Prescreening Video Interviews- How to excel at them?

The Work-From-Home regulations have led to several changes in the hiring and recruitment practices across the globe. Previously most businesses and staffing agencies relied on conducting prescreening interviews via a short phone conversation. Nowadays many businesses and recruiting firms near you are shifting to video interviews for prescreening jobseekers. This is why it is essential to know how to excel in a video interview.

There are 2 main reasons why prescreen interviews have become the norm. One reason is, barring a few roles that require the onsite presence or are an essential service, anyone who is looking for a job is expected to have a ready-to-work digital setup that can help them work from home seamlessly. The second reason is employees and recruiters are eager to test if potential job candidates are able to manage conversations and conduct their daily job duties, efficiently in a remote setting.

If you are looking for a job in Canada and have got an interview request, you may have come across 2 types of pre-screening job interviews that most employment agencies or businesses will use:

One-Way Video Interview: In this type of interview, a Recruitment Consultant or a Hiring Manager will email you a link to the interview and provide a unique username and password. Through this link, you will need to record your responses to an automated list of questions. Your responses may or may not be timed. Recruiters often use this type of interview technique as it allows recruiters to pre-screen several candidates within a short period. Also, recruiters know that Candidates are busy, and this format allows candidates to answer the questions on their time rather than slipping out of an office or blocking time during a busy workday. One-way video interview offers you the opportunity to video record your answers in the morning, at night, at home, or wherever you are comfortable and at your best.

Two-Way Video Interview: In this type of interview, the Hiring Manager or a Recruitment Partner will arrange a time to speak directly to a Candidate via a video call. Typically, the aim of such an interview is not just to screen a candidate, but also to evaluate technical and professional skills in detail via a dialogue.

Here are some ways you can excel in One-Way or Two-way Prescreening Video Interview:

Pre-interview preparation

It is crucial to plan and think ahead about your video interview, just like you would for your in-person interview. Go through the instructions and expectations outlined in the recruiter or hiring manager's email carefully.

You will not only need a video-enabled device at your disposal but also may need to install video calling applications such as Zoom, Skype, or MSTeams. Make sure to install it in advance. If there is a direct one-way interview link, check the validity of the link and make sure to finish all the questions before the link expires.

Read the key elements of interviewing in the new norm in one of our previous articles for quick tips on interviewing during the pandemic.

On the day of the job interview

Dress appropriately: Decide in advance, what you will be wearing. Depending on the job description you may already know what to wear or the recruitment agency or the headhunter who has invited you for the interview will have outlined their expectations in an email or over a call. Always choose business attire if nothing is mentioned.

Technology check: Video interviews rely on technology, be it your internet connection, laptop, or any other devices you may need. Be sure to check all devices you plan to use in advance. Technology is not 100% reliable and sometimes you may encounter a glitch. Stay calm and request to repeat a question or information if you are not sure what was asked.

Check surroundings: Ideally find a place to sit with no background. But if you cannot find such a spot, choose to blur your background or choose a well-lit spot in your home, that is free from clutter. Your camera settings and the room lighting should be ideal for a video interview.

Start earlier: Log on a minute or two early so that you are able to settle yourself before the actual dialogue begins. It also helps you make minor adjustments to voice, volume, video settings, etc. if needed.

Post Video Interview

Given that most of us are working from home in the pandemic, a video interview is as close as it can get to an in-person interview these times. Remember that businesses, recruitment, and employment agencies near you are primarily relying on the video interview to make the first shortlist of eligible candidates. Thus, make sure to send a thank-you note to your interviewer for their time and ask when you can follow up.

A prescreen interview is your first chance to make a great impression on your prospective employer. Use it wisely and make sure to follow all the tips mentioned above. This will help you distinguish yourself from competitive job seekers and make you a top candidate in the hiring process.