How to succeed in a video interview: the do’s, don’ts and reasons to enjoy it
Apr 5, 2020

Video now occupies a central place in both social media and job recruitment. A video interview is a new way of communication between a candidate and a recruiter, saving time for both parties. If you think that a video interview equals a live interview, then you’re wrong. Let’s review the main differences, the common mistakes made during video interviews and how to avoid them.

How a video interview differs from an ordinary job interview 

A video interview is a monologue. Think about it as sending a video CV to the recruiter. There is no instant feedback and no two-way communication. 

Usually it looks like this: With the help of a specialized service, a recruiter creates a list of questions and time limits for answers. You’re sent a link by email that takes you to a video interview platform. You record the answers on camera. There are only several seconds to think before answering, or no time at all for preparation — everything depends on the recruiter and what he/she wants to know about you. 

What does a recruiter want? 

For example, he or she might want to see how you present your ideas, how fast you think and how you act under unpredictable circumstances. For sure, no one will tease you with questions about tennis balls or ask to find the square root of 4,634,289,423; so relax. Also, everything depends on the position you’re applying for. If you’re aiming for a position in a communications department then you definitely should be confident and talk candidly. A future risk manager must be able to think critically and structurally. 

Some basic recommendations for success:

  • Rehearse your answers
    You should be able to convey all the information in 3 minutes. This is the approximate time a recruiter gives to answer a question. Record your answers and check yourself beforehand — then you can practice more and make changes if needed. 
  • Learn more about the company
    Classic move, but don’t forget about it! Go through a company’s website, learn about the business and details.
  • Choose a suitable place
    Don’t record in bed nor in a noisy cafe. When a recruiter watches your response he/she will definitely hear the noise from a coffee machine and people walking around. Also, keep your dog/cat/bird far from the interview in order to prevent bow-bow or meow meow on the background — that’s cute but irrelevant. 
  • Dress code
    Dress like for a usual office interview. No suits or cufflinks — white shirt and combed hair will be enough. Pajamas won’t work.

Typical mistakes:

  1. Active gesturing
    Gestures on video are more distractive than during live conversation. If you cover half of your face with your hand this won’t look so good. If you really want to show something then make movements in the lower area of the shot.
  2. Look at the camera
    This can be difficult because it’s a bit strange to speak to yourself, but if you imagine that a camera is the recruiter’s eyes then it will be much easier. 
  3. Irrelevant answers
    Try not to overload your answers with unnecessary details and thoughts. If you’re asked: “Why did you choose our company?”, don’t stretch the answer, and be clear. For example, “I like your company because you have an agile approach and create a great product that I love.” 
  4. No mess in the background
    The best background is a plain white wall. If there is no such wall, then any neutral background will do. No carpets, no posters and no mess on your desktop. It will be weird if you talk about how neat you are while the video shows a very different picture. 

That’s it. Video interviews are no harder than any live interviews you’ve had in the past. Moreover, they’re easier to prepare for if you take our advice. 

Good luck and remember to be honest with the camera!

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