How to succeed in a recorded video interview

Posted in: Interviews

Video interviews are now a standard part of the recruitment process for many graduate employers. Video interviews are typically used early in the hiring process and can sometimes feel more awkward than a traditional live interview. This guide explains how video interviews work and provides top tips to help you succeed.

What is a recorded video interview?

In this type of interview, you are asked a series of questions and record your answers on video. There is no live interaction with an interviewer. The interview will consist of pre-recorded questions you must answer, usually with a set time limit. For example you might be given 30 seconds to prepare after reading each question. Then 1-3 minutes to provide your answer on camera. A timer will usually display how much response time remains. Some systems let you re-record answers, but others move automatically between questions.

A recorded video interview is quite similar to a real face-to-face interview in many respects. You still need to prepare thoroughly and present yourself professionally.

The advantage for employers is that they can review all candidate videos systematically and compare responses. Increasingly some of the assessment of responses might be done by AI.  For candidates, it allows you to participate at a time convenient to you.

The disadvantage is that it can feel really awkward as a candidate! While most of us have become more comfortable with video calls, a recorded video interview can feel quite unnatural. Especially with the added pressure of a time limit.

How to prepare

As with any interview, make sure you research the company and role fully. Understand the employer, the position you've applied for, key responsibilities and the skills and attributes they are looking for. Review the job description carefully. Think about the likely questions and practice answering them out loud. Review our interview resources on MyFuture for more help.

Practicing a video interview is a great way to get comfortable with the format and used to answering questions within a time limit. You can practice answering video interview questions and watch yourself back with our Graduates First package. Although Graduates First might not look exactly like the software the employer is using, you can check that your set up looks ok and get used to speaking to camera if it feels awkward to you. Find out more about Graduates First.

How to excel during the interview

Make the right impression

Make sure you have a suitable quiet space and your device is charged. Read any instructions that come with the video interview invite and test your tech.

Put your phone on silent and ensure that others are aware you are not to be disturbed. A dressing-gown clad housemate wandering around in the background is not going to set the right tone!

Remember, the camera doesn’t just see you but also captures the space you’re in so make sure your backdrop is suitable with nothing embarrassing or distracting in view. This doesn't neccessarily need to be an impressive bookshelf, a plain wall will do just fine. Make sure the lighting means your face can be seen clearly.

Dress as you would for an in-person interview to put you in the right mindset. Even though only your top half will be visible on camera we would suggest going for a professional look top and bottom - just in case!

It is easy to come across quite stilted on video, therefore imagine you are talking to a real person. Create a focal point directly in-front of the camera and ensure you maintain eye contact. Be careful of your body language, for example you may want to minimise hand and body movement which can be quite distracting on video.

Answering the questions

As most questions have short time limits, focus on providing clear, structured answers with key information. Review our interview resources on MyFuture for more help. Even though there is a time limit, make sure you aren't rushing your speech. Try to speak slowly and clearly. Have a glass of water handy.

Some students take advantage of the video interview set up by putting notes up all around their computer screen or on the wall behind. If you think this might be helpful do give it a go, but be wary of going overboard. Reading off a note can come across as unnatural and the notes might end up putting you off if you are panicking to find that one note to illustrate your answer. If you are going to do this, stick to some key points. You could also try putting a calming picture or something that makes you smile near your camera to look at during the interview.

Try not to panic

Finally – don’t panic. Just like with a normal interview with a live interviewer, things can happen. If you stumble over an answer or encounter an unexpected question - take a deep breath and do your best. And if you do think you have totally messed up a question, stay calm and move onto the next question. Each question is a fresh opportunity to succeed.

Similarly, if you do get an unexpected interruption - it isn't the end of the world. Remembering that you are being recorded and dealing with it calmly and professionally will maintain a good impression.

Further help

Review our interview resources on MyFuture for more help.

If you have further questions or need further help with video interviews or anything else - contact your firendly Careers team. You can email Phone 01225 386009. Or pop into our office on campus.

Posted in: Interviews


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