8 Tips for Nailing Your One-Way Video Interview

woman recording interview answers with phone

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May 18, 2024 at 6:36AM UTC

Congratulations! The job you applied to wants to interview you, which means your application passed through the first phase of scrutiny, and the recruiter thinks you have the potential to succeed in the role. But it’s not just any interview; it’s a one-way video interview. 

Interviewing for the job from your couch may seem like a piece of cake, but it's actually more important now than ever to carry yourself with professionalism, despite the comfortable contrast of your lovely abode. 

So, if you want to put your best self forward, you'll want to keep reading to learn all about recorded video interviews and our top tips for nailing yours.

How does a one-way video interview work?

A one-way video is a recorded interview in which you’ll essentially speak into the camera rather than talk face-to-face with a human interviewer. This may be a little disconcerting since you won’t be able to gauge the interviewer’s reaction to your responses (although, in some cases, this may make it less nerve-wracking). Usually, you’ll receive the questions or prompts in advance or via a video message at the beginning of the “interview.” The hiring manager, recruiter or hiring team will then review your prerecorded responses to their questions after you submit your video. 

What questions are often asked in a video interview?

A recorded video interview will, for the most part, serve as a screening interview, replacing a phone interview (in some cases, you may have both types of interviews, however). That means many of the questions will serve to determine whether you should move on to the next round, usually a face-to-face interview. Therefore, many of the questions will likely overlap with those you’re accustomed to in a phone interview, such as:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work at this company? 
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • In what type of environment do you work best?
  • What are your top three strengths?
  • What are your top three weaknesses?
  • Why should we hire you?

What should I wear to a one-way video interview?

You should dress no differently from how you would if you were going into an office for an interview. Remember — the interviewer will see your face and the top half of your body, so you should look professional. A nice blouse or dress should do the trick, and depending on your level of formality, you might wear a nice jacket or blazer, too. While it’s true that you don’t have to worry about your bottom half, wearing pajama problems problem isn’t going to make you feel professional or put-together, and your mindset will carry over into how you behave on camera. Shoes might affect your demeanor, too.

8 Tips for acing a one-way video interview.

1. Find a quiet, distraction-free environment.

If you live with other people, let them know that you need them to avoid the area for however long the interview should last. It should also be a well-lit, professional-looking space — such as a study or living room — and not your bedroom. If you live in a studio, try to find a clean area that doesn’t show your bed, such as a desk or couch with a table.

2. Use whatever device makes you most comfortable. 

A webcam on your laptop or desktop computer is probably best since you’ll avoid jerky or shaking movements, but if all else fails, your phone should suffice. Most employers will send you a link for an app or another platform to record your interview, and it will probably work on multiple devices. Just make sure to test the video and microphone functions beforehand; you don’t want them to fail in the middle of your recording.

3. Follow instructions.

Read all the directions carefully before you start recording. You don’t want to skip anything important because you weren’t thorough beforehand — this will leave the interviewers with a bad impression of you. 

4. Treat your one-way video interview like any other interview.

This is no less important than any other interview. That means you need to prepare accordingly: research the company thoroughly, run through sample questions (if you get them in advance, all the better; if not, use common interview questions as your guide), reflect on your strengths, weaknesses and other qualifications and do anything else that will make you feel confident for the interview.

5. Practice (but don’t over-rehearse).

Part of preparing means practicing. Again, if you receive the questions ahead of time, you can practice your responses to them specifically. But even if you don’t, you can still practice with common questions so you sound confident. However, don’t memorize responses word for word. You’ll sound too rehearsed if you do, and that won’t allow your true self and personality to come through. If you can, work with a friend or trusted colleague so they can give you tips.

6. Pay attention to your body language.

Unlike with a phone interview, you will be visible in a recorded video interview, which means body language matters. Make eye contact with the camera, smile and avoid nervous ticks like fingernail-biting or playing with your hair. It can be difficult to talk into a camera rather than converse with a person since you can’t see her reaction, so in addition to practicing your responses to questions, you should also practice making eye contact and speaking in front of a camera to help you gain comfort in that environment.

7. Re-record if necessary (and if you can).

Make sure you understand whether you can push the back button and if so, how many times you’re able to rerecord. (Practice is even more essential if you can’t.) Even if you can rerecord a limitless number of times, don’t go crazy — you’ll likely make it worse if you become obsessed with making your video perfect.

8. Submit your recorded interview on time.

Don’t miss the due date for submitting your interview. This is probably stated in the interview instructions (which you have of course read). Don’t procrastinate and put it off too long; you’ll risk forgetting about it entirely and missing the deadline altogether. If you don’t have time to do it early, schedule a specific time to complete it and set calendar reminders.

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