Video interview tips to get the job you want

6 video interview tips 

Are you desperate to get the job you want? You’re not alone. COVID has prompted us all to make some big changes in our lives and assess whether we’re living the lives we want. Whether you’re deciding to move house, you found a new sense of purpose, or start a new career path, this past year has been full of change.

For many people this has meant entering into a new job market or simply just re-entering the market after some time out. Whilst the enthusiasm for getting a job you want might be there, your interview skills might not be as up-to-date as you’d like.

An increasingly common part of the hiring process that sometimes throws people are recorded video interviews. A two way zoom call is probably something you’re used to, but don’t confuse a recorded video interview with a video call.

A one-way video interview is usually the more official interview. Meanwhile, the initial video interview is normally a one-way video in which questions pop up for the candidate to answer. It’s a great way for the interviewer to get to know the candidate before progressing them to the next interview stage and with 89% of organizations using video interviewing for recruitment, it pays to do your research.

How do you nail that all-important video interview? Find out with our 6 video interview tips to get the job you want.


What exactly is a video interview?

A video interview is similar to a face to face interview and a video call interview, the only difference is that the interview isn’t done in real time. Instead of having a two way conversation between the candidate and hiring manager, the video interview questions are pre-recorded and answered in the candidates own time. The candidates' answers are then recorded and watched back by the hiring manager. Each candidate is given the same questions with the same amount of time to answer, and then assessed.

Video interviews are a great resource for companies as they allow the hiring manager to get a feel for a person without meeting them. They save a lot of time and ensure that hiring managers don’t invite the wrong people in for an interview. The main reason they are used is so that companies can get a more ‘human’ impression of a person rather than just a CV or cover letter. It bridges that gap and gives the candidate a better opportunity, without wasting anyone's time with a long, formal interview.

In a video interview, companies are looking to get a feel for the candidate's personality and assess their suitability for the role. It’s a great chance for the candidate to express their skills and detail why they want to work at the company.


1. Look the part, and set the scene

Although the interview is recorded and not face to face, you still need to ensure that you look the part. Showing the hiring manager that you are neat and professional will prove your interest in the role so be sure to wear professional clothing. Be confident, make eye contact with the camera and smile. 

Above and beyond your attire, think about setting the scene too. The environment you record the video in should be uplifting and professional, with minimal noise. Find a quiet setting and notify others in your home when and where you’ll be interviewing so they know not to bother you.


2. Don’t treat it like just another Zoom call

Treat the video interview as a proper face-to-face meeting, and assume the niceties that you would in person. Even though the hiring manager may never find out that you had pajamas on your bottom half, you will know and subconsciously this may impact your performance

You should practice, practice, practice for a video interview by recording yourself and speaking for one minute at a time. Often in video interviews, someone may get cut off if their answer goes on too long, so it’s good to know roughly how long your answers will be. You may also want to make some notes and have them by your side or stuck to your screen when you record, just in case you have a complete blank. It happens to the best of us!


3. Be impressive but also keep it real

The pre-recorded format can feel unnatural to some people but this is an opportunity to show your authentic personality. As opposed to listing all of the skills you have your suitability will be assessed based on your CV, and likely with competency-based questions. 

The hiring manager will be looking for a person who can connect, resonate and collaborate well with the team so don’t hold back on your true self. Keeping it real is essential so that the hiring manager can assess whether you’re a good fit for the company culture, so be sure to keep the human conversation in there. Saying things like, “hope you’re well”, “thanks for the opportunity” or even stating that this is a new process for you and you’re a bit nervous will instantly make you more human and more likeable. For most organisations, personality and values are more important than experience and skills so be yourself and enjoy the process. 


4. Plan talking points and retake if you’re able

Often video interviews will give you a few chances at each question. This is a major bonus for the candidate and should definitely be used! The great perk of a video interview is that you can get it wrong and go again - you don’t get that privilege in face-to-face interviews so make the most of it.

After you record an answer, watch yourself back and see where you could improve. Then, go again if you want to. Be warned though - you might go a bit crazy if you keep rewatching and trying to improve. We all find ourselves cringe on camera, so for some people this might not be an enjoyable exercise!


5. Get your tech right, create a quality recording

With premium recording software out there, it might be a good idea to look into your options. This is especially true if it is a tech role or 100% remote role that you’re going for. Using a mobile is higher resolution than recording on your laptop or computer, and often an iPhone will be preferable for both audio and video quality. Your ability to record and send a video interview is also a measure of your technical skillset and ability to work remotely, so be sure to create a quality recording.

For most video interviews, they will simply send you a link which you click on and start recording in your browser. If this is the case, be sure to record on the best device possible when you click that link and start answering the questions.


6. Utilise the SAR method

The SAR interview method is a great technique to work with when prepping for your video interview. It will enable you to remember specific and concrete examples of your skills and the times you used them in practice which is super helpful when you’re under pressure. Having a few SAR examples to hand will help you keep the flow of conversation (even if it is one way) and ensure you are playing to your strengths.

  • Situation: Give the interviewer some context, what was the situation and why was this a problem?
  • Action: What did you do to fix the conflict or resolve the issue?
  • Result: How did this help? What was the outcome in the end?
Are you ready to master your video interview?

If you’ve got a video interview coming up, congrats! It’s a great achievement to make it to this stage and it’s important to remember that they liked what they saw in your CV and cover letter to progress you this far. The video interview process can feel strange, but just be yourself. The purpose is often to get a better feel for your personality and vibe, rather than assess your skills. If you keep calm and try to enjoy it, you will come across authentically and that’s all hiring managers want at this stage.


Still keen to learn more about the interview process? You can read our recent article on why preparation is key to smashing your interview over on our blog. Good luck with your interview, and reach out to a consultant for more tips, career advice, and assistance with your job search.