Video Interviewing (The New Norm)

Video interviewing is so widespread these days it would not be entirely incorrect to call it the norm. But despite the wide adoption of the on-demand (or one-way) video interview, materials on how to prepare for them are sparse.

Most interviewing guides are designed with one-on-one interviews in mind, and while these can provide general tips for their on-demand video counterparts, they fall short in critical areas.

So i have put together a comprehensive guide to video interviewing.

Hardware Preparation

If you have received an invitation to take a video interview, there are several things you will need before accepting it.

Taking a Video Interview via Computer:

You will need two things in order to take your video interview via computer:

1. Zoom, Microsoft teams, Skype or whatever software the interviewer has chosen (make sure you download the application in plenty of time).

Click here to download the most recent version of Zoom

2. A webcam. Most laptops now come with built-in webcams; but if your computer does not, you will need to purchase a USB-compatible webcam. Get this as soon as you can as they are in popular demand right now.

Ensure that your microphone and webcam are setup properly prior to accepting the interview invitation

Taking a Video Interview via Smartphone or Tablet:

Most video interviewing platforms now offer their own app. To take a video interview with your smartphone, simply download the app and input your interview code.

What To Expect

If you receive an email invitation to interview on-Demand, you should know what to expect going in.

On-demand interviews are not like one-on-ones, they do not have a live interviewer on the other end. Expect to respond to on-screen prompts, rather questions from a live recruiter or hiring manager. There are several different methods companies use to deliver questions, be prepared for any of the following:

  • Questions asked via pre-recorded video. After the video finishes, you will be given time (normally around 3 minutes) to respond.

  • Questions asked in a simple text format. Normally 30 seconds are given for you to read the question and prepare your response.

  • Questions requiring you to write (or draw). If you are applying for a role that involves a great deal of writing, expect to be asked for a written response to a prompt. Often these will involve doing outside research – do not close the interview window! It will be helpful to first draft your response in Microsoft Word or another text editor, just in case.

  • Coding challenges. If you are applying for a software development role, expect to be asked to code in response to a prompt. These challenges can be in any language- research what languages you will be expected to code in on the job. Be prepared to explain how and why you coded your responses in the way you did.

Preparing for the Interview

Preparation is key to success in any interview. Know the ins and outs of the position you’re applying for and understand where it fits into the big picture. Recognise the value it brings to the company – if you know this, it will be much easier to explain the value you bring to the position.

Dress appropriately. If you are unsure of what level of formality is expected, err on the side of caution. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Know your CV. You would be surprised at how many job candidates struggle to recall their duties in past positions, and how they are relevant to the position applied for. In the case of a video interview, you won’t be handing your CV to an interviewer, but you should still expect to answer questions related to past work experience.

Anticipate off the wall questions. Companies are using video interview technology to gauge skills and attributes they can’t with a CV. They want to see your personality and how well you can communicate and process your thoughts. Off the wall questions can give them insight into how well you can think and respond on the fly to unexpected situations. Here are a couple examples:

  • My son who was applying for an engineering apprenticeship was asked “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” to “What would you do with a million pounds?” (Well that’s an easy question,right?)

  • A Design company asked the applicant to draw a picture of themselves in the middle of the interview.

While these sorts of questions are not the norm, they are not unusual either – be prepared to think on your feet.

Practice speaking to your webcam. While you will be given the opportunity to practice in the interview, it may take longer for some to become accustomed to seeing themselves on camera.

The Interview Itself

While I really hope you’re not reading this while taking your interview, make sure to do these four things while taking a video interview:

1. Speak clearly. Okay, this should be pretty obvious for any interview, but it is even more important for on-demand video interviews. Each question only provides a certain amount of time to respond, so it is critical to speak clearly and efficiently in order to make the most of the time you’re given.

2. Focus on looking into the camera, not your own image. Looking at yourself while you respond can be distracting, and don’t be afraid to break eye contact when considering what to say next.

3. Make the most of time you’re given to prepare. If you are at a computer, you not only have easy access to your CV, the entirety of the internet is at your disposal. Consider referencing company resources when putting together your response.

4. Emote. This is another one that should be obvious – smile and display genuine interest in the position you’re applying for. Your video responses might be viewed by more than one recruiter or hiring manager, so it is important to make your answers as engaging as possible.

So while looking into a camera might not be typical or even comfortable, your interviewers still want to see the real you.

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Interview questions can often seem like trick questions, and properly navigating them is a crucial job-hunting skill. These are the most common “trick” interview questions and how to answer them:

1. What is your biggest weakness? Countless articles have been written addressing how to answer this one question. Most people make the mistake of trying to spin a positive attribute as a weakness, for example: “I work so hard I never have any free time.” Unfortunately, this question is not designed to see how well you can humble brag. Its purpose is to gauge your self-awareness, so answer honestly.

2. Where do you see yourself in five (or ten) years? When asking this question, interviewers are looking for realistic ambition. Setting goals for yourself outside of the interview will allow you to answer this question honestly and beneficially.

3. Why did you leave your previous job? If you are a college student or recent grad, this one is easy: “School.” If not, put a positive spin on why you left and don’t badmouth your previous employer.

4. Why do you want to work here? This is where company research comes into play. Use this question as an opportunity to show off how much you know about the organisation.

5. Tell me about a time you failed. What matters when answering this question is not how you failed, but how you responded to failure. Interviewers want to see how well you are able to bounce back from a negative experience.

6. Tell me about a time you had a conflict in the workplace. Again, what matters here is not so much the content of the conflict, but how you worked to resolve it after it occurred.

Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. There are plenty of interview tips available with good old Google or you can contact me at any time

I Think I Blew It

If you feel this way after completing your first video interview, don’t worry: everyone else feels the same way. Since there is no interviewer to provide nonverbal feedback after the interview’s completion, second-guessing yourself is very easy. Video interviewing is an entirely new medium for most applicants, so it is only natural to feel a little awkward. Don’t let it get you down and know that every other applicant is in the same boat.

I would love to hear about your online interviews, tell me how did you find it?

If you would like some friendly advice during your job search, please do give me a call or subscribe to our weekly newsletter

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