One approach to preparing for your job search is to learn more about the different types of interviews you may be asked to participate in. Some company’s do a pre-screen interview over the phone, for example. But one type of pre-screen that is becoming more frequently used, and may be helpful to know about, is the one-way video interview.
FlexJobs recently shared an excellent article detailing the ins-and-outs of this style of interview which we encourage you to check out. I will also give you an overview of the process and some key things to keep in mind below.
What is a One-Way Interview?
A one-way (sometimes also called “asynchronous”) interview will typically take place online, without an employer present, through an automated web-platform that will prompt you with a series of questions and then give you a limited amount of time to record a response over video.
You wouldn’t be out of line to think that feels impersonal at first glance, especially after all the time and energy you put it into applying in the first place. Keep in mind, however, that it does mean a company was interested enough in your application to want to learn more about you. And this interview format can still be a great opportunity to share more personalized detail about your skills and experience.
The structure of each one-way interview may differ depending on the employer’s preferences and what platform is used to host, so be sure to carefully read any instructions you are given. If the platform offers the opportunity to do a practice session before hand, be sure to take advantage of that time. The format for the interview itself will likely prompt you with a question, in some cases give you a few seconds to consider how you would like to respond, and then give you a limited time (such as 30 seconds to 1 minute) to record your answer. You may have the opportunity to review your answer and re-record, or you may not. You will repeat this process for each question until the interview is complete.
- Test your webcam setup. It can be a good idea to get comfortable with your own technology and webcam setup before jumping into whatever service will be hosting your one-way interview. Be sure to check out our article on preparing for Virtual Interviews for many tips that will be directly applicable here. Try testing out your camera and audio on a free service like Zoom or Google Meet. Make sure you are lit from the front so your face is seen clearly, that you are comfortable with whatever may be shared in your background, and that your microphone is working. We know not everyone has access to reliable technology, so whether you are using a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device just try to put your webcam in a stable position so there are no distracting movements which might take away from the most important part of the interview: you. And lastly, though it may be challenging especially if you can see your own video during the interview, make direct eye contact with your webcam. This will help foster a feeling of genuine connection, despite the virtual format.
- Practice timing your responses to a few interview questions. A key aspect of the one-way interview process that can take some getting used to is having a time-limit on your responses. You might be surprised how fast 30 seconds or 60 seconds go by when you are trying to convey vital information about your skills and experience. Since this is still a pre-screen interview, you may be asked some of the more generic questions. Experiment with timing yourself a few times, responding to questions like, “Tell me about yourself” or “Why are you interested in the role/company”. This can give you a feel for how quickly the time may pass, as well as how find the right balance of being concise but clear and engaging.
- Prepare, but choose to be present over perfect. If this is a format that is new to you, it may be easy to get trapped in a cycle of thinking you have to speak with perfection and speed. Many of us can also feel uncomfortable watching video recordings of ourselves speaking. While we may not be able to fully control our own feelings, try to focus instead on your breath. Ground yourself by thinking of why you applied to the job in the first place. What are three things that excited you about the role? What are three skills you have that you are really proud of? Put yourself out there with grace and professionalism. Then move on. The next steps are out of your hands – and you did great!