Video interview questions

Video interview coming up? Preparation is key…  

Video interviews are becoming an increasingly popular method in today’s recruitment process. Whether it’s a one-way video interview, or a live one-to-one, the thought of being judged in front of a camera can be daunting.

We’ve already covered video interview tips, but here’s our advice on answering five common video interview questions, courtesy of ‘Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again’:


How do you deal with stress and failure?

The interviewer doesn’t want you to answer this question with the claim that you’re totally immune to stress. Complete infallibility isn’t just unrealistic, it’s unbelievable.

Because let’s face it, even behind a camera, a line like that is unlikely to fool any interviewer.

Instead, place emphasis on how you’ve developed a constructive way to handle difficult situations or problems. Explain the specific techniques and practices you use to deal with and overcome stress, and make it clear that you won’t lose the ability to function at the slightest indication of pressure.

Because every job, no matter what level, will involve some kind of pressure. And whether the nature of the role means it’s a daily occurrence, or it only happens once a month, you’ll always need to be able to deal with it.

Right answer: ‘It really depends on the issue. But I generally try to turn stress into productivity by delegating and prioritising tasks, taking short breaks, and sometimes just having a light hearted chat with my co-workers to wind down at the end of the day. I also find that analysing the source of the stress and thinking of a constructive solution helps to put my mind at ease, and prevents any future issues.’

Wrong answer: ‘I don’t do stress, it just rolls off my back.’

How to answer common interview questions


What’s your ideal work environment?

The key to getting this question right lies in your ability to tailor your response to the organisation’s company culture. Essentially, it’s all about making sure your personal preferences match up with the way they do things.

To prove you’re a good fit, be careful about the aspects you describe as your ideal work environment – and make sure they’re not something the company isn’t able to offer.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a role that requires a lot of highly focused independent work, your answer should explain how you enjoy having space to concentrate on your objectives.

However, roles in customer/client facing fields will require a candidate who enjoys good team spirit, professional rivalry, and an active social life in and outside of work.

NB: never use your own living room as your answer (even if it’s where the video interview’s taking place.)

Right answer: ‘I really enjoy a good mix of collaborative work, as well as time to get my head down and really focus on my tasks. I tend to get absorbed in my work, so once I’m clear on my objectives, I like having space to really concentrate. But everyone runs into questions once in a while, so it’s great to have teammates around to bounce ideas off and ask for help.’

Wrong answer: ‘Basically, I’m just looking for somewhere I can have fun. Which reminds me, what are your views on alcohol in the office?’

Five career goal questions, and how to answer them


What is it about this job that you would least look forward to?

Never use this question to act the model candidate and pretend that there’s absolutely nothing you’ll dislike about the job, or to hide behind an infrequent task that makes up a very small portion of it.

Both of these approaches will only make it seem like you’re dodging the question, not to mention, not being totally honest in your answer.

Instead, pick an obvious drawback that not even the most positive person on earth would enjoy. Every job has its downsides, and although realising them is the first step, the key to nailing this question is talking about your ability to handle them.

And remember: acknowledging one negative is fine, but overdoing it might make the interviewer wonder whether you actually want the job after all…

Right answer: ‘As an Estate Agent, I don’t enjoy telling someone their house will never sell for what they’re asking. But if I don’t tell them the truth, no one can move on. It means I sometimes need to let people get angry – but I know they’re usually annoyed at the situation, not me personally. So, to answer your question, I don’t look forward to disappointing people, but I have to be as honest as I can to make sure they have the best possible chance to succeed.’

Wrong answer: ‘Probably the journey home. And that’s got nothing to do with my Prius…’

Five character questions, and the answers that will get you hired


Tell me about a big change you’ve had to deal with

Your answer to this question needs to convince the interviewer that you see change as an opportunity to grow – not an ordeal to avoid or endure.

Use a recent example to acknowledge the positive results of your change, and explain how the consequences of not implementing it would’ve been negative. This will show that you’re open to new experiences, and most importantly, you understand why it’s necessary.

For added bonus points, do your research. Most organisations will report changes within the business on their website or social media pages, and talking about these alongside your own example will not only show you’re proactive and interested, it’ll also show you can understand the importance of change outside of your comfort zone.

Remember: just because you’re on video, this doesn’t mean you’re interviewing on a script. Allow time to think about your answer before you jump in, and you’re far more likely to impress.

Right answer: ‘When the government introduced health and safety exams for construction workers, it was always clear we’d end up with fewer accidents on site, and better workers too. But some of my colleagues understandably didn’t like the idea of ‘going back to school’. So I explained exactly what the computer-based exam entailed, and that the software was easy to use. Everyone passed, and no one left the site. You have to work out why people oppose change, and sometimes it’s not the reason you think. And, I visit fewer colleagues in hospital these days, which is always a plus…’

Wrong answer: ‘I don’t deal with change. It deals with me…’

Five key competency questions: revealed


Give your CV a mark out of ten

As curveball questions go, this is as tricky as they come.

Give your CV an instant ten, and you come across cocky, but play it safe with a five, and you’ll blend into the background as a mediocre candidate.

So, to get it just right, always bear in mind that the rating matters less than how you explain it.

An interviewer will usually ask this question to assess your ability to strategically think on your feet, so the number you pick will only be the ‘right answer’ if you’ve thought it through.

In their eyes, if you can do this successfully with your job search, you’re likely to be able to do it at work too.

Top tip: don’t undersell yourself, but don’t imply there isn’t any room for improvement either.

Right answer: I suppose it depends how you look at it. In the sense that a CV is designed to get you the interview and I’m sitting here now, I’d have to give it a ten. But there are other criteria you could use to judge a CV. I don’t feel like I’ve peaked in my career yet, for instance, so I expect my CV to become stronger as I develop new skills and strengthen my old ones. In that sense, there’s room for improvement, so I’d give it maybe a seven. With all those things considered, I’d give it an eight or nine overall.

Wrong answer: ‘11’

How to answer curveball interview questions


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