Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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  • With the global lockdown in place until at least until the end of May, you might be asked to participate in a video interview in lieu of one in person interview.
  • To prepare, research the company, develop a list of your own questions and practice your responses.
  • You'll likely be asked to "Tell me about yourself," "Why did you leave your last job?" and "Why are you interested in this organization and position?"

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In the digital age, video interviews are becoming an integral part of many hiring processes. You might be asked to participate in a screening interview in lieu of or in addition to a phone interview before meeting the employer in-person. If you’re interviewing for a remote position, this can also be a viable alternative to a face-to-face meeting, although many employers will still want to have you come in prior to hiring you. 

Today, there is a wide range of platforms for conducting video interviews, such as Zoom and Skype. Some recruiters will also ask you to record a video interview, which often means you can perfect your responses before submitting them.

How do you prepare for a video interview? Practice is one of the most important steps. To help you get ready, here are common video interview questions you can expect.

How do I prepare for a video interview?

Preparing for a video interview involves many of the same steps as preparing for a phone or in-person interview, including:

  • Researching the company
  • Developing a list of your own questions
  • Practicing your responses

However, there are some other steps to keep in mind for this type of platform. For example, you’ll need to ensure that your internet connection is stable and won’t flake out on you mid-interview. You should also test the video software beforehand, ensuring that the camera and sound are working properly. You should wear professional clothing, as you would in a face-to-face interview, and ensure that your environment is free of distractions. That means asking anyone you live with to avoid disturbing you during the interview time.

When you test the video platform, see what the lighting and picture look like. Experiment with different backdrops to give the best presentation.

Is a video interview a good sign?

A video interview is a good sign in that you’ve been identified as a potential fit for the position. Keep in mind that it’s often (but not always) used in place of a phone interview as a screening system to determine whether or not the employer wants to meet you in person, so there are probably several more steps and rounds of interviews to get through in the hiring process. 

What are the top 10 interview questions?

What kind of questions are asked in a video interview? Here are 10 common ones to prepare for, along with sample answers and tips for responding.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Focus on what makes you ideal for the role in question, highlighting your current job and specific, relevant duties and achievements. Emphasize aspects that overlap with the position for which you're interviewing.

Sample answer: “I’m currently the marketing manager at X company. I manage five employees and oversee all marketing efforts, including digital advertising and social media. I’ve been in marketing since I graduated from college seven years ago and particularly concentrate on creative digital strategies.”

2. Why are you interested in this organization and position?

Review the job description and use your research to emphasize how you can help the organization and why it aligns with your own interests. Focus more on what you can do for them than what they can do for you.

Sample answer: “Sustainability is a huge concern of mine, so I’m drawn to your mission of developing environmentally-friendly solutions. I’m particularly interested in your social media campaigns. I see that you’ve done a lot to grow your social media presence, and given my experience with these types of initiatives in the past, I think I can help you grow your audience even more.”

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question is meant to assess your commitment to the organization, as well as to see whether you’re a goal-oriented person. Therefore, you should emphasize your desire to grow at the business.

Sample answer: “I’d love to be in a directorial role and oversee all the marketing initiatives for X Organization. I’d like to be in a position to help you grow as an organization.”

4. What is your ideal work environment?

Your response to this question will help the recruiter assess how you’ll fit in with the rest of the company. While you shouldn’t lie, ideally, your response will correlate with the established culture and environment. For example, if you prefer working in a private office and the business has an open office plan, it may not be the best fit.

Sample answer: “I prefer a collaborative environment. My current employer has an open-office plan, and I think that helps facilitate teamwork and better communication among my coworkers and me.”

5. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

Everyone makes mistakes. It can be difficult to admit to them, but the point of this question is not to force you to share every wrongdoing but to get a sense of how you deal with and learn from setbacks. Therefore, you should focus more on your ability to grow from the mistake than the incident itself. Still, don’t choose anything too integral to the job for which you’re interviewing; that may suggest that you’re not capable of doing the work.

Sample answer: “When I first started at my current job, I didn’t understand everyone’s roles on the team and wasn’t sure to whom I could turn for help. I tried to take on too much on my own and didn’t ask for help until it was clear I wouldn’t meet the deadline otherwise. Afterward, I made an effort to get to know each person on my team so I knew who I could rely on for what and how we can all work together on projects.”

6. Why did you leave your last job?

This is a tricky one, especially if you left on bad terms. As a general rule, never speak negatively about your previous employer. Instead, focus on the positive about the prospective employer. If you were fired or laid off, it’s best to be honest because the hiring employer may find out anyway. Layoffs are pretty straightforward, but with a firing, emphasize what you learned from the experience and why the mistake won’t happen again.

Sample response: “I wanted to be part of a mission-driven organization. While I appreciate the work my current employer does, I’m especially passionate about your cause of X. I was also looking for more room for growth.”

7. What’s your dream job?

For this one, you don’t necessarily have to want to be doing the exact job you’re interviewing for for the rest of your life. In fact, if you claim you do, you’ll probably come off as disingenuous. Still, your dream job should have some overlapping characteristics with the position in question. Ideally, it will help you build experience and skills you need to achieve your ultimate goal.

Sample answer: “I’ve always been a creative person, and I want to support a mission I really care about and make a global impact while using creative marketing techniques.”

8. Why are your greatest strengths?

Focus on a couple of key strengths that will make you excel in the role for which you’re interviewing. Use concrete examples to support your case. Don’t be afraid to show off a little — this is an obvious opening to do just that.

Sample answer: “My perseverance and ability to always see a project through to completion are some of my greatest strengths. I always complete projects on time, often well in advance of the due date. I also prioritize collaboration and make use of the strengths of my team members. For instance, the marketing assistant was particularly strong at X at my previous job, so I made her the lead on a campaign that demanded that skill.”

9. What are your greatest weaknesses?

This is a difficult one because you must walk a fine line between oversharing and resorting to the cliche “I work too hard” response. Instead, pick a real weakness that you’ve worked on and learned from. Focus on how you’ve grown from it.

Sample answer: “In the past, I’ve had to grapple with people not always approaching things as I would. I’ve learned to adjust to different work styles, recognizing that our expectations might not always align.”

10. Do you have any questions for me?

Prepare some questions in advance based on your research of the company and the position itself. The best questions, however, will relate to the interview itself. During the conversation, try to come up with some questions to ask that have to do with what you’ve been discussing, such as an initiative, how the team functions, the responsibilities for the position and so on. Asking questions that fall into the latter category demonstrate that you’ve been paying attention and are engaged in the conversation.

Sample answer: “Could you tell me more about X initiative and what my role would be in developing and supporting it?”