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Preparing for an interview: video screening and interviews - Careers

While video interviews have been used for a number of years (usually before you attend a physical interview), do you know the difference between a video interview and ‘video pre-screening’?

Video pre-screening is a new recruitment trend and is when a recruiting company prepare questions and ask candidates to upload/email a video recording of themselves answering the questions. This process is used with an initial application form to determine who is suitable for a shortlist and interview in person.

A pre-recorded interview can put you at an advantage because you know the questions beforehand and you’ve got time to prepare your best answers. You also have the opportunity to record and re-record as many times as you like. Mistakes can be rectified and you can redo your answers until you are happy and have a polished professional result.

Considering how you dress for your pre-screening or video interview is as important as preparing for a traditional interview; what is appropriate for a face-to-face interview is what is suitable for this new style of interview. Also, consider the environment you record the interview in. Find an uncluttered, tidy and quiet space with good lighting. Also, make sure your recording equipment works correctly – do a test recording and play it back to ensure that the audio is clear and noise free.

It's important you follow the instructions given. These will be in a written format either by mail or email. Make sure you answer the questions in the correct order and ensure that you don’t miss any questions. Also, make sure you upload your final interview in the correct file format. It is simple errors like these that could make a recruiter select another seemingly more capable candidate over you.

Video Calls are a slightly different type of interaction. While it's great that you don’t need to travel and a cancelled train cannot disrupt your arrival, remember that you still need to prepare. You should dress exactly as you would for a formal interview and always be prompt and on time!

With a video interview it is possible to have prompts and notes discreetly positioned to the side of the computer screen. Use these to reassure you and help you remember important information but make sure that you never look like you are reading them.

Punctuality is incredibly important; make sure you are set up and in front of your computer screen fifteen minutes before the scheduled time. This will give you the opportunity to make sure that internet connection, lighting and sound are all ok ahead of the start of the interview.

Our top tips: 

  • Prepare in the same way you would for a traditional interview
  • Practise being in front of a camera.
  • Try not to fidget - this can be very distracting for the interviewer
  • Remember to smile – cameras tend to emphasise your features, so if you frown or look disinterested that will come across strongly to the interviewer
  • Look at the camera/webcam and not the screen as this can help you appear to be giving the interviewer eye contact.

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