What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a video interview? “ Oh yeah, that’s a Skype interview right?” Not quite, in fact they are very different. It’s a common mistake. Time after time when we ask clients if they have ever done a video interview or if they would like some video interview practise, they assume we are referring to a Skype/video call interview.

It’s important not to make the mistake of confusing the two, especially if you have one (or the other!) coming up. Know the differences and be prepared– the number 1 rule for any type of interview. See our quick guide below on the differences between video and Skype/video call interviews.

Skype (or similar) video call interview

This can be on any video call platform, not just Skype. The premise here is that it is a two-way conversation in real time between you and the interviewer(s), via a computer, microphone and camera. A call is set up for a certain time, you both log on at the set time and hey presto! You see each other on the screen and the interview begins. Both parties can see each other and a real time two-way conversation can be had. It’s the same premise and layout as a face-to-face interview other than you are seeing each other on a screen. You can see the interviewer’s reactions to your answers and it will feel like a normal conversation; it should feel like a normal interaction.

Video interview

This type of interview again will take place via a computer, with a microphone and camera.  It may also be called an asynchronous interview. It is a one-way interaction. You will be asked to log in to specified video interview software, usually sent via an email link with instructions. You will be given a time window of up to 72 hours to log in and complete the interview at a time convenient to you.

When you log on you will either be greeted with a video recording of a person asking interview questions, questions displayed on a screen or both. You will be able to see yourself on the screen and then talk to the camera and record your answers in succession as each question is displayed or presented.

The difference

The difference here is that a conversation is not happening in real time. You are not interacting in real time with an interviewer. You are listening to, watching and/or reading a pre-recorded message, which you then answer in real time. Essentially, you are sending the interviewer a video recorded answer.

That’s great!

You may think to yourself – this is great, I can record as many times as I like, I can practice my answers to each question and submit my very best polished shot! However, most employers will set the video interview so that you get just one practise question. You can record and re-record your answer to the practise question as many times as you want before you delete it. After that it’s show time and your first recording of each answer is automatically submitted. Not so easy now hey?

Here’s the tricky part

Unless you know what to expect and practise, video interviews can be awkward and nerve wracking. Recording your answers to a computer screen with no way to gauge feedback from the interviewer is not something we are used to doing. The interviewer will review your answers when they choose to log on after your video interview has been submitted. They can pause, rewind, share (and even fast forward!) your answers, so it will come under heavy scrutiny.

There is also a time limit to record each answer whereby the recording will just cut you off mid sentence if you don’t finish within the allocated time e.g. 2 minutes. Pressure! Feeling overwhelmed?

The good news!

Don’t fear, you now know the differences between these two types of interview, which can often be mistaken for one another. Wouldn’t it be awful to go in expecting a video call, only to be confronted with a recording light and a timer counting down your answer!

Now you are aware of the differences, you can clarify with the employer which style of interview you are being asked to complete and can then prepare accordingly.

In summary

Whilst both take place via a computer, microphone and camera, a Skype/video call interview is a two-way interaction where the interviewer is on the other end in real time.

A video interview is a one-way activity with no real time interaction with the interviewer. You record your answers in response to pre-recorded messages, which the interviewer then views after you have submitted.

For information on how to do a great video interview read more from our blog Video Interviews – what to expect and how to prepare. You can also contact us at Hilt for help with interview preparation including video interview training.

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