How to Video Interview

Posted 27.03.20 by Ellie Harlow

So you’ve been invited to a video interview?
Here’s all you need to know to make sure you get the job you want.

Video conferencing and remote working are happening more and more in the workplace, so naturally, video interviewing is also becoming more popular. Our aim here is to remove some of the mystery surrounding video interviews so that you can move forward in your application with confidence.

At Penguin Random House we use video interviews a lot and try to make the experience as human and engaging as we can by removing as much of the unexpected as possible.


What is a video interview?

Video interviews come in different forms. It could be a video call – using a platform like Skype or Zoom, where you follow a more traditional back and forth with the interviewer. Or, it can be via a platform like HireVue, which we use at Penguin Random House.

Depending on the platform used, your video interviewer might be present and engage in a conversation with you, or, as in the case with HireVue, there will be job-relevant questions that appear on the screen and give you a set time to record your response.

On HireVue, practice questions can be done ahead of time to get used to the format and we’d definitely recommend doing this so that you can get used to the approach. And don’t worry, your interviewer can’t access these practice sessions!


Why would we be asking you to do a HireVue interview?

If you get invited for a recorded video interview, you might think ‘why not just see me face to face?’  We understand that, and thought you might like to know why we take this approach.

We like it because it allows flexibility – and can actually speed up the application process. For example, if the manager travels a lot with work, or has a challenging diary, face to face interviews can be difficult to arrange and this could mean delays. Using a video interview means you can progress your application and the hiring manager can review your interview even if they’re offsite to keep things moving.

Video interviewing also means flexibility for you. You don’t have to take time off work, out of your studies or from caring responsibilities. You can take the interview from the comfort of your own home at any time of day and can answer the questions when you know you’ll be at your best. Similarly, if you don’t live near the company offices, it saves you money and time travelling to multiple interview stages.


How to get ready for a video interview

Think about it in the same way as you would a face to face interview and prepare accordingly: you want to make it clear to the interviewer why you’re the best person for the job. This means doing your research. Demonstrating an interest and awareness in the company will resonate with your interviewer. Care and preparation for an interview will always stand out.

Practice being comfortable talking about your experience. The key things a company will be looking for will be detailed in the advert, so take some time before the interview to reflect on your experience and find examples of where you’ve demonstrated these skills. There’s no need to prepare a script, but refreshing yourself of your skills and how they’d be relevant to the role means that even if you become nervous during the video interview, these examples will be front of mind.


Our top 3 tips

  1. We know that’s easier said than done. But remember that your interviewer, whether present on the video or watching later, is human too. They know that videos won’t always have the same flow as face to face, and they’ll be understanding that it’s a new format for many people. At Penguin Random House, many interviewers will have done a video interview themselves to get their current role so they can really relate to your experience. We are not looking for perfection!
  2. Prepare the space. Make sure that the room is free from distractions such as family or housemates, try to get rid of any background noise and test the Wi-Fi before you begin.
  3. Allow your personality to come through. We’ve seen many examples with some sort of mishap during the video, and how you deal with it, your ability to recover and your sense of humour are great traits, and often we end up inviting candidates who can demonstrate these to the next stage.


We hope you’ve found these tips useful, and good luck for any future video interviews.

Find a job

  • Facebook logo
  • Twitter logo
  • LinkedIn logo
  • Blog logo