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10 Keys to Success in One-Way Video Interviews

By Laura DeCarlo

For decades, we have embraced the face-to-face interview, whether it was in person or via a virtual connection. This new style shakes up everything we hold dear about just what an interview is supposed to entail.

In the land of job interviews, we have come to rely on and expect the 2-way or face-to-face interview where the employer asks the questions and the job seeker responds, hopefully turning the process into a conversation and connection. 

What Is a One-Way Video Interview?

Now we have something altogether new on the horizon which makes me think of a singer cutting a demo tape -- it’s the 1-way video interview. Usually, this interview happens at the beginning of the interviewing process, often as a replacement or supplement to the phone interview which has typically served as the first step in screening job candidates.

The concept is simple. The employer can request a video from a job seeker, and the job seeker answers pre-scripted interview questions usually by a specific date that is the deadline for the interview. In the one-way video interview, the interviewer can see the job seeker, but the job seeker cannot see the interviewer.


Benefit to the Employer

For employers, the benefit is increased efficiency. They reduce the initial manpower hours for scheduling and conducting live interviews, even over the phone, and this can greatly cut down on the time spent reviewing candidates.

If an interviewee doesn’t start out great, the reviewer can just move on instead of what would have happened in a live interview -- wasting the time to see it through, or giving the candidate false hope.

The other plus for the employer is that the reviewer or recruiter/human resource person is not identified, so he/she will also cut down on calls from job seekers checking in. Of course, this is not so good for you the job seeker!

How to Handle One-Way Video Job Interviews

So what can you do when faced with the 1-way interview? Prepare.

1. Meet the employer's deadline.

The employer usually sets a "due date" when the interview should be completed. Know that date, and meet that deadline to be considered. If possible, beat that deadline by several hours or even days. Avoid doing the interview at the last possible moment to make the best impression on the employer.

2. Have the login information handy.

As part of the invitation, you should receive a URL where you will need to login to participate in the interview. Other login information, like the employer's or the interviewers name, an identifier for the iterview, and possibly a password, may be sent to you as part of the invitation process. Be sure to have that ready.

3. Make sure you have the right devices available.

If you have no other options, you can probably use your smartphone for this interview, assuming it has a camera. However, you will very likely make the best impression using a camera connected to a computer, assuming the computer also has a microphone and a speaker.

Double-check with the interviewer if you need to use your smartphone. When possible, test the connection to be sure it works before the interview.

4. Do your homework.

Carefully review the job description and highlight where you meet or exceed the requirements.

In today’s digital world, you can learn all about the company, its competitors, its products, and its goals in short order by spending some time on the Internet. Review the employer's website, press releases, products and services to know who they are and where they are going.

Then, be sure to focus on how you align with the job's requirements as well as the employer's goals and mission. [More: Pre-Interview Preparation.]

5. Have your interview answers ready.

If you receive the questions in advance, you have received a fabulous opportunity to be well-prepared. It’s like being handed the keys to the kingdom. Script out your answers in advance, remembering to tell clear and concise stories that are examples of your accomplishments.

If you don't receive the questions in advance, which is unfortunately more likely, be prepared to answer the standard job interview questions. [More: Answering the Common Interview Questions.]

Focus on the challenges you faced, the actions you took, and the results you attained. [More: Structured Examples.]

6. Practice, practice, practice.

I could say this one hundred times -- you must know your script well enough to be natural. When you answer the questions you need to sound like it is second nature to share this information. You won’t have that unless you memorize it, practice it aloud, and grow into it, just like an actor does with a script.

7. Choose your location carefully.

Don't make the mistake of trying to do this interview in a busy place with many distractions around. Choose a quiet spot where, hopefully, you will be the only person visible (and audible).

Keep the background as simple as possible, like a wall, or something else that is unlikely to cause a problem or create a distraction.

8. Dress the part.

Just because you are not face-to-face does not make this any more casual. You want to be well-groomed and well-dressed, avoiding distractive prints, overly bright colors, and loud jewelry. You want the focus to be on you, not on what you are wearing. [More: Dress for Job Interview Success.]

9. Be the best you.

The best you sits up straight and leans slightly forward, makes eye contact, remembers to smile and show personality, and talks in a clear, well-modulated voice. Don’t whisper, mumble, or fidget.

Practice will also help you overcome issues like fidgeting so again, there is more reason to prepare. If you can record yourself in practice, do it! You will rapidly see what needs to be fixed.

10. Pay attention to the clock.

Usually these interviews have a time-limit. So, put a clock where you can easily see it, and use the time wisely.

Bottom Line:

While the how might change, the goal remains the same: Present the BEST you to the interviewer by focusing on knowing the job and the company and having clear answers and stories that demonstrate why you are the best fit for their position. You can do it!

MORE: 5 Tips for Acing Your Skype Interview.

About the author...

Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, Resumes for Dummies,and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Google+ and Twitter at @careerhero.

Guide to Successful Interviews

Essential Job Interviewing Requirements:

Navigating the Interview Process:

Succeeding at Different Kinds of Interviews:

Steps to Prepare for Your Interview:

More Information About Successful Interviews:

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