Christina’s experience with video interviews

6 min read
HomeBlogChristina’s experience with video interviews
With more and more students vying for a coveted spot in a Vacationer or Grad program, a large number of companies are including video interviews as a step in their recruitment process. While even traditional face-to-face interviews are intimidating in their own right, having to appeal yourself to recruiters through a screen may be even more so - especially for those of you going through applications for the first time. I’ll be breaking down my own experience with video interviews, hopefully giving you a better idea of what to expect when it’s your turn!

So what is a video interview?

Despite what it sounds like, you won’t be on a Skype chat with a real interviewer. Instead, you’ll be recording answers to questions and submitting them to the recruitment team for review. A typical video interview will consist of 3-5 questions, with only one (or sometimes two if you’re lucky) attempt for each part.

How is it structured?

There’s a set time limit to read and then answer each question, but be careful, the time frames can be different for each! The video will automatically start and stop recording when the timers run out, so make sure you finish your answer within the time frame. You’ll also have to complete the entire interview in one go - you can’t leave halfway and come back to finish it later, so make sure you’ve allowed yourself enough time. From my experience, it shouldn’t take any longer than 30 minutes (excluding practice!).

When do I do one?

Video interviews are typically used as the next step after psychometric testing. If the company you’ve applied for includes video interviews as a part of their recruitment process, you’ll know you’ve successfully passed to the next stage if you receive an interview invitation in your inbox. Depending on the company, this can take anywhere from several days to several weeks.

What’s the point of video interviews?

Recruitment teams from companies that typically deal with a large volume of applicants like to use video interviews as an additional way to filter through candidates’ applications. Getting to the assessment centre stage is extremely competitive, so having an initial idea of what kind of person you are, helps companies with deciding who makes it through. Using your submission, the recruitment teams will be judging to see if you:
  1. Are a confident communicator
  2. Can answer questions efficiently under pressure
  3. Have qualities/skills that align with the company values

What sort of questions will I be asked?

While every company looks for different criteria, you can expect most, if not all questions to be behavioural-based. The intention is that from your answer, the recruitment team can get an idea of how you might fit into a team and what particular skills/qualities you can bring to the table.
To give you an idea, a typical behavioural-based question might sound something like:
  • “Give an example of a time where you had to show XXX and what was the result?”
  • “When was the last time you experienced XXX in a group setting and how did you approach it?”
There might also be the usual questions that aim to gauge your interest and knowledge of the company. These may be questions like:
  • “Introduce yourself and why you’re applying for this company”
  • “Why did you choose the business unit that you did?”

Tips for success:

1. Do your research!

As with any interview, it’s important to go into it being confident with your knowledge about the company and the role you’re applying for. You might want to familiarise yourself with the particular characteristics they look for in applicants and their culture/goals, which you can always find on their website. Doing this, you can then frame your answers in a way that shows:
  1. you’ve done your research, and
  2. you correspond with their specific values.

2. Keep your surroundings in mind

The video and sound quality using a computer webcam already isn’t great, so try and avoid making it worse by using your phone to record your interview. The less things to distract your assessors or you, the better. Before you start, make sure your background is free of mess or pets, that there’s plenty of light and no loud sounds to interfere with your recording.

3. Don’t leave it to the last minute

You’ll be given a submission deadline, typically within 48-72 hours of receiving the video interview invitation. Of course you can complete your interview anytime, but it’s always a good idea to submit your interview as early as possible.
While not every firm does this, some companies hire on a rolling basis. This means that they fill the roles for a position as they work through each application, rather than selecting from the group after reviewing all candidates. If you’ve submitted your interview later in the time period, it may be possible that vacancies for the position you’ve applied for have already been filled by the time the recruitment team get to your application.

4. Look at the camera

Yes, this one may sound obvious but you’ll be surprised how hard it actually is to not look at yourself on the screen! For a video interview, looking into the camera would be the equivalent of making eye contact with a face-to-face interviewer, so if you’re averting your eyes and looking at the screen, you might come across as nervous or shy.

5. Make use of the practice questions

No matter the company, every video interview lets you practice with similarly styled questions before you start the real thing. You can do them as many times as you need, so take advantage of it! While some of you may want to get it over and done with as soon as possible, it’s good to give yourself time to get comfortable with the camera. Having a succinct response that actually answers the question within the given time will definitely look better than rambling for 60 seconds and getting cut off mid-sentence. If you’re struggling with staying within the time limit, try the STAR method to frame your answers - Situation, Task, Action, Result.

6. Appearance DOES matter (sorry!)

Don’t forget that this is the company’s first look at you, and your chance to make a good first impression. Dress how you would to a real-life interview. If you’re a known fidgeter, keep your hair tied up and away from your face so you’re not tempted to play with it.
While some of you would want to keep your PJ bottoms on as it won’t be seen by the camera anyway, it might actually make you feel more self-conscious and harder to get into that professional mindset.

Okay I’ve done the interview, now what?

Once you’ve completed the video interview, you’ll receive an automated confirmation email confirming your submission. From there, all you have to do now is wait! Most companies will get back to you regardless of the outcome of your application, so don’t freak out if you haven’t heard from them in a while - it just means they’re still making a decision!
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