One-Way and Live Video Interviews

Original Content Created by Heather Houlton (heather dot houlton at gmail dot com)

There are other interviewing strategies outside of the traditional phone screenings and technical interviews. More and more, companies are using a variety of video-interview methods. Here, we'll discuss two of the common types: One-way video interviewing, and live video interviews. 

One-way video Screening Interviews: These are becoming more common because it takes fewer resources and less staff time, which allows companies to screen more applicants in a shorter period. But what is a one-way video interview? It's an opportunity for you to answer pre-determined questions from the company and record your answers as a video. In our experience, this is what happens:

  1. You will receive a link from HR explaining that you've been invited to participate in a one-way video interview. 
  2. Upon clicking the link, you'll be taken to a page with the job details, usually including the title, description, and location. They'll also give you basic instructions on how the one-way interview will work. 
  3. When ready, click the button (or link) to launch your one-way video interview. Don't worry, it won't start right away. 
  4. Every company sets up their interviews differently, but in general, here are the parameters in which you will conduct the interview: 
  • Number of questions: They should let you know how many questions to expect to answer, and the general amount of time it will take you to complete the whole interview.
  • Either the questions will be prompted only as text, or they will have a representative from the company ask you the question in a video and have the question prompted as well. It depends on how the company has set up the interview. 
  • Number of attempts per question: For each question, you are given a certain number of attempts to record and submit your answer to the question successfully. Some will only give you one try, some might give you two or more tries.
  • Time limit to read/view the question and plan your response: Some companies put a time limit on how long you get to think about the question before recording your answer. Others will give you an unlimited amount of time to consider the question before starting your recorded answer. 
  • Time limit to respond to the question: Each question will likely have a time limit - and the prompt will tell you how long you have in the beginning of each question. During your recording, there will be a timer counting down so you can keep track of how long you have left to finish your response. 

Once you've finished, it'll give you instructions on how to wrap up and what the next steps will be. 

Live video interviews: Live video interviews over Skype, Zoom, or other video platforms are a lot less awkward than the one-way video interview where it seems that you're just talking to yourself. At least with a live interview, you can have a discussion and go back and forth in conversation with the person/people on the other side of the camera. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while on a video interview:

  • Make "eye contact" by looking into your camera as much as possible. It seems awkward at first, but if you only look at the video of the person on your screen, your eyes are not looking at them through the camera. So, as you speak, try to look straight into your camera as much as possible. It helps show confidence, direct communication, and simulates eye contact. 
  • Remember the notes that we have outlined for potential interview questions? Be sure to keep those up so you can glance at them if needed. It also helps to have that fall back for if you get nervous and forget how to start an answer. But remember, once you glance at your notes be sure to look back into the camera to simulate that eye contact. 
  • Dress professionally. Yes, it needs to be said. Not only will the interviewer be assessing how you present yourself, but if you dress formally for the interview, it will put you in the right mindset as well. 
  • Be prepared to ask your own questions at the end. Again, this is part of the "test" of an interview. How much research have you done? Where are the gaps in understanding and what information is important for you to know to make a decision about this role and company? Just like in the phone interviews, preparing solid questions to learn more demonstrates your interest. 

No matter what the format of the video interview is, we recommend that you practice your interview questions and responses out loud. You might even try to video yourself to see how you come across and tweak accordingly.