What is a Video Interview?

Per Incuriam
Scenario: You’ve just submitted your application form to a City Law firm. You receive an email from Graduate Recruitment inviting you to participate in a video interview. What should you do?

An increasing number of City law firms are using video interviews to assess candidates. Upon receiving the invitation, the first thing to do is to take a moment to congratulate yourself! You’ve made it past the first round of selections.

Next, it is important that you figure out what kind of video interview you have been invited to complete. They generally come in two varieties: “Skype” interviews and pre-recorded ones.

Varieties of Video Interview

A Skype interview is likely if the role you have applied for is overseas, as an in-person interview would be impractical. This means that the Skype interview would be very similar to any other in-person interview, with similar questions planned such as a case study and possibly a free-flowing discussion about your application form. The Skype interview would be in real time, between yourself and someone from the firm. As the interviewer may be based abroad, you should take care when checking time-zone conversions to ensure that you don’t miss your slot! You may be asked to head to one of the firm’s offices (e.g. in London), or be given the option to complete the interview wherever you are (e.g. your room).

In contrast, you may be invited to complete a pre-recorded interview. You will be able to record them in your own time, subject to a deadline. Candidates are typically presented with a question, and then given a certain amount of thinking and then answering time. These tend to be general questions about your application, so you should expect questions that may be similar to those you would expect on an application form. However, should do more than simply repeat what you have already written and elaborate on your experiences. A general commercial awareness question is to be expected. As you will record these for Graduate Recruitment to review afterward, it is unlikely that you would be asked to go down to the firm’s physical office.

Some General Tips
  1. Dress to impress: whether you’re going down to a swanky office in Zone 1 or doing the interview from the warmth of your cosy Cambridge room, you should dress the way you would for an in-person interview.
  2. Tidy your room: first-impressions count.
  3. Check the tech: check that your computer’s microphone, speakers and your WiFi are working in advance of the interview.
  4. Watch the time: for pre-recorded interviews, keep a mental note of the response time allocated, and try not to run over the time limit.
  5. Look at the camera: there is a temptation to continuously check yourself out in your own computer screen but looking at the camera produces a more engaging video interview.
  6. Do not Disturb: you should put a note on your room door to prevent anybody interrupting you! You only get one chance to record your answer, so you don’t want any distractions that might throw you off.
  7. Relax: the recruiter wants to get a better feel for who you are behind your application form, so relax!