Common One-Way Video Interview Questions
One-way video interviews are a modern and efficient form of hiring automation. In a nutshell, a one-way video interview is a job interview format consisting of pre-set questions that candidates answer while they are recorded by video interview software. These interviews save hiring teams a ton of time in finding great candidates. However, interviewees are often stumped by this format.
Talking to a camera with no real-time social cues from an interviewer is, in many ways, more nerve-wracking than a live interview. Yet, the growing popularity of asynchronous interviews makes it increasingly important for job seekers to master the medium.
The best way to deal with a one-way video interview is to treat it like any other job interview: prepare well, showcase your value, and dress to impress. This article is your guide to presenting your best self in a recorded scenario.
Background & Experience Questions
One-way video interviews may differ drastically from the traditional in-person interview process we’re used to, but pre-recorded video interviews do come with perks for job seekers.
For starters, you get to be in your comfort space while you answer, which means you can have helpful notes and resources on hand. You can complete the interview outside of office hours, so you don’t have to sneak away from your current job to do it. In addition, depending on how the interview is set up, you may also get your questions before hitting record, which means you get to rehearse your answers. It’s still necessary to be prepared, though.
Recruiters often kickstart screening interviews by diving into your professional history and educational journey. These questions offer a glimpse into your past roles, accomplishments, and their harmony with the job you're eyeing. They aim to examine how your experiences and qualifications resonate with the job requirements.
As a job candidate, acing these inquiries means strategically aligning your past experiences to showcase the direct relevance to the role you're pursuing in your interview answers.
Common background & experience questions include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Can you walk us through your resume?
- Describe a challenging project you successfully managed.
- How does your education relate to this position?
- What skills or strengths do you bring to this role?
- Discuss your previous work experiences and how they align with this job.
- What learning experiences have been most impactful in your career so far?
- Describe a time when you had to adapt to a new role or responsibility.
- Can you share an example of a mistake you made in your career and how you rectified it?
How to Answer Background & Experience Questions
The key to answering background and experience questions is to weave a golden thread between your professional background and what the employer is looking for. The benefit of answering these questions in a one-way interview is that you can be very structured in how you respond with no fear of getting interrupted. That being said, you want to answer as clearly and concisely as possible.
The following interview tips can help you craft compelling responses that highlight your professional journey in your asynchronous video interview.
The Highlight Reel Technique for an Impactful Intro
YouTube shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok videos: what do they have in common? Fast-paced, engaging content. Since you are about to record your answers for hiring managers to watch later, you can take a tip from the social media playbook and make your “reel” impossible to scroll past.
Concisely overview your key roles, significant responsibilities, and notable achievements. Keep it brief yet impactful to capture the interviewer's attention. While you want to appear as professional as possible in a one-way video interview, you don’t want to be bland. Mind your voice doesn’t become monotone. Speak naturally and with conviction as if speaking to a real person.
Because you’re effectively speaking to a recording device, it may feel silly to “act” as if you’re in a conversation, which means you lose the passion with which you would normally discuss your proudest wins. If it helps, ask a friend to sit behind your webcam, so you have a face to aim your enthusiasm at.
Example: “In my previous role at [Name of your former company], I managed a team of 15, streamlined operations, and boosted productivity by 25%.”
The STAR Method for Project-Specific Descriptions
Utilize the Situation, Task, Action, and Result framework to narrate your accomplishments.
- Situation: Describe the context or scenario concisely.
- Task: Explain your role and what was required of you.
- Actions: Detail the steps you took to address the situation.
- Results: Share the outcomes and what you learned from the experience.
Example:“When faced with declining sales [Situation], I devised a new marketing strategy [Task], implemented targeted campaigns [Action]. As a result, we got an X% revenue increase within six months [Result].”
Avoid Generic Responses
Customize your answers to emphasize skills that directly correlate with the job description.
Identify the essential skills the employer seeks and align your experiences with those requirements. For instance, if the job prioritizes leadership skills, determine the most relevant cases in which you successfully led projects or teams to share.
Emphasize your transferable skills by showcasing how specific achievements and abilities gained in your previous roles can be translated to benefit the new role. Phrases like, “While my previous role was in a different industry, I've excelled in [relevant skill] that directly translates to [job requirement].” can be a big help.
An easy-to-follow storyline can save you from losing your audience’s attention. The backbone template of this technique is:
- Where are you right now? (Present) Example: “I’m currently a recruiter lead at [name of the company].”
- What brought you to this point? (Past) Example: “I started working there as a recruiter specialist and was promoted to the lead position after nine months.
- Where are you trying to go? (Future) Example: “Thanks to that work experience, I now possess [Specific skills] and experience in [Specific Fields/Situations]. I’m confident and eager to apply these skills as a [prospective career path].”
Recruiters often dive into technical competency questions to uncover the depths of your expertise. These queries delve into your technical skills or broader competencies (such as management and teamwork) to determine your capacity for handling specific tasks or complex scenarios.
There are two things hiring teams want to see here in your answers to these questions: What you know and how you can apply that knowledge in their workplace.
Here are some common technical/competency questions:
- Explain your proficiency with [specific software, system, or tool relevant to the job].
- How would you handle [a specific technical challenge relevant to the role]?
- Discuss a successful project where you demonstrated [specific skills].
- Discuss a project where you demonstrated strong problem-solving skills.
- What are your strongest skills, and how have you applied them in previous roles?
- How do you stay updated with industry trends or advancements in your field?
- Describe a situation where you had to learn a new skill quickly. How did you approach it?
- Can you provide an example of a successful project where you applied innovative solutions?
- How do you ensure quality and accuracy in your work?
How to Answer Technical/Competency Questions
Employers seek to evaluate your technical prowess and assess your competency in executing job-related tasks. To prove your ability to excel in the role, follow these best practices.
Offer Concrete Examples Showcasing Your Abilities
When faced with technical or competency-based questions, your ticket to success is showcasing your hard and soft skills through real-world examples. Don’t just talk about your proficiency; illustrate it. Share real cases where you applied these skills effectively in past roles.
Example: If you’re discussing your leadership abilities, narrate a scenario, using the STAR method, where your leadership resulted in a successful project outcome. Concrete examples make your expertise tangible and memorable.
Relate Your Competencies to the Job Requirements
Employers value problem-solving skills immensely. When discussing how you’ve handled challenges in the past, focus on your problem-solving approach. Describe your steps to address a similar issue in a previous role.
Detail the strategies you employed, the decisions you made, and the positive outcomes achieved. This highlights your ability to navigate complexities and deliver results, a highly sought-after trait in potential employees. Name the specific tools, resources, or technical skills you used to achieve these results.
Example: “My experience in implementing employee engagement strategies and conducting surveys to monitor success aligns perfectly with the role's focus on enhancing team productivity. This is evident in my success at implementing initiatives that improved employee satisfaction by X% at [previous employer].”
Use a Problem-Solving Approach
Highlight your problem-solving abilities by narrating instances where you tackled challenges similar to those expected in the job you're applying for. You can use the STAR method here as well.
Employers want to see your thought process, decision-making, and how you overcome obstacles.
Example: “In a previous project [Insert what the project was about here], I encountered a similar challenge where our team faced a tight deadline [Indicate how tight it was here]. I had restructured tasks [Add specifics here] and implemented efficient communication channels [Add specific here]. As a result, we not only met the deadline but also improved overall project efficiency by X%.”
Pro Tip: Take a Proactive Stance
When it comes to technical skills or certifications, proactivity can set you apart. Consider enrolling in courses that fill gaps in your skill set. Sign up for certifications related to the role and add them to your resume as “in progress.”
Example: If you're aiming for roles in employee engagement or HR analytics, consider pursuing specialized courses or certifications in these fields. Here are some recommended courses and certifications to bolster your credentials:
- Employee Engagement Courses: Look for courses that delve into strategies for enhancing employee satisfaction, motivation, and retention.
- HR Analytics Certifications: Explore certifications focusing on analytics tools, methodologies, and their application in human resources management.
- HR Certifications: These include both free and paid options.
Situational questions are often prefaced with prompts like “What would you do if…”, “How would you handle…”, or “Tell me about a time when…”. These queries aim to unveil your approach to challenges, providing employers with a glimpse into several key aspects of your capabilities:
- Decision-Making Process: How do you analyze situations and make decisions?
- Adaptability: Can you navigate various work scenarios and adapt accordingly?
- Problem-Solving Skills: What methods do you employ to tackle challenges effectively?
In the context of a one-way interview, answering a situational question is an ideal opportunity to show how you think your way through a problem. Identify a specific scenario, not a vague or recurring challenge.
Use the STAR method or storytelling technique to break it down into a clear problem, action, and outcome. This prevents you from giving a long-winded answer.
Common situational questions include:
- What would you do if you faced a conflict within your team?
- How do you handle unexpected setbacks or failures in a project?
- How would you handle a tight deadline with multiple projects?
- Describe a time when you had to adapt to a sudden change at work.
- If given limited resources, how would you prioritize tasks?
- Share an example of when you had to overcome resistance to implement a new idea.
- Discuss a situation where you had to make a quick decision under pressure.
- How do you handle a situation where a project timeline is at risk due to unforeseen circumstances?
- How would you address the situation if you were leading a project and a team member wasn't meeting expectations?
- If a project required collaboration across multiple departments with conflicting priorities, how would you approach it?
- Discuss a scenario where you had to balance quality and speed in project delivery. How did you manage?
How to Answer Situational Questions
The STAR Method
Example: Below is a typical STAR answer to the question: “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenging deadline. How did you handle it?”
“(Situation) In my previous role as a project manager, we encountered an unexpected issue that jeopardized our project deadline.
(Task) We had three days to resolve it to ensure timely delivery.
(Actions) As the team lead, I coordinated an urgent meeting to assess the problem's scope and impact on our timeline. I delegated tasks and restructured the project plan to accommodate the issue. We worked overtime, redistributing responsibilities based on team strengths. I also liaised with external stakeholders for immediate support.
(Results) By recalibrating our approach and fostering a collaborative effort, we met the deadline and improved our process for handling unexpected hurdles in future projects. This experience enhanced our team's adaptability and cohesion.”
Focus on the positive aspects of the situation. Highlight the resolutions you achieved or the lessons learned from challenging scenarios. Employers are interested in candidates who not only navigate obstacles but also grow from these experiences.
Describe how you turned a challenge into an opportunity, how your actions led to a positive outcome, or what insights you gained from the situation. This showcases your resilience, adaptability, and ability to extract value from adversity, making you a more appealing candidate.
Cultural Fit Questions
From the recruiter's lens, cultural fit questions serve as a window into your potential alignment with the company's ethos and environment. Do your work style, values, and behaviors resonate with the organization's culture and values?
One-way video interviews are often used as an initial screening process for remote roles. Bear in mind that if the application is for a remote job, you can emphasize your suitability as a remote or for asynchronous work. For example, you can use these questions to convey that you’re self-motivated, good at time management, and a great communicator. These are all aspects of a good remote culture fit.
The following are some common cultural fit questions:
- What work environment brings out the best in you?
- How do you approach teamwork and collaboration?
- Describe a company culture where you thrived in the past.
- What values do you seek in an organization, and why?
- How do you handle feedback and constructive criticism?
- What do you appreciate most in a team environment?
- How do you handle disagreements or differing opinions within a team?
- What kind of management style brings out the best in you?
- What role do you usually play in team settings—leader, supporter, mediator?
- How do you ensure open communication and transparency within a team?
How to Answer Cultural Fit Questions
Research the Company Culture
Understanding the company culture is pivotal before stepping into any job interview.
Research the company's values, mission statements, employee testimonials, and any available information on their work culture. Take note of the language used in their communication, their social media presence (e.g., LinkedIn), and their community involvement. These insights will give you a sense of the company's core principles and how they function.
Example: “During my research on [Company Name], I found a consistent emphasis on collaboration and innovation. This strongly resonates with my work style, as I've actively contributed to team-based projects in my previous roles, fostering an environment of shared ideas and collective success.”
While aligning your responses with the company's ethos, it's crucial to remain authentic. Highlight aspects of your personality and work ethic that genuinely align with the company culture.
Avoid trying too hard to fit in. If you are a good culture fit, it will be evident from your honest answers. If you’re not a good fit, or even a reasonable one, pretending to be different doesn’t serve you or your career in any positive way. Penn State psychologist David Day, Ph.D. warns job searchers that “You probably won't work long in a place you hate.”
Example:“I've always been drawn to companies that prioritize continuous learning and growth. At my previous workplace, I initiated monthly learning sessions where we shared insights and learned from each other’s experiences. This aligns with [Company Name]'s commitment to fostering a learning culture, which I greatly admire.”
Motivational questions delve into your long-term goals and career objectives. Employers ask these questions to gauge your commitment to the role and your aspirations within the company.
Common motivational questions include:
- Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
- What excites you about this role and our company?
- How does this role align with your long-term career goals?
- What drives you to continually improve and develop professionally?
- Discuss a time when you had to overcome a professional setback.
- How do you handle periods of low motivation at work?
- What aspects of this role do you find most appealing?
- How do you ensure continued professional growth and development?
- What do you hope to accomplish in this role within the first six months?
- How do you keep yourself motivated during repetitive or mundane tasks?
How to Answer Motivational Questions
Conveying your motivation and enthusiasm for a role is especially important in the context of a pre-recorded video interview. This is because, without another person to act as a visual cue, it is easy to talk about work in a flatter, more monotone way than you would have in an in-person interview. You want to convey the true energy you have for your career and the professional goals that have led to the interview.
Balance Ambition and Role Alignment
To answer motivational questions effectively, blend your ambitions with the job's scope. For instance, if applying for a managerial position, highlight aspirations for leadership roles while emphasizing how these ambitions align with the job's responsibilities.
Example: “My long-term career goal is to become a leader in talent acquisition and development. This role as a recruiting lead is a pivotal step in that journey. I thrive on building high-performing teams and fostering a culture where individuals can grow professionally.
This position allows me to directly impact the company's growth by strategizing and executing comprehensive recruitment plans, honing in on identifying top talent, and nurturing their potential within the organization. I envision leveraging my expertise to streamline processes, mentor upcoming recruiters, and implement innovative strategies that align with the company's mission.”
Emphasize Company-Centric Goals
Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company by aligning your aspirations with its growth trajectory. Showcase your understanding of the company's mission, values, and future objectives. Discuss how your goals complement the organization’s success.
Example: “I’m genuinely excited about the alignment between my aspirations and the vision of this company. Your commitment to fostering innovation and driving impactful change aligns seamlessly with my professional aspirations.
I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute my expertise in [Relevant skills] to support [Specific company initiatives or goals], which directly resonate with my long-term career vision of [your career goal]. This role offers an ideal platform for personal growth while being part of a dynamic team dedicated to achieving significant goals—an alignment that genuinely excites me.”
Express Realistic and Achievable Milestones
While showcasing your ambition, ensure your goals are grounded in reality. Express your aspirations with a focus on practicality and achievable milestones. Avoid presenting far-fetched dreams that seem disconnected from the current role or industry standards. Instead, articulate realistically how your ambitions align with the industry trends and the company's growth trajectory.
For instance, if the company is still small, lofty aspirations of becoming a CHRO might send the signal that you’ll resign as soon as an opportunity at a larger organization becomes available. Expressing your interest in strategically helping the company grow its headcount over time is better aligned.
Example: “Over the first six months in this role, my primary focus would be on two key areas: Firstly, I aim to deeply immerse myself in understanding the company's unique recruitment needs and culture. This involves building strong relationships with team members and stakeholders and understanding the intricacies of our talent acquisition processes.
Secondly, I intend to optimize our recruitment strategies by implementing data-driven approaches and refining sourcing techniques. I aim to streamline our hiring processes to reduce time-to-fill metrics without compromising on candidate quality. By the end of this period, my goal is to have made tangible contributions by improving the efficiency of our recruitment pipelines and initiating strategies that align with industry best practices. I envision establishing a solid foundation for continued success, driving impactful changes while working collaboratively with the team to meet our hiring goals.”
While sounding lighthearted, these questions are crucial in informing the potential employer of your personality traits and communication style.
Here are some common personality questions:
- Describe yourself in three words.
- What do you do in your free time, and how does it contribute to your work life?
- If you could choose one book or movie that has significantly impacted your personal or professional growth, what would it be and why?
- Describe a situation where you had to step out of your comfort zone. What did you learn?
- Describe an accomplishment you're particularly proud of outside of your professional career.
- Tell us about an event or experience in your personal life that taught you a valuable lesson applicable to your professional career.
- If you were to create a podcast or blog on any topic, what subject would you choose and why?
- What do you think sets you apart from other candidates applying for this position?
- How do you ensure a healthy work-life balance?
- What hobby or activity are you passionate about outside of work, and how has it influenced your professional life?
- If you were granted a day off to pursue any personal passion, how would you spend it?
- If you could spend a day shadowing any influential historical or contemporary figure in your field, who would it be, and what would you hope to learn?
How to Answer Personal Questions
Respond Genuinely While Maintaining Professionalism
When confronted with personal questions, authenticity is key.
Be genuine in your responses while aligning them with a professional context. For instance, if asked to describe yourself in three words, pick traits that not only reflect your personality but also connect with your work ethic. Phrases like “detail-oriented,” “adaptable,” or “collaborative” can help you showcase your suitability for the job without compromising authenticity.
Connect Personal Traits to Work-Related Skills
The art lies in subtly linking personal traits to work-related skills. If asked about your hobbies or interests, focus on activities that highlight qualities beneficial to the role.
For example, if you enjoy team sports, emphasize teamwork and leadership skills you've honed while playing. Connecting personal traits to professional skills demonstrates how your outside interests contribute to your professional abilities.
Showcase Favorable Traits
When discussing your interests or personal experiences, whether it’s face-to-face or virtual interviews, it’s always crucial to emphasize the positive aspects of your answers. For example, if you’re asked about a challenging situation you've overcome, it’s wise to highlight the lessons learned or the personal growth rather than dwelling on negative aspects. Positivity in your answers exhibits a constructive mindset and resilience.
One-Way Video Interview Questions: Conclusion
Practice makes perfect! Before you hit record on your one-way video interview, practice these common interview questions in front of a mirror within a set timeframe. It also helps to simulate a pre-recorded interview situation. Turn on your webcam or Zoom and do some rehearsal recordings.
Given nearly 86% of employers are marrying video interview software into their screening process, you’re bound to run into this format sooner or later. Consider each one-way video interview you do as an excellent opportunity to practice your eye contact, body language, and communication skills, and get familiar with the interview platforms as well as the time-limit interview experience.
Last but not least, don’t forget to tailor the questions and answers we discussed today to make them fit your vibe and style. If there’s anything that speaks volumes for employers as they sift through a sea of interview responses, it’s your authenticity.