Steve McNally, our Head of Brand and Communications gives his tips on creating videos with employees.
Employee videos are great to use to show potential candidates what it’s like to work for your company. Interviews on camera of your people – describing the company culture, environment, training and development or simply ‘the job’ – gives a potential candidate a truly honest and unique perspective of you as an entity. You simply cannot replicate the authenticity of this experience with any other type of marketing material.
However … your video can come unstuck if you expect ‘normal working people’ to perform like tv professionals! Being in front of a camera can be a daunting thought for an employee of any company (even a media-trained CEO) but if you follow these 7 tips, based on my experience ‘out-in-the-field’, then your company videos will give you excellent results.
1 – Don’t prep the person “off camera”
Allow the interviewee to get physically used to the interview environment. Sit them down in front of the camera (and the lights) to get used to the situation and just chat with them to make sure they know exactly why they are there, and what the final videos will be used for. Prepping someone off camera and then literally putting them in the spotlight will end up making people freeze, and come across as nervous and unsure of their answers.
2 – Start the interview without them realising
If you start the interview with language such as –
“right let’s get ready now” , “are you ready yet?” or “ok be ready to go now”
you’re building up the tension by making them feel like they must be ready to perform. Remember, your employees aren’t actors! Try to minimise potential nerves by asking a few personal questions they can answer easily. Slowly build up their confidence and ease them into the ‘real’ questions.
3 – Let people make mistakes!
If the interviewee makes a mistake, or you think they could probably deliver a better answer, don’t interrupt them and say for example –
‘that wasn’t very good, let’s do it again‘ or “yeah, we could probably do a bit better than that‘,
Make a note of it, go through the rest of the questions you have and come back to it. The trick is to get the interviewee talking freely and this can only be achieved without constantly stopping and starting.
4 – Make them feel at ease
When somebody sits down to be interviewed (especially when they have lights and a camera pointing at them!) don’t start the interview straight away. Have a general conversation about anything else apart from the interview subject. The idea is to get them comfortable in their surroundings. Remember, it’s not a job interview, or a test. You want this person to be themselves, but also come across confidently.
5 – Use the one-way interview technique
If your goal is to keep your voice from appearing on the video, you need to approach things slightly differently rather than having a normal conversation with someone. A simple technique to achieve this goal is to use the one way interview technique.
So what is it?
Quite simply, it’s asking the interviewee to repeat part of the question as part of their answer.
For example : ‘’how long have you worked at the company?”
Normal Answer – ‘’three or four years”.
One way Interview technique answer – “I have worked for the company for about three or four years now”
When you receive full answers like this, it’s much easier to edit the video footage into an easy to follow video, and allow you the client to use a lot more of the video footage recorded, instead of losing it to the “cutting room floor” (or the recycle bin these days of course!)
6 – Keep quiet!
If you’re going to use the one way interview technique (as explained in tip 5) make sure you are quiet after you’ve asked your question. When we are having a conversation with someone normally, we nod our heads and make encouraging sounds or phrases such as –
“mmhmm, yeah”, or “ok yes”
If you can, try to keep tight lipped because your video viewers will hear it on the final video, especially if you’re using a microphone from the video camera as it picks up all the ambient sound in the room. So ask your question, keep eye contact with that person, and simply nod your head so they know you are listening to them.
7 – Keep eye contact while they answer your questions
If you have a set of pre-prepared questions, try to not look at the next question whilst listening to the interviewees response to the last question. It’s very unnerving to be talking to someone on camera at the best of times, it’s made worse if they are not listening! If an interviewee loses your eye contact, this will be picked up by the camera. You will not disrupt their flow if you feel they are doing well with a slight pause between questions. It’s more important to encourage their answers with plenty of eye contact, head nodding and the occasional smile every once in a while!
This post originally appeared here.