Interviews are stressful at the best of times, but there is a new kid on the block – The Video Interview which is one-way and prerecorded – not live like a Zoom interview. According to our polls, these are very unpopular with job applicants. After conducting some practice video interviews ourselves, we collaborated to build a list of suggestions to help remove the stress and best prepare you to ace this interview type.
Before the Video Interview.
1. Dress professionally:
Even though they may only be able to see you from your shoulders up, by dressing professionally as if it was a real interview you are mentally preparing yourself for the video interview. For further information see our article How to Dress Properly for an Interview .
2. Lighting & Background:
Before the interview starts and you log in, make sure that you have good lighting, and that you can be seen. Also, try to have a plain, minimalistic background. Background filters or blurers are available so make sure to have those set up before you start, if needed.
3. Practice with content and technology:
As you have limited time to answer each question, it is vital to prepare for the video interview in the best way you can, using interview training services if possible. When doing this, practice the answers to the questions likely to be asked, such as questions about your skills, experiences and qualifications. For this purpose, it is recommended to do research on the role you are applying for in the event of a question that you have not encountered being asked.
Also, make sure that your laptop or other device you are using is optimized for the service and ensure that the camera is functional and gives the recipient a clear view of you. You will have to give the employers video interview platform permission to access your camera and audio. Checking that your technology and Wi-Fi connection is capable of facilitating a video interview is also necessary.
4. Pick a Good Time to Record:
While you may have your equipment tested and ready, the last thing you want is an unexpected disturbance! Let anyone who may be around your immediate area know that you will be busy and that silence will be necessary. Keep pets out of the room and lock your door if needs be!
5. Prepare and Practice before the Interview:
Have a few answers prepared. Remember, this style of interviewing is more difficult in the sense that unlike the face to face interviews or zoom/teams interviews it is just you and the camera. This means your answers need to be more to the point and you cannot gauge what the interviewer thinks or read their body language etc. Practice speaking out loud to the camera. In the interview, try and keep your answers short to the point and make sure to answer the question asked!
Employers will want to know what you can bring to the company/firm and it is important to get these across early on. For example, when you are asked to describe yourself, explain how your qualifications (education, experience) developed these skills. In the limited time you have to answer this question about yourself, make sure that this information is prioritized over other personal, less important information.
During the Video Interview.
6. Look at the Camera:
As mentioned in the previous point when doing the video interview it is just you and the camera. If you look at the video of yourself on your screen and not directly at the camera it is the same as not making eye contact with the interviewer in the interview. They may see it as you are not interested or may think that you are reading your answers. By looking directly at the camera, will help you convey your answers, the interviewer will be able to see your authenticity and trustworthiness.
7. Keep your Personality:
It can be daunting to face into an interview with just a camera, and can often result in a robotic-like effect as the social aspect of an interview is diminished. As employers seek candidates that will fit well into the team, it is important to still show your personality where possible.
Try to answer the questions as if you are speaking to a colleague or try to imagine the interviewer in front of you. Avoid becoming monotone, it may be beneficial to go over how you plan to answer potential questions with a friend, this way you can refer to how you spoke previously when speaking to the camera.
8. Watch the Clock:
As you begin the video interview make sure to watch the clock. As you answer the questions, your answers may begin to flow and time may run out before you have finished or have answered the actual question. During the video interview, it is important to watch the clock and make sure to not go over time whilst using at least 70-75% of the time given to answer the question.
9. Follow a Structure:
Like all good stories, your video interview answers need a beginning, a middle and an ending. The definition of each section of your answer will vary through different questions. Despite this, aiming to keep your answer in three sections will help you to avoid waffling.
For example, when answering: “What Do you Consider to be your Greatest Weaknesses?” You may choose to approach the question like: Weaknesses you had and have — How you corrected past weaknesses, — How you are working on weaknesses today.
Try practising your answers with a structure in mind, this way it will come more naturally to you in the moment, and will help you to achieve a more complete, well-rounded answer. Try your best to be calm when speaking. If you have done your preparation properly, you should be able to speak clearly about what you can bring to the job! Clues for what an employer will be looking to hear from you are often found in the job description itself, so make sure to re-read it.
10. Say Thanks and Sign Off Strongly:
Lastly, take a moment to sign off at the end as you would in a normal interview. Consider preparing a short and slightly longer version beforehand, so you can choose in the moment. Reviewers of your video will be impressed that you took the time to say thank you and good-bye.
At Hilt we provide Video Interview Training to ensure that you do a great interview. For further information click here.
Sam Driver, Ellen Hyland and Emmet Lawler