How to impress a robot – the new kind of job interview style

Recruiting is time-hungry work and finding ways to slim down the process while still getting the right people into jobs is the Holy Grail for HR people.

For candidates this has created quite a lot of changes in the recruitment and job interview process. Recently I’ve heard many people talking about recorded video interviews becoming used more often. This technique takes advantage of improvements in technology and provides a more cost and time effective way to screen applicants for job roles.

So what do you need to do to prepare for a video interview? When would you expect one and how can you perform at your best? Here’s all you need to know.



Which part of the recruitment process are video interviews used for?

In my experience this kind of job interview means your CV has got through the initial sift and this is your first chance to answer some questions which will be seen by the recruiting team. Sometimes this may replace a telephone or Skype interview and it is probable that candidates successful at this stage will be are invited to an interview (with real people!)

Each organisation will be different, but it’s likely that the videos are viewed by more than one person and that using a video interview system means they don’t have to go through the difficulty of synchronising diaries as people can view the interviews and provide feedback independently.

There is also the advantage of comparing candidates’ answers to questions side-by-side to help recruiters be certain who they want to progress.

Prepare your environment

You will know you’re doing a video interview, so choose a place that’s quiet, warm and comfortable.

Look behind you, if there’s a pile of washing or untidy bookshelf, you might want to deal with that before starting the recording. Have a glass of water close at hand to sip between questions and have all your preparation (e.g. research about the company) close at hand. Make sure you won’t be disturbed and then get going.

Larger than life

They say the camera adds 10 pounds, but that’s not what you need to be worried about when it comes to video interviews. This is your first chance to show your real self to the recruiter beyond what you can put across in a CV.

My advice is to be little more upbeat than usual (without tipping over into crazy!) as viewing the video rather than meeting the person dulls the impact a little. Body language and eye contact are still important, even though you aren’t getting the usual feedback that you’d get from a person. Look at the camera, smile, and try not to wave your arms around or fidget too much as this will appear distracting on screen.

What you’re wearing still matters, so dress as you would for an interview. But above everything, be yourself and treat the questions the same as you would in an interview with real people.

How to answer the questions

Treat the questions just as you would a face-to-face interview.  Try to be natural self as much as possible, not easy when you are talking to a screen I agree. You’re looking to show off your experience and skills, so remember to say “I” not “we” and prepare structured examples linked to the skills the job role sets out. Take a look at my tips here  for preparing for an interview.

Charlotte Wesbroom had a video interview for a placement year position at a leading online fashion retailer. “It was more nerve-wracking than a normal interview and the one I did had a set amount of time for you to answer questions, so there was always a clock counting down on screen.

“It was nice to see a video of the person asking the question, but weird that you don’t get any of the usual body language or eye contact clues when you’re just talking to a camera.

“I prepared the same way as I would for a face-to-face interview and the questions were what I anticipated.

“I hope they’re not, but I think video interviews are going to be much more common in the future.”

If you’re feeling unsure about how best to prepare for an interview or are applying for jobs but aren’t being successful, my career coaching service might be just what you need. Give me a call to schedule an informal chat to see how I could help on 07765 894040.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.