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How to Master a One-Way Interview

Miriam Salpeter

If you're in an active job search, you know using technology to your advantage is key to your success. You're encouraged to use social media to expand your network and demonstrate your expertise. Your resume needs to overcome applicant tracking systems to win an interview, and video interviews are becoming the norm for busy companies seeking efficient mechanisms to screen and select the best candidates.

Something you may be surprised to encounter: the one-way interview. In this situation, employers request candidates record video responses to a series of pre-drafted questions. Then employers review the video at their convenience.

Employers benefit from this approach, as they can easily review the video interview responses while looking over candidates' written application materials. But if you prepare well, you can make the most of this type of interview, too.

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video resume and video interviewing platform. He offers the following tips for job seekers to make the most of one-way interviews:

Treat these interviews with as much respect as any interview. Even though there is no one on the other end of the video camera, you should still treat these interviews as you would any important opportunity. Tolan explains that candidates should dress to impress, even if the interviewer most likely only sees your top half. Job seekers should practice answering typical interview questions in advance, so they come across as confident and self-assured. Be sure to take the time to think about what types of questions this employer is most likely to ask you.

Identify the benefits. One of the major benefits of one-way video interviews is that employers present candidates one pre-drafted question at a time. Interviewees are able to take a few moments to think about each question before answering it on film. This means candidates have a bit more time to ponder and consider a tricky interview question than in a traditional one-on-one, face-to-face, or telephone interview, where a lot of silence is awkward or makes the candidate seem unprepared. Candidates should use this time to their advantage and think critically about the questions posed and how best to answer them confidently and concisely.

Set the stage. Tolan explains, "If you're talking about how detail-oriented you are, for instance, in front of a giant pile of laundry, this is going to undercut your message. Make sure your background is clean and professional before you turn on your webcam."

Enjoy the benefits. Job seekers, even passive candidates, can easily fit one-way video interviews into even the most packed schedule. Tolan notes: "Since there is no need to put time aside to speak with someone over the phone or face-to-face, one-way video interviews eliminate the hassle of scheduling interviews around one or more busy calendars. Instead, job seekers can record the answers to written questions whenever and even wherever is most convenient for them."

While this type of interview seems a little unconventional, remember, the employer is investing a lot of time and effort into making it work. Focus on how you can do your best and consider practicing in front of the video camera in advance so you'll be well prepared to tackle this innovative interview technique confidently.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.

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