Video Interviews: How can I ace my answer in 60 seconds?

clock-95330_960_720More and more graduate recruiters are using pre-recorded video interviews as part of the interview process. Typically, these are virtual, recorded interviews in which applicants are asked a number of pre-recorded questions; frequently, applicants have 30 seconds thinking time and 60 seconds to answer each question. Compared to traditional telephone interviews, where you might be given sufficient time and prompts by the interviewer, pre-recorded video interviews can be quite a challenge.

Recruiters are increasingly using this technique for a number of reasons including the ability to screen larger numbers of applicants than traditional methods. FDM recently visited the Careers and Enterprise team and we all had a chance to experience a video interview. Having had this experience, here are my tips:

  • Research: As with other interviews, ensure you do your research beforehand; you will not have time to think on the spot! List competencies the company are asking for and write down examples of how you have used these in at least one situation. Use the STAR (Situation Task Actions Result) technique to prepare.
  • Focus mainly on actions in STAR: In 60 seconds you need to focus on the action section of the star technique. If you are describing a time when you worked in a team, there is no time to get lost in describing the various roles of other team members! Focus on the actions that you took e.g. I prioritised the team goals, explained the brief to the team, fed back the results to the client etc.
  • Use ‘spoken’ bullet points: It can sometimes help to use phrases that tell the listener how many points you are going to cover e.g. ‘there are two main reasons why I have applied for this role’ or ‘ I will first tell you about my interests and then tell you about my expertise.’
  • Don’t worry about the perfect structure: In such a short time, the content and your actions are more important that a perfectly constructed answer. Recruiters will make allowances for a less than perfect structure.
  • Assume you are doing fine. As you will not get any feedback as you go e.g. a nodding head or a ‘yes’, it’s sometimes difficult to keep going. In your head, you might be thinking oh no that was rubbish, but ignore that thought and keep going! Also, don’t get too hung up on one or two less than perfect answers. The assessors will look at your answers overall.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Most companies allow you to have a practice question and answer but you can practice ahead of the interview. Use your phone or computer to practice your answers beforehand, setting a timer for 90 seconds, i.e. 30 seconds to think and 60 seconds to answer.

If you need feedback on your technique, book a practice interview in Careers & Enterprise. Call 020 7882 8533. The more you do these interviews, the easier they become. Good luck!

Dr Tracy Bussoli, Careers Consultant


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