital media startup” would feel if you pulled out your 50K just as you picked up the pen to sign the paperwork? Chances are they would never do business with you again and word would likely get out. Same goes for this new company and anyone else the hiring manager is associated with. By accepting a counteroffer you may risk burning a bridge with the next Google.
While this isn’t an exact science this should give you some good perspective… Would love to hear your thoughts and chat about them – comment below or reach out on Twitter: @ACLion. Hope this helps and please use to your advantage!
Hitting the beach or hitting the links? Here at AC Lion, our East Coast surfers hope that surfing will surpass golf for business networking. Especially for us techies and media types, with a foot on both coasts. It may not be Maverick at Half Moon Bay but it’s come a long way. On the West Coast, they’ve been hammering out deals for years. And here at AC Lion, we like to stay ahead of the wave.
Hang ten, dude
For people who have never worked an office job before, there are all sorts of pre-conceived notions that come with the first day. You assume that it will fall somewhere between Office Space and The Office, but struggle with understanding exactly what the corporate culture will be like until you get to work and experience it firsthand. There’s always the fear that you will be unfamiliar with the company software, that you’ll get lost while commuting, or, and potentially scariest of all, that your “mentor” Mike Giunta will be singing ‘Call Me, Maybe’ throughout the day. The scariest part though is simply the not knowing what to expect, which is quickly alleviated once you start working.
I found my first day at AC Lion to be extremely rewarding, albeit slightly overwhelming. As an advertising student, I was a little worried I’d feel out of my element here, but was comforted right away by the association with familiar agencies, the number of other marketing and communications interns, and most of all, the overall comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that AC Lion provides. There was an immediate feeling of being part of a community as opposed to just a company. There’s also the feeling of being exposed to immense talent in varying fields. We as interns attended several seminars throughout the day in order to learn more about the digital media industry as a whole, about AC Lion and its endeavors, and an overview of the database cBizOne, a recruiters best friend. It was a whirlwind of new terminology and information, but comes across as manageable given the helpful nature of everyone here. Plus, free pizza!
There’s a whole summer ahead of us with plenty more to learn, but I think all of the interns left after our first day intrigued and ready to work. Soon, we’ll each be assigned individual projects based on our own particular interests that we will fully develop throughout the course of the 10 week program. It’s daunting and totally new for most of us, but undeniably exciting.
Summer Intern 2012
Watch out Facebook, Apple Itunes and Zipcar! Custom app warehouse, Facebook TV, and a “zipcar between friends” were among the numerous concepts shared at Tech Crunch Disrupt in New York.
Tuesday night there was a standing room only event at Morgan Stanley featuring over 20 pioneering Israeli Startups and an esteemed panel of accomplished entrepreneurs and investors to a packed audience of over 300 attendees. Alan Cutter, CEO of AC Lion, moderated the panel.
Dror Berman- founding Managing Partner of Innovation Endeavors which he started together with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s in 2010. They invested in Eyeview, Shaker, Talenthouse, videogenie and Billguard to name a few.
Jeff Hoffmeister- Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. Been in Morgan Stanley since 2000 and is currently heading the east coast Technology Banking Practice.
Offir Gutelson- former CEO and co- founder of picscout, which is a leading image recognition software. It was sold to Getty Images for $20MM a year ago.
Charlie Federman, Managing Partner, Crossbar Capital. Prior to Crossbar, he was BRM’s first US based Managing Director and was with Broadview prior to that.. Charlie is currently a member of the board of Bitwine, Cloudsmith, Pando Networks, Payoneer, plumwillow and Tracx.
Roi Carthy – Managing Partner at Initial.vc. Roi has been Israel’s representative of Tech Crunch since 2007, and has been one of the key influencers of the Israel tech scene.
See a video except here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UxMzKPE2oM
Have an idea for the “next big thing in digital” or “killer app” and not 100% certain on next steps? Send a short note to email@example.com.
See you at the next Tech Crunch New York event!