While employers often use phone calls to screen job candidates, some take advantage of new technology to perform one-way video interviews. For this type of interview, employers ask candidates to record a short video of themselves, which the hiring manager uses to decide whether to ask a candidate to move on in the hiring process. If you’re applying for jobs, learning how to film a successful one-way video interview can give you an advantage in the hiring process.

In this article, we explain why companies use them, give directions for filming a video response to an interview prompt, share tips for mastering this method and answer FAQs about the format.

Why do companies do one-way video interviews?

Employers most often use a one-way video interview for their initial screening process. Many employers use this interview format as a way for candidates to introduce themselves. A hiring manager may use this screening format because they can watch the video at a convenient time and share it with other managers. One-way video interviews might be especially useful for employers who are hiring for positions that feature public speaking or presenting, since they allow the employer to see a candidate’s speaking style before interviewing them.

How to stand out in a one-way video interview

Since this interview format is less common than others, you may not have much experience completing a one-way video interview. Follow these steps when an employer asks you to submit a one-way video interview:

1. Carefully read their directions

One reason an employer might use this interview format is to see if you can follow directions. Prior to recording, make sure you understand exactly what you may include in your video and how to submit it. For instance, an employer might give you a set of questions to answer within a specific time limit, while others allow you to select your questions and film responses separately. Make sure you adhere to any time restraints the employer supplies. Save your video in the format they specify, which may include specific instructions for naming your video.

2. Choose your recording space

Find a quiet space where you can film your responses. Choose a spot with a clean-looking background, perhaps in front of a bookshelf or wall, and make sure that the space you choose provides enough light to see your face clearly during the time you plan to record. Filming with your back to a wall, with the light source in front of your laptop, can provide full lighting for your face and help you avoid being backlit. Remove any distracting elements, like figurines or appliances, from behind you.

3. Find the right equipment

Many newer laptops come with webcams you can use for your video. For most jobs, the basic webcam that comes with a laptop can create a video that fits the employer’s expectations. If you really want to make a strong impression or you’re applying for a job that involves audio or video editing, you might use an external webcam with higher-quality sound and video. Test your camera in your chosen space at the time of day you plan to film your responses. You can adjust the lighting or environment to optimize your video.

5. Practice your responses

Before recording, write out what you want to say for each question. Consider making bulleted notes with examples from your past work experience that fit the prompt. Practice your responses until you can say them without reading a note card and in a natural way. Sounding overly rehearsed may take away from the quality information you want to share, so focus on the main points and feel free to change your wording with each take. When recording, pretend you’re talking directly to an interviewer.

6. Rerecord if necessary

If you can, watch the video you took after answering your questions. You can usually rerecord part of the interview if you want to improve your answer. Before you rerecord, watch the entire video and take notes on everything you want to improve. That way, you might only rerecord your answer once or twice before getting the version you want to send.

7.  The most important thing, just show up.

Just show up for the interview.   Here’s a little secret, most people are intimidated by being on video and recording themself.    But there’s no need.  They’re not looking for movie stars.   And most people feel a lack of being good enough for video.   But that’s your advantage and strong point.  You just have to show up and do it, compared to those who didn’t.   It shows grit and strength, that most people don’t have.   Most people will fear doing the video interview itself.

Tips to ace your one-way video interview

Here are some strategies you can use for a successful one-way video interview:

  • Many one-way video interviews have a time limit. Stay on top of it by using a timer on your computer or phone and glance at it to be sure you’re on track.

  • Look at the camera. Locate the camera on your computer and address your answers to it. If you need notes for your responses, make sure to only briefly glance at them.

  • Use your authentic voice. Many people have the tendency to talk in a higher pitch than they normally would when they get in front of the camera. While you might sound upbeat and personable, make an effort to use your typical talking voice.

  • Dress for an interview. Wear business attire in your video to show employers you’re taking this opportunity seriously. While only your face and top half might be on camera, wearing a full outfit can help you build your confidence.

One-way video interview FAQs

How does a one-way video call work?

Usually, an employer responds to your job application with directions on how they want you to record and submit your one-way video interview. Expect them to give you a series of interview questions to answer within a set timeframe. They will ask you to record yourself and send your video to them a platform they specify, such as ClipDrop.  Once they receive your video, the hiring team reviews your responses. Once you pass this stage, you might attend an in-person or two-way remote interview, where you can meet with a hiring manager.

What questions can I expect during a one-way video interview?

A one-way video interview might feature any kind of interview question. Here are some general questions employers may ask you to record responses to:

  • Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

  • Why are you interested in this role?

  • Why are you interested in our company?

  • What are you looking for in a job?

  • What compensation are you looking for?

  • How did you find this position?

  • What are your career goals?

  • Can you describe your current job responsibilities?

  • What is your ideal management style?

  • What motivates you?

  • How do you manage your stress levels?

The video interview might also include specific questions about your experience or the role you hope to get.

What’s the best color to wear during a video interview?

Consider colors that complement your background and make you stand out. For example, if your background is a light-colored bookcase, you might wear blue or black to contrast with what’s behind you. Solid colors often provide a better visual in video interviews since they don’t distract the viewer from your face. You might film a test video before you film your responses to see how your chosen outfit looks in the video.

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