I have a client that is experimenting with a one-way video interview as a first step in lieu of a more typical phone screen. We have had a few people go through it. So far, the most positive review called it ‘awkward’. We did a little prep with each person ahead of the interview (hopefully not to their detriment). I wanted to share that approach in the hopes that it helps others if they run across this new format.
How to Prepare Yourself
To start, make sure you are reviewing the most important aspects of the role from the client’s perspective, whether it be a technical skill, soft skill or experience in a certain area. Be prepared to relate your experience in those areas with talking points or stories from your career. In this format, you are likely to get a question about your motivations for making a change. Also prepare to answer a question about your compensation expectations, but you likely won’t get into super deep technical questions. Remember, you have the advantage of recording your responses whenever is convenient. Keep in mind while you will get some time to gather your thoughts before starting your answer, you’ll typically only get one take for each question.
It’s important to keep your answers concise and powerful, while also giving enough detail to demonstrate your skill set. It’s a delicate balance as there’s usually a time limit to your answers (3 minutes in my recent experience with this format). It’s worth discussing to get into the right mental space to deal with these competing priorities.
How to Present Yourself in a One-Way Video Interview
Make sure you have a quiet environment for good sound and a clean background. Test your camera and mic ahead of time so you don’t run into recording issues. Frame the camera so your head is in the middle of the frame horizontally. Your eyes should be one third of the way from the top of the frame, and two thirds from the bottom without cutting the top of your head off (see picture). Look into the camera lens when you answer as that is your eye contact with the hiring manager. This feels awkward but make yourself do it. If you’re a fast-talker, slow it down so you make sure you are understood. And don’t forget to smile a bit when you speak – it really does help.