How to survive a video interview

Someone having a video interview

Pre-recorded video interviews are becoming increasingly common. Here's how to ace yours.

With many companies looking to streamline processes, reduce costs and save time, it is becoming increasingly common to screen applicants with a pre-recorded interview.

There are plenty of benefits for the recruiting organisation: there is consistency in the questions asked of applicants, more people can be involved in the review and with decisions on short-listing applicants, and interview scheduling is non-existent as the recording can be watched when convenient. On top of this, the time needed to complete the initial interviews is reduced and can speed up the hiring process.

The benefits to applicants are they can record their interview when and where it is convenient, there is no need for them to take time off work, and each applicant is asked the same questions.

For many people, video interviewing is an unfamiliar experience. Sitting down in front of a blank screen with questions appearing at timed intervals, or asked by a person on-screen, can be challenging.

We have spoken to a number of people recently who have completed a video interview, so we felt it timely to provide some ideas on how to get prepared if you have to pre-record an interview.

  • Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted during the recording (don’t be this guy).
  • Although eye contact is not possible because you’re talking to a screen, look at the camera directly, rather than at the person or questions on the screen.
  • Smile and sit up straight.
  • Set up your camera or laptop so you are face-on. Make sure your camera is not angled upwards and add extra lighting so there are no shadows on your face.
  • If you are using your phone to record the interview, put it on a stable surface and don’t try to hold it at arm’s length.
  • Think about what is visible in the background.
  • Your clothing is important. A white shirt could be too bright, patterns could be distracting and black could make you ‘fade’ into the background.
  • Check your technology well beforehand. Ensure your connection is strong, there is nothing downloading n, or updates are not scheduled, your camera and microphone are working and close down any programs not in use.
  • Ensure you are as well prepared as you would be for a face to face interview.

The request to complete a Video interview should include the time it will take, the number of questions, how long you have to answer each question and a date the interview recording needs to be completed by. Some systems allow applicants to practice an answer to ensure their system is working, others commence the interview immediately.

Video interviewing and pre-recorded interviews are here to stay, and speed up the recruitment process. Spending the time at the beginning to set up for a video interview will pay off in the long term for you.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International