By Heidi Scott Giusto, PhD
Congratulations! You just received notification that you’ve been invited to interview for your dream job! This exciting news is quickly followed by detailed instructions for your interview—how to log in, record your answers with your webcam, and then submit them for review. Huh?
Welcome the new kid on the block: the asynchronous, or “one-way,” video interview. Whereas most video interviews occur like video calls with friends or family—where two people talk “real time” using software like FaceTime, Skype, or WhatsApp—individuals interviewing in one-way video interviews are not directly interacting with anyone at the hiring organization.
Advantages of One-Way Video Interviews
Service providers like Interviewstream tout benefits such as faster placements, a more efficient process, and cost effectiveness. Candidates have the flexibility to conduct the interview using any type of device at a location and time of their choosing, so long as the interviewee submits the interview in the timeframe set by the employer. With 900+ employers using services like Interviewstream, as well as universities using them for interview preparation, this form of interviewing is likely here to stay.
Challenges of One-Way Video Interviews
In researching this topic, the word that kept coming up was “dehumanizing.” Candidates tend to despise this form of interviewing, calling it awkward and viewing it as insulting. One article written by a Forbes career expert even encouraged candidates to refuse these types of interviews because the author saw them as a way to tee up for discrimination by allowing employers to narrow the list of candidates without taking the time to get to know each person.
Unfortunately, despite candidates not liking these interviews, this is an example of having to make the best of a bad situation. If you want a job at Company A, and Company A uses one-way video interviews as a screening tool, you either participate in the interview on their terms or lose your opportunity.
Format and Preparation
Expect to view only one interview question at a time (as opposed to having the full set of questions up front). You may or may not be able to record your response several times. I have interviewed job candidates who have had one chance, three chances, and as many chances as they wanted to record each response.
How to prepare for such variety? Just like you would with any other interview. Research the company in advance, reread the job description, carefully consider what you will contribute to the company and your qualifications, and be ready to answer common screening interview questions. These questions tend to be about your background, strengths, weaknesses, challenges you’ve faced, and why you’re interested in the role or company, to name a few.
Mastering video conferencing as a genre of communication will help you far beyond just a one-way video interview, too. To this end, know how to use your webcam or built-in video camera and ear buds or a headset, learn how to arrange lighting so your face is clearly visible, dress professionally, and remember to look directly into the camera. Smile and have good posture! These little steps help show your enthusiasm and preparedness.
And, perhaps most importantly, practice answering common interview questions while recording yourself on a free platform like Zoom or through built-in software like Quicktime. Watch your recording and objectively evaluate how you did, paying attention to both content and how you presented yourself. If you can’t see your own flaws, share it with a friend or colleague who you can trust to be frank with you. Receiving constructive criticism and making improvements accordingly will boost your confidence, which can help you during the interview process.
For better or worse, one-way video interviews are an emerging technology used to screen candidates. It’s best to become familiar with this type of interviewing and prepare for it well in advance of actually being invited to one. Doing so will reduce your nerves and awkwardness and increase your confidence. You’ve got this!
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