Companies are now more commonly using video interviews in recruitment as they help employers to narrow down the pool of candidates to invite for the next stage of the application process.
As well as questions that assess how you work, and the achievements you've made, you could also be asked what previous experiences in other professional situations, any previous successes, or even failures and how you've overcome these and learnt from them.
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Video Interview Questions
Try recording and playing back your answers to common video interview questions such as:
- Tell me about a time you needed to use teamwork to solve a problem.
- Describe a situation where you made an important decision that you knew would prove unpopular with certain people.
- What motivates you at work?
- Describe a time when you needed to develop an unconventional approach to solve an existing problem.
- Which achievements are you particularly proud of?
- You are facing significant resistance from a prospective client over costs. How would you win them over?
- Tell me why you want to work here?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ensure you have a webcam and microphone connected to your PC or laptop. You will also need to allow access to your microphone and camera if you're using your phone. This will be used only to record your responses. You can then play them back to review your responses yourself. You will also need Flash installed on your browser.
Different types of video interviews
Video interviews will predominantly take two formats: Live interview and pre-recorded.
Live interviews are very similar to face-to-face interviews. You may be asked to take part in video interview over Skype or any other video conference call platform. For these you need to be as prepared as you would for a face-to-face interview. There are no second-takes or do-overs, you will need the same flow as a conventional interview.
Pre-recorded interviews differ in that you will not be faced with someone on the other end asking live questions. Instead, you will be asked a series of questions and you will be required to record your answer and submit it. With this format, you will more than likely be given around 2 minutes of recording time for each question. It's important you are familiar with all aspects of the role and business you are applying for. Also you want to know answers to potential questions centred around your motivations, ambitions, and other common topics.
Advantages of video interviews
A video interview allows a candidate to record their responses to questions which they would expect to answer in a typical interview, but at a time and place suitable for them. The interview can be conducted from any PC, or laptop with a webcam and microphone. The software is becoming more functional with smartphones. Being able to conduct the interview from almost anywhere at anytime also reduces the need for the candidate to travel to the office.
The benefits for the candidate are that they have more time, not under the stress and pressure of a face-to-face interview, to prepare their responses to the given questions. The advantage over a telephone interview is that candidates have the possibility to look smart and present themselves in a professional manner.
The benefit for the companies conducting the recruitment process in this way is that they can interview more people, as they can review the recordings from each candidate for each of the questions asked. No time is taken up by preparing a meeting room and preparing for the interview with each candidate, candidates will be under less pressure and will not be as stressed about arriving in good time for the interview. A candidate's responses are also available to watch back multiple times, whereas once an interview has been conducted and the candidate has left it becomes difficult to hear the candidate's responses to questions again. The interviewer then has to rely on the notes they've taken or what they can remember.
Video interview advice
There are key things you need to consider that will drastically improve the overall performance of your video interview.
It is important to make sure all the technical aspects are optimised in your favour. A poorly shot video will look unfavourably on you, it can affect the views of the employer even if the content of your video is fantastic.
Ensure the camera quality is good, now it doesn't have to be super HD but make sure its clear enough and isn't pixelated or blurry. Lighting can help with this. A well lit shot is essential, you don't want it to look dark and gloomy, especially if you're filming in your bedroom as this will look unprofessional (Conversely, be sure not too have too much light, you're not auditioning for twilight!).
Next, you need to ensure you have a suitable microphone, the in-built microphones of computers or laptops will generally be ok, or you could use a microphone attached to headphones. Test these elements before you start, there's nothing worse than entering a video interview and the interviewers not being able to hear you and then you spending the next 5 mins trying to fix your audio, or submitting a video with poor/no sound.
You can make use of notes, but only do this subtly! Having a visible piece of paper you're reading off will look very bad. If you want to have a few notes then I would recommend having them behind the camera at a height that looks natural if you were to gaze at them once in a while. Experiment with notes placement if they are something that you find that you absolutely require.
Finally, make sure the webcam is at a good height, your posture is good and the background is mainly plain and clean. You should be the main focus, not your messy bed!
And don't forget, be positive and smile!